“Reasonable Wear and Tear”?

Consider the phrase reasonable wear and tear, as in “The Grantor shall maintain the Equipment in good working order, reasonable wear and tear excepted.”

I know that reasonable wear and tear is standard, but it’s also a bit quaint: Wear is fine, but what’s with tear? Presumably the nifty rhyme has a lot to do with it. (Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage refers to it as a “reduplicative phrase.”)

Furthermore, the original phrase is in fact wear and tear, with a reasonableness standard built in. So in this context reasonable, normal, fair, and any other variants are redundant.

So what do you recommend? Stick with reasonable wear and tear? Just wear and tear? Just wear? Something else?

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.