Some Particularly Useless Words

Michigan Bar Journal, July 2003

2 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011

See all articles by Brendan T. Beery

Brendan T. Beery

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Date Written: July 2003


This is a column from the Plain Language Department of the Michigan Bar Journal.

Of the many words in our language that have dubious value, two particular words stand out: particular and particularly. Particular means "of or belonging to a single, definite person, part, group, or thing; not general; distinct." So particular - or its ugly adverbial partner particularly - is used to signal that whatever is being written applies only to the person, part, group, or thing modified by particular or particularly. But when you write in the singular about a person, part, group, or thing, it is unnecessary to use a modifier, in addition to the singular, to specify that what you have written applies to only one person, part, group, or thing.

Keywords: writing plain language

Suggested Citation

Beery, Brendan Thomas, Some Particularly Useless Words (July 2003). Michigan Bar Journal, July 2003. Available at SSRN:

Brendan Thomas Beery (Contact Author)

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School ( email )

300 S. Capitol Avenue
P.O. Box 13038
Lansing, MI 48901
United States

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