I was looking at a legal text which went something like this "if you do not wish to receive said advertising check the box below...".

Is it correct to omit the definite article (the) before "said"? It doesn't sound right to my ears but I have seen this before in other texts apart from legal and its use seems extense.

  • 2
    Yes, it is legalistic, formal writing, and the is omitted as built into said.. "To receive... said advertising" means "...to receive 'the identified or quoted' advertising ..." – Yosef Baskin Feb 2 '17 at 19:34
  • The only place where I often see the said is in patents. – Barmar Feb 2 '17 at 19:43

Best to refer to Bryan Garner on this.

Looks like “the said” is ok in British English but not in US English:

The said. As used in legal writing, the word said is a Middle-English sibling of aforesaid, having the sense "above-stated." Originally legal writers would write the said defendant-and still do in BrE-just as they would write the aforesaid defendant or the above-stated defendant. In AmE, however, the was dropped before said, which has come to act almost as an article. Hence the said seems redundant to American ears, though it was well established at one time.

Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, 2nd ed., p.778

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for these excellent insights. But what about its use in texts other than legal? Would you drop the article? – Anthony Feb 3 '17 at 9:51
  • @Anthony sure. Either way works. – NVZ Feb 3 '17 at 13:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.