“Intentionally Omitted”

One of the participants at my recent Washington, D.C. seminar asked me about the notation “intentionally omitted.” I love being asked about stuff I hadn’t ever thought of writing about.

“Intentionally omitted” is used in a contract to indicate when the text of an article, section, subsection, or enumerated clause has been omitted while leaving the enumeration of that unit intact. It’s an alternative to simply deleting the unit in question, and it’s used to avoid renumbering blocks of text.

For the most part, you’d only be worried about renumbering if you don’t use Word’s automatic cross-referencing feature but instead type in the numbers in your internal cross-references—a scary notion. In a document of any length, “intentionally omitted” would be the only alternative to the tedious task of updating cross-references manually with every revision.

If you use Word’s cross-referencing feature, you should feel free to delete entirely any unit of text that you don’t need, safe in the knowledge that all internal cross-references would adjust automatically. Conceivably some people might be so familiar with a given contract that they’d want any given section to retain the same enumeration, even if preceding sections have been deleted. If that includes you, go ahead an use “intentionally omitted.” But I suggest that there are scarier things in contracts, and in life, than a familiar section that bears an unfamiliar number.

But in one context you’d need to use “intentionally omitted” so as to avoid renumbering. That’s when some other contract or other document refers by number to a section in the contract being revised and renumbering would cause that section number to change.

By the way, when you use Word’s cross-referencing feature, make sure that you update the fields—coded cross-reference numbers constitute fields—when you save the document. Also, check the option that results in any fields being updated automatically when you print a document.

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.