“(Sub)licensees” and Other Instances of Parentheses-Within-Words

Here’s one of my recent tweets:

I followed it up with this one:

That prompted @kemitchell to chime in with (self)insured and @markmetzger to offer (s)he.

And here’s what MSCD 17.28 says about (s):

Some drafters tack (s) onto the singular form of a noun when they wish to convey that a situation might involve one or more than one of the item in question. It’s a very awkward usage; use instead one or more (see 13.752).

I’m not a fan of the parentheses-within-words thing, and as a matter of style, not risk. But others appear to see some value in individual instances. Here’s @kemitchell and @500wordlawyer on (sub)contractor:

So, am I being a stick-in-the-mud in not embracing (sub)contractor and other instances of parentheses-in-words?

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.