the nature of the offense / offence

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Wookie, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Wookie

    Wookie Senior Member

    Korea, Korean
    But Lisa Beth Elovich, who issued the dissent to the board’s decision to parole Mr. Phillips, said his release from prison would be “incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the offense as to undermine respect for the law.” (source)

    What does "the nature of the offense" mean?
    It seems like a legal term but I'm not sure about what that means.
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    It's not a legal term. It means 'the serious character of the crime', presumably the crime being that committed by Mr. Phillips.
  3. marquess Senior Member

    U.K. English
    I know some people spell it this way, but shouldn't it be 'offence'? Is this the AE spelling? I'd like to know what other forumgoers think.
  4. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    What should it be? That depends on whether you are using AE or BE spelling.

    It is correct as written in AE.

    Random House Unabridged:

    1. a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin.
    2. a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
    3. a cause of transgression or wrong.
    4. something that offends or displeases....

    9. Sports. a.the players or team unit responsible for attacking or scoring in a game. b.the players possessing or controlling the ball, puck, etc., or the aspects or period of a game when this obtains. ... 10.Archaic. injury, harm, or hurt. Also, offence.

    Most AE dictionaries list 'offence' as a valid variant, noting that it is mainly BE.

    The Compact OED takes the opposite view:


    (US offense)
    noun 1 an illegal act; a breach of a law or rule. 2 resentment or hurt. 3 the action of making a military attack. 4 N. Amer. the attacking team in a sport.
  5. marquess Senior Member

    U.K. English
    Thanks Cuchuflete, seems to be a clear AE/BE difference! Vive!

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