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Can "hew to" and "conform with/to" be used just about interchangeably for whatever register of AE, including the most formal prose?

...shall hew to the law and the recognized standards of legal construction.source

Rather than hew to the rules...source

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Very uncommon usage to those who are not used to reading legal briefs! But, from context, I would say yes. Not sure if there is a formal legal distinction, though. –  David M Mar 3 at 0:05
    
'hew to' is not that common and is a bit more grandiose sounding. So it is not 'interchangeable', they may have identical semantic denotations, but their contexts distinguish them. –  Mitch Mar 3 at 13:50
    
I'm experiencing blue car syndrome and I'm seeing hew to being used all over the place. But, I'd still call it less common. –  David M Mar 11 at 0:42
    
@DavidM nice to know that. What about "would you mind and...", "Would you be so kind and...", and "Would you be kind enough and...", have you lately caught any of these constructions over the place? –  Elian Mar 11 at 1:15
    
@NourishedGourmet Not even a little. –  David M Mar 11 at 3:09

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As hew is defined as conform, adhere, I'd say yes. And like many words in legalese, hew is a very old (1200s) word.

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