How many mistakes?


Christine Mowat has queried the differing treatments of the same point in the opening and closing remarks in the section Legalese causes mistakes.

I wrote on page 10:

… just as a traditional document takes even longer to understand than its unnecessary length would lead us to expect, so will it contain disproportionately more mistakes
but on page 13:
Mistakes are bound to increase in proportion to the length and complexity of a sentence, as writers bite off more than they or their readers can chew.
DId I mean "proportionately" or "disproportionately"?

I meant "disproportionately": more words would mean proportionately more mistakes, but legalese's lack of transparency would add to the problem. If I was writing it now I would change p.13 to read "Mistakes are bound to increase with both the length and complexity of a sentence …".

Thanks, Christine, for pointing out this inconsistency.


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