Word Power! Take this Legal Language Quiz #1

—Karen M. Ross

This is the first in a series of questions challenging your knowledge of legal terminology from Karen M. Ross’s Essential Legal English in Context: Understanding the Vocabulary of US Law and Government (NYU Press 2019). Take the quiz and share it with someone you know who will be attending law school or studying US law and government!

Throughout Essential Legal English in Context’s five units there are many helpful examples of legal terminology, illustrations, and hands-on exercises. The book shows how legal language arises within the context of the three levels and branches of US government.  Ultimately, it introduces many concepts that are important to understand in preparing to read US judicial opinions.

This Legal Language Quiz: In each blog post, Professor Ross will ask a question about legal language using examples from the five units of her book. These posts will have you thinking about vocabulary in new, important, and practical ways.

Quiz # 1: Unit 1 in Essential Legal English in Context is “An Overview of the Government in the United States,” introducing the three levels and branches of U.S. government, founding documents, and the Federal Constitution.

Question: What are the similarities between the terms “United States” and “federal”?


Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s quiz with a question from Unit 2: The Federal Legislature! Find the answers in the comment below!


Front cover of Karen M. RossKaren M. Ross is the Director of the Legal English Program and teaches in The Graduate Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law. Her new book, Essential Legal English in Context, provides a practical introduction to the US legal system and its vocabulary.

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One thought on “Word Power! Take this Legal Language Quiz #1

  1. Answer:

    The terms “United States” and “federal” can be synonyms in certain contexts. “United States” can mean a part of the federal, as compared with a state or local government as in the following examples:

    o A “United States Court” can mean a court in the federal, as compared with a state or local area. The “United States District Court for the Southern District of New York” is a federal court. By contrast, the “Nassau County District Court” is a local trial court in Nassau County, Long Island, New York.

    o “United States Attorney” is the official title for the lead attorneys in federal judicial districts, who represent the United States (federal) government in the litigation of federal cases. The attorneys who work for the U.S. Attorneys are called “Assistant United States Attorneys” (A.U.S.A.).

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