What are doublets and triplets?
Doublets and triplets are everywhere in Legal English. What are they and should I be using them?
Legal English borrows many words from hundreds of languages. It is mainly made up of old English, Danish, Latin, French (about 30% or so) with smatterings of Japanese words, Greek words and Dutch words thrown in among others.
If you take the word meeting, there are dozens of synonyms available such as convention, rendenzvous, powwow and more. As lawyers and contract writers tend to be cautious, they felt that using every possible word in their legal documents would make their documents watertight.
Legal Doublets and Triplets
This is why we have doublets: two words that mean the same thing but that partner up in legal documents to show that all avenues are covered. We also have triplets (three words that do the same work). Luckily, doublets are far more common and easier to remember. Here is a list of some of the more common legal doublets:
aid and abet - to assist
all and sundry - everybody
armed and dangerous - armed with a weapon and willing to use it
assault and battery - assault
breaking and entering - entering a property without permission
care and attention - care
cease and desist - stop
covenant and agree - agree
deem and consider - consider
due and payable - to be paid
fit and proper - decent
goods and chattels - goods (chattels is an old-fashioned word)
have and hold - used in marriage
heirs and successors - heirs
law and order
legal and valid
null and void - void
over and above - more than usual
part and parcel - part of
perform and discharge - to do
signed and sealed - signed
sole and exclusive - exclusive rights
terms and conditions - terms
will and testament - will
If you memorise those legal doublets, you will know the most common terms still being used in legal English today. Don't forget to contact Legal English UK if you need more information about learning Legal English and Business English skills with the world's best teachers. Watch the video below for more information on legal doublets and triplets.