I’ve long wrestled to articulate what I sensed was a distinction between two vague words, promptly and substantial. Here’s my latest attempt:
Different vague words might pose different challenges. For example, in a given context the time constraints might be clear-cut enough so that there’s little room for dispute over what’s required for a party to act promptly. By contrast, a provision subject to a substantial standard might leave the parties wondering at what point along a spectrum from nothing to everything something has to be before it’s substantial.
That is all.
2 thoughts on “A Nuance of Vagueness”
Different vague words pose different challenges. In one context the time constraints might be clear enough that
there’s little room for dispute over what’s required for a party to act
[i]promptly[/i]. By contrast, the spectrum from nothing to everything is so broad that it is likely that 4 parties would have 4 differnt opinions about where on the spectrum “substantial” exists.
‘Substantial’ is both vague and lexically ambiguous. It can mean ‘considerable’ or ‘not imaginary’. MSCD 7.37 rightly calls it ‘effectively unusable’.