Negative Pregnant?

I've been court reporting for more than a few years now and have been overexposed to every manner of technical jargon and unique and inventive word usage. After all these years, however, I still encounter verbal surprises. Recently, while reporting a deposition, the attorney for the witness made an objection I'd never heard before. His objection..? "Objection. The question contains a negative pregnant." First of all, what an interesting phrase. Think about it...



It sounded vaguely familiar, like I'd come across it at one time or another, but never in a deposition. Well, there's a first for everything. The objection that the attorney usually makes in this circumstance is to say, "That's like asking, 'When did you stop beating your wife?'" So I've heard the objection, just not stated in the specific words "negative pregnant."

This is such an uncommon term that the proofreader made a note on the transcript. She couldn't find the term anywhere and wanted to know if it was an error on my part.

For those of you who would like to know just what a "negative pregnant" is, below is the definition according to Law.com.

I'm sure the court reporters out there (if they don't know it already) will be interested in this, because we're kind of, um, "special" that way. Court reporters love arcane grammatical tidbits such as this. Ah, the simple pleasures.

negative pregnant
n. a denial of an allegation in which a person actually admits more than he/she denies by denying only a part of the alleged fact. Example: Plaintiff alleges Defendant "misused more than a hundred thousand dollars placed in his trust in 1994." Defendant denies the amount was more than a hundred thousand, and denies it was given to him in 1994. Thus, he did not deny the misuse, just the amount and the date."

Now, um, don't you feel enlightened?




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