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Showing posts from May, 2011

Why do the words "inflammable" and "flammable" mean the same thing?

I attended an introductory course on the Laws and Regulations on Scheduled Waste in Malaysia recently and I was particularly annoyed when the trainer highlighted a "mistake" in the English version of the Environmental Quality Scheduled Wastes Regulations. She ridiculed the use of the word "inflammable" to mean "easily burst into flame" in the legal document and wondered why such "obvious" mistake can escape the eyes of so many law practioners. I immediately objected to her interpretation and pointed out that the use of the word "inflammable" is correct in its context, but unfortunately she did not believe in me.

First of all, you need to believe that the lawyers are not idiots and the use of correct terms in a legal document is of paramount importance to them. So, the probability of lawyers making such an "obvious" mistake is practically zero. So, if you can accept that lawyers are not stupid, move on to my next paragraph, el…