Schedules— “On” or “In”?

During one of my Geneva seminars this week, someone asked me whether it’s better to say listed/described/stated in schedule X or on schedule X.

I’d been asked this question a couple of times previously, and I’d responded that I wasn’t sure that I cared. But on being asked a third time, it dawned on me that no question of usage is too small to address rigorously. So here goes:

As usual, what I did first was consult the “material contracts” filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system. They display no particular preference for on over in, or vice versa. Indeed, often contracts contain a mix of the two.

For purposes of referring to information stated in a work, use of the preposition on is generally limited to references to a given page—the information stated on page 43. That makes sense, as a page is a single surface. Otherwise, one uses inthe information stated in [section 4.3.] [chapter 6].

As in the case of a given section, a schedule might occupy one page, but it’s equally likely to occupy more than one page. And it would be madness to adjust one’s prepositions based on how long a given schedule is. Since in works no matter how long the schedule, it’s the better choice.

So I recommend that you use in rather than on. But nothing is riding on this distinction.

Note that this issue shouldn’t arise with exhibits. Strictly speaking, an exhibit is a stand-alone document that’s appended to a contract; see MSCD 5.30. You’d no more say information on exhibit A than you’d say information on the 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.