A reader asked me what I think about therefor. Here’s my equivocal answer:

In MSCD 12.99 I note that here– and there– words such as herein and thereunder are dreary legalese. That’s why I use in this agreement instead of herein. But sometimes, a there– word allows you to avoid long-winded repetition.

Looking more closely at therefor suggests another wrinkle to there– words. In most cases, omitting therefor wouldn’t confuse the reasonable reader, as it’s clear from the context what’s being referred to. Consider the following crappy language, which I culled from EDGAR while wearing a HazMat suit:

A Participant required to sell any Depositary Receipts pursuant to this Section 6(b), shall be entitled to receive in exchange [therefor] the purchase price per Depositary Receipt received by the Majority Institutional Investors with respect to their Depositary Receipts in such transaction ….

“Equipment”: Includes, without limitation, “equipment” as defined in the UCC, and also all furniture, store fixtures, motor vehicles, rolling stock, machinery, office equipment, plant equipment, tools, dies, molds, and other goods, property, and assets which are used and/or were purchased for use in the operation or furtherance of any Guarantor’s business, and any and all accessions or additions thereto, and substitutions [therefor].

Each Agreement shall include the terms of any right of the Company to restrict or reacquire the Shares subject to the Stock Grant, including the time or attainment of Performance Goals upon which such rights shall accrue and the purchase price [therefor], if any.

An option (or any part or installment thereof), to the extent then exercisable, shall be exercised by giving written notice to the Company, at the address and in the form established by the Committee and accompanied by payment in full of the aggregate exercise price [therefor] (a) in cash or by certified check or (b) in such other form as the Committee may approve.

A merger, consolidation, or sale by the Company of all or substantially all of its assets, in which the Company is not the surviving corporation, except as set forth below or in the Agreement, the options granted hereunder as of the date of such event shall continue to be outstanding and the optionee shall be entitled to receive in exchange [therefor] an option in the surviving corporation for the same number of shares of stock of the surviving corporation as he would have been entitled to receive ….

I think it’s safe to omit therefor from each of the above examples. But in the interest of being explicit, I might be inclined to keep it in, or to use instead a full prepositional phrase. I haven’t yet made up my mind. What do you think?

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.

4 thoughts on ““Therefor””

  1. One big problem with therefor is the number of people who write "therefore" when they mean "therefor."

    And I disagree with your thinking about the second example. "Substitutions" without some modifier just seems to missing something. In addition the previous phrase with thereto makes the use of therefor nicely parallel, although I suppose you could argue the thereto is also superfluous.

    • Richard: Yes, I'd also get rid of "thereto."

      People do confuse "therefore" and "therefor." I had planned to check for that on EDGAR, but Lexis didn't allow me to search for "therefore."


  2. More than once in negotiations, a "therefor" in my draft has been changed, wrongly, to "therefore". I suspect one reason may be that the Word spell-checker doesn't recognise the word. But it must also imply that people aren't familiar with the word.

    Although I try to avoid this type of word, occasionally it seems right in context.

  3. In my practice, "therefor" and other terms such as "herein" can be omitted 99% of the time. I'm a fan of striking any extra words. (I also have the experience of being yelled at by a federal judge, early in my career, for being too wordy.)


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