Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1029001
 
 

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A Fragment on Shall and May


Nora Tillman


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Seth Barrett Tillman


National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) - Faculty of Law

May 27, 2010

American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 50, p. 453, 2010

Abstract:     
This short paper has some comments on the Constitution's use of the verbs "shall" and "may" (and "will"). We suggest that the American English of the founding generation was a more capacious language than its modern successor and that which came into being post-Noah Webster's first dictionary and grade school primer, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, first published in 1783. As we explain more fully, where a word once had multiple meanings, but only one variant is now remembered and understood, we may be seriously mistaken when we ascribe near certainty to our understanding of how a constitutional term was used.


The American Journal of Legal History is a peer reviewed journal which is available only on Westlaw.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: shall, may, will, Constitution, Anglo-English, American-English, Madison

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Date posted: November 12, 2007 ; Last revised: October 31, 2011

Suggested Citation

Tillman, Nora and Tillman, Seth Barrett, A Fragment on Shall and May (May 27, 2010). American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 50, p. 453, 2010 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1029001

Contact Information

Nora Tillman (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
No Address Available
Seth Barrett Tillman
National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) - Faculty of Law ( email )
Ollscoil na hÉireann, Má Nuad
New House (#306)
Maynooth, County Kildare
Ireland
(353) (0) 1474-7216 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.nuim.ie/staff/mr-seth-barrett-tillman
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