As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of my job is to ensure that agreements between parties are clear and concise. However, there are still many instances where the language used in contracts, terms and agreements can be confusing, vague or uncertain. In this article, we’ll explore some examples of uncertain agreements and how to avoid them.
1. Ambiguity in language
One of the biggest traps in drafting contracts is the use of ambiguous language. For example, using phrases like “reasonable time” or “best efforts” can create uncertainty about what is expected from the parties. Instead, be as specific as possible when drafting agreements, using clear and unambiguous language to ensure that everyone involved understands the terms.
2. Incomplete terms
Another common mistake in drafting agreements is to leave out important terms that could lead to uncertainty in the future. For example, failing to specify a deadline for completion of a project or leaving out details about payment terms can create confusion and disagreement down the line. Ensure that all the key terms are identified and included in the agreement before finalizing it.
3. Contradictory terms
Contradictory terms are another type of uncertain agreement that can create problems. This can occur when different parts of the agreement conflict with each other, leading to confusion when it comes time to enforce the terms. Ensure that all the clauses in the agreement are consistent and aligned with each other.
4. Vagueness in scope
Another potential pitfall is the vagueness of the agreement’s scope. For example, if a contract fails to specify the scope of work or the deliverables, this can lead to confusion about what is expected. Be specific about the services to be provided, the duration of the agreement, and the expected outcomes to minimize ambiguity.
5. Missing contingencies
Finally, it is important to anticipate potential future scenarios and include contingencies in the agreement. Failing to do so can create uncertainty about how to proceed in unforeseen circumstances. Ensure that the agreement includes contingencies for breach, termination, or extension of the contract to avoid uncertainty.
In conclusion, there are many examples of uncertain agreements that can create confusion for all parties involved. By avoiding ambiguous language, including complete terms, ensuring consistency, being specific about scope, and including contingencies, you can create clear, concise agreements that are enforceable and reduce the potential for uncertainty.