Sunday, January 28, 2007

His Finest Act In Office Was His Last

Here's an amusing item from the wonderful linguistics web site Language Log. The post is about legalese, and it contains this paragraph:
In Legal Writing: Sense and Nonsense he [legal scholar David Mellinkoff] pleaded for clear and unadorned language with no superfluous verbiage. My favorite example was his analysis of Richard Nixon's resignation letter, August 9, 1974. It's only one sentence long: "I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States." But, as Mellinkoff points out, it's still much longer than it needs to be: all he needed to say was "I resign."
I certainly consider that letter the finest piece of writing Nixon ever did, although I admit my reasons are not primarily linguistic . . .

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