What is a negative pregnant?

This week we discuss negative pregnants (sometimes referred to as pregnant denials).  A negative pregnant is a denial that seems to only deny part of an allegation—while implicitly admitting another part, e.g.,

  • I did not beat my wife last night.  (Implicitly admits that I beat her on other occasions.)
  • Plaintiff will not move for default against your client on April 3, 2013.  (Implies that the plaintiff will move for a default on any other day, just not on April 3.)

As you can see from these examples, negative pregnants are ambiguous at best, and at worst can result in a harmful admission.  So carefully look over your denials and make sure that you’re not implicitly admitting something that you don’t intend to admit.

That is all for now …

Leave a comment

Filed under Troublesome Words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s