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The duke himself

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Our discussion of lawyer and attorney evoked commentary from a longtime member of the legal profession.

"As far as I can recall, I never knew that there was a difference between a lawyer and an attorney. When I was first called to the bar, right after Noah's flood receded, I was told by the old-timer lawyers that even older lawyers often had on their letterhead, 'Attorney at Law, Solicitor in Chancery, and Proctor in Admiralty.'

"I have always preferred lawyer. 'Attorney' sounds a little too high-toned for me.

"The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, commonly known as the 'American Trial Lawyers Association' changed its name to 'Lawyers for Civil Justice,' or some such, because 'trial lawyers' has such negative connotations. Not for me.

"Some self-styled trial lawyers commenced calling themselves 'litigators' several years ago. This was particularly true back east. My experience was that litigators took untold depositions and rarely, if ever, tried lawsuits."

 

"I've not only been inclined toward, I've always insisted on, 'doughnut' as the spelling for that sweet fried delicacy beloved of Homer Simpson and myself."

Janice Botner writes, "I was surprised to see your use of 'myself' instead of 'me.' I was taught that myself was an intensive or reflexive pronoun to be used for emphasis, as in 'I myself will go,' or 'I will see for myself.' Has this grammatical rule too gone by the wayside?"

Success With Words says that myself can acquire a pompous character when used in place of I or me. "But it depends considerably on the context, and on the manner and tone of voice the person uses. There is nothing inherently wrong with the usage itself. ... Shortly before the Battle of Waterloo, someone asked the duke of Wellington what he thought the outcome would be. He replied, 'By God! I think Blucher and myself can do the thing.' In fact, myself is regularly used like this, to give a touch of objectiveness: the speaker is seeing himself from the outside. ... By all means avoid pompous or pretentious uses of myself for I or me, but there is no need to throw out the entire usage. It is a matter of taste rather than correctness." 

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