More Singular-and-Plural Defined-Term Insanity

You’re of course aware that in many contracts, the unnecessary defined term Party is defined using this sort of thing: individually a “Party” and collectively the “Parties”. It’s ridiculous—we know how singular and plural work, thanks.

Last year I did this post about how drafters use that formula for other defined terms, making it even more insane. Well, I can now add to the insanity. A couple of weeks ago I spotted the equivalent in an autonomous definition:

WTF! And if you’re doing it for Affiliate, you have no reason not to do it for every flippin common-noun defined term. So I did some more random searching on EDGAR. Was this treatment given to Subsidiary? Check:

Person? Check:

Plan? Check:

After hitting the first three I tried, I got the message: as harebrained as this is, it’s commonplace, in a random sort of way. It’s beyond explaining. You just have to write it off as another bizarro product of the legalistic mindset, as amplified by copy-and-pasting.

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.