Friday, March 21, 2008

More Fun With Words...

Here are some words I very rarely use in police reports, if ever, along with the words I use instead.

Subsequently - Later

Departed - Left

Observed - Saw

Speculated - Thought / Believed

Contacted - Met / Spoke with

Consulted - Met / Spoke with

Ascertained - Found out / Determined

Proceeded - Went

Related - Said

Stated - Said

Articulated - Said

Provided - Gave

Supplied - Gave

Procured - Got

Obtained - Got

Received - Got

Proceeded on foot - Walked

Inspected - Looked at

Examined - Looked at

The subject - His or her name

As a result of - Because

Inquired - Asked

I am of the belief that a police report should be written for a third grader to read. It drives me absolutely batshit crazy to read a report written by a trainee straight out of the academy and see this:

I arrived at the scene and contacted the reporting party, Smith, who related the following statement...

Smith subsequently proceeded on foot to the scene and ascertained the status of the victim...


Smith speculated the subject had been the victim of a gunshot wound...

Isn't it just easier to say

Upon my arrival I spoke with John Smith who told me...

Smith walked to the scene to determine the victim's condition...


Smith believed Jones had been shot...

As usual, just my opinion.


Berserk said...

I'm with you. I don't know about the "written for a third grader" thing, but if I would laugh at someone who spoke that way then I wouldn't want to write that way.

TheBronze said...

I love using "subsequently" because it's intentionally vague as to when it actually happened. I just tells the reader that some certain event happened at a later time.

If I have the actual time that some certain event/thing happened, I'll use it, but if not, "subsequent" is a FANTASTIC word to use!

TheBronze said...

That should say "It just tells the reader that some certain event happened at a later time."


Me said...

My favorite is "I exited my vehicle..."

WTF? Who talks like that? Why don't you just say "I got out of my car" like 98% of the English-speaking public would?

USAincognito said...

Plain and every time! :)

justusforall said...

"Exited the vehicle" as opposed to "Got out of the car"...
Although, truthfully, whether you simplify the language or not, so long as people can read and understand your report, it's all good.