Linguistic Pecularities Of Contracts in English

Страница: 12/21

As it has been noted above, any contract should be simple and clear, concise and brief. Commercial correspondence often suffers from an old-fashioned, pompous style of English which complicates the message and gives the reader the feeling that he is reading a language he does not understand. Though the language of contract is perhaps the most formal among all kinds of business correspondence, and the vocabulary of such correspondence is very specific, which is connected with its character and a great number of legal terms, it should not be archaic. It should be clear enough in its meaning.

The style, however, should not be too simple as it may become discourteous and sound rude. Linguists (G. Leech, J. Svartvik, Ch. Fries, O. Jespersen, M. Joos, I.V. Arnold, B.A. Ilyish, E.M. Gordon, etc.) recommend the following stylistic devices that might make agreements and contracts more polite: complex sentences joined with conjunctions are preferable, rather than short sentences; passive constructions rather than active; full forms rather than abbreviated forms, where necessary.

The right tone should be neutral, devoid of a pompous language on one hand, and an informal or colloquial language on the other hand. Therefore, inappropriate vocabulary, idioms, phrasal verbs are not allowed at all.

The both contracting parties should not experience any difficulties in obtaining information, they should be able to understand what is written. Misunderstandings are caused by a lack of thought and care. It may happen if we use a lot of abbreviations, figures and prepositions.

Abbreviations are very useful, because they are very quick to write and easy to read. But the both parties are expected to know what the abbreviations stand for. If one of the partners is not absolutely certain that the abbreviations are easily recognised he / she should not use it.

The symbol &, which means in English and, is used in some terms like C&F (Cost and Fright), C&I (Cost and Insurance). But is marked as # in contract texts. The symbol № is used instead of the word number. In American English the symbol # means number as well, but it is used in different tables and graphics, and not in the text. It is never used, however, to denote numbers of houses.

Very often in contracts Latin abbreviations are used, for example e.g. (for example), et al. (and others), etc. (and so on), v.v. (quite the opposite), i.e. (that means). Also they use English abbreviations ltd. (limited), Bros. (brothers), encl. (enclosed), dols. (dollars), etc. [4, P.45 – 46].

The use of figures instead of words for sums can create many problems for people. To avoid any possibility of confusion, it is necessary to write sums in both figures and words, e.g. $ 9.897.44 (nine thousand, eight hundred and ninety-seven dollars, forty-four cents). It is also a norm to put only dollars (pounds, etc.) in words and cents (pence, etc.) in figures only, e.g. $ 100.50 (one hundred dollars and 50 cents). From the above-written it is clear that the symbols £ (pounds) and $ (dollars), in documents in particular, are put before the sum and their usage is not of any mistake.

Spelling rules, punctuation and grammar use should all be checked over thoroughly. Still, there are some other ways in which inaccuracy may spoil the contract paper. A special attention should be paid to titles, names, addresses, references, prices, specifications, enclosures, etc., which are also of a great importance in texts of contracts.

2.2. Grammatical peculiarities of contracts

On the whole, grammar of any contract may be characterised as rather simple and formal. Simple here means lack of diversity of variants which occurs in every document which is not legal. As for the grammar tenses which are used in agreements, the most widespread are the Indefinite and the Perfect tenses, both in the Active and Passive Voices. In many points their usage is already part and parcel.

Реферат опубликован: 28/01/2009