Yet Another Messed-Up Way to Say “May”

Table 4 in MSCD lists a bunch of suboptimal ways of saying may. In the past three years I’ve identified others; see here and here. Today, I’m proud to offer you yet another: is allowed to and its variants!

Here are three examples:

… and in the absence of any such indication, the Holder shall be allowed to [read may] presume that all matters relating to such notice do not constitute material, nonpublic information relating to the Company or its Subsidiaries.

In addition, Executive shall be allowed to [read may] use “points” or “awards” earned from the use of any corporate credit card, any airliner or hotel chain for personal use so long as Executive personally pays for any fees associated with securing such cards or memberships in such reward programs.

… provided, however, that Seller shall be allowed to [read may] have other representatives present during any such interviews.

How can I have been so blind as to not have noticed it before!

Of the verb structures sanctioned by my categories-of-contract-language regime, may takes the prize for having the greatest number of cruddy alternatives.

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.