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January 22, 2008


Greg May

I think you are on to something. I would be especially careful about using this term with lawyers. I am a lawyer who did business litigation for a decade, and this phrase was always used in a threatening manner, as in "If I do not hear back from you by Friday, I will have no choice bu to seek relief from the court, including sanctions against you."


Greg, thank you for this caution. "I will have no choice but" is strong language few of us would want to echo.



"Phone me if you get a moment, or I will follow up on Friday." That sounds just as threatening to me. I prefer "Phone me if you get a moment, or I can follow up on Friday." I'm not sure why "can" sounds softer than "will." But it does.


Marie, I agree. "Can" does sound softer.


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