Another Instance of “Best” as Rhetorical Emphasis

You’ve been very kind to tolerate my vendetta against best efforts, or more specifically against the notion that a best efforts obligation requires a greater effort than a reasonable efforts obligation. But I’m not done yet.

The foundation of my argument is the notion that the best in best efforts constitutes rhetorical emphasis. I discuss that in this post. And in this post I elaborate on how the same rhetorical emphasis is evident in the phrase to the best of its knowledge.

Well, here’s another example: in its best interest. I suggest that the only difference between It’s in Acme’s best interest and It’s in Acme’s interest is that in the former, the speaker is oozing more sincerity. Otherwise, both phrases convey the same meanings.

I offer this as another indication that those who suggest that best efforts trumps reasonable efforts might want to brush up on their semantics.

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.

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