an odd example of legalese

Brian Hitchcock brianhi at SKECHERS.COM
Mon Jan 30 20:26:34 UTC 2012

Here is what Reuters says:

"The Le Roy school is safe," Hammond said. "The environment or an
infection is not the cause of the students' tics. There are many causes of
tics-like symptoms."

Even the above Reuters phrasing strikes me as being off, in that it uses
the conveniently short,  but inexact, construction:

                    A or B  is not the cause of C

What I infer they meant us to understand is this:

             A is not the cause of C,  and B is not the cause of C
Which could be succinctly put as:
                  Neither A nor B is the cause of C

 (Do the Venn diagram.)

---- Also, wouldn't you be more inclined to write of 'tic-like symptoms',
rather than 'tics-like symptoms'?

Brian Hitchcock

The American Dialect Society -

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