It’s One Thing to Know the Rules, Another to Play the Game

Yesterday I posted two items (this one on and and or, this one on the passive voice) that were rather more harum-scarum than my normal offerings, in that I ended up quickly making significant changes in response to reader comments. (Thank you, all.)

Having previously limited myself to the building blocks of contract language, I’m now working to bring the same approach to bear on entire provisions. It’s a different process. For one thing, instead of focusing just on how to say stuff, you have to address what to say. And you’re dealing with not only the major building blocks but also a mass of interstitial stuff that raises its own, perhaps less-predictable issues. Hence yesterday’s posts, prompted by one sentence I’m working on.

So I’ve been pondering the following metaphor: Previously I’ve been working on the rules; now I’m focusing on playing the game. It’s not entirely apt, but it gives a sense of the shift in dynamic involved and the adjustment required.

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.