I was chatting to Jeremy who havd reviewed one of my template contracts.

He was fine with its content but said he would be even less formal in his contract/proposal; in particular he would use contractions. So where I had written I will he would use I’ll.

I didn’t disagree with his preference for a conversational tone or the use of I/we and you for the companies or individuals involved (as demonstrated by my contributions to the IACCM Pattern Library).

But I hesitated over this contraction.

I’ll can mean I will or I shall. Without wishing to re-open the perennial debate about the use of shall for a duty (for more read this post), I believe one of the key functions for a contract is to create clarity. A contraction should not be used if it leaves ambiguity over which option the writer intended.

OK… Perhaps this is pernickety perfectionism. But there is no point choosing simplicity if it creates ambiguity.

What do you think?

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