Verb Use in the Introductory Clause

Yesterday I got a call from a reader inquiring about verb use in my recommended form of introductory clause. I love that kind of inquiry.

More specifically, he pointed to the introductory clause in MSCD sample 1. It begins as follows: This asset purchase agreement is dated May 3, 2008, and is between … He wondered whether it would be more economical to say instead This asset purchase agreement dated May 3, 2008, is between … , thereby eliminating a verb and the word and.

I said that his proposed language could be read as if the date of the agreement was something established outside of the contract, with the introductory clause simply acknowledging as much. I suggested that my language is more consistent with the parties giving the contract a date. That may be why I think my version simply reads a bit better.

In any event, you want the introductory clause to include a verb. Some drafters do without: This asset purchase agreement dated May 3, 2008, between …

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.