Yet More on Needless Elaboration

In this post I discuss “needless elaboration”—the tendency of drafters refer to a given set, then refer to subsets that compose all or part of that set, even though there’s no question as to the boundaries of that set. I give as an example use of the phrase at law or in equity.

I’d like to tweak my definition by replacing the word “then” with “and,” because the needless elaboration can occur before the reference to the main set.

For example, consider the following provision:

Acme is reponsible for all taxes, duties, and other charges imposed by any federal, state, or local governmental entity with respect to any Services.

One of my students recently suggest that in this provision the words “federal, state, or local” represent needless elaboration, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Using instead “any governmental entity” would not only be more concise, it would also be more comprehensive.

Any objections?

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.