“Addendum”

Someone recently asked me what I thought of using the word addendum in connection with contracts. I’m not crazy about it.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines addendum as “Something to be added, esp. to a document; a supplement.” So an addendum adds something to a contract, but it’s not clear whether you’re amending or supplementing the contract. (MSCD 17.10 discusses the distinction between amending and supplementing.)

Furthermore, addendum is a Latinism, and it isn’t one of those Latinisms that’s so ingrained that they can now be accepted as English.

So I suggest that you use instead amendment or supplement, whichever applies.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

6 thoughts on ““Addendum””

  1. By coincidence, and shortly before seeing this post, I have been reviewing a pair of agreements provided by IBM to my client, one of which was, in effect, a master confidentiality agreement, and the other of which was described variously as a Supplement or as an Addendum to the master agreement (it couldn’t decide what it was). We cleaned up the language of the latter agreement so that it was consistently called a Supplement and so that it “supplemented” rather than “modified” the master agreement.

    Reply
  2. In India in Contract Law context,Supplement is more of a literary word.Amendment is a Legislative word.Consequently reliance on Addendum has been there for time immemorial .

    Reply
  3. My practice includes work in government contracts (for the State of Texas). The agency I work for uses “Addendum” as a term of art for changes to an RFP. The benefit to this use is that when your discussion includes both the RFP and the contract, you can discuss the addenda and amendments with out the conversation getting too confusing.

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  4. I signed the addendum to the contract of employment
    But my employer did not sign, this addendum.
    Is this document legal and valid?

    Reply

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