pronoun usage in Terms of Service Agreements

Subject: pronoun usage in Terms of Service Agreements
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l digest recipients <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, TBilbo -at- round1 -dot- com
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 10:48:18 -0700

Thomas Bilbo <TBilbo -at- round1 -dot- com> wrote:

>Has anyone written Terms of Service Agreements before? Is it ok to use
>pronouns in them (we, ours, etc.)? Since I'm not a lawyer, I don't have
>that much experience in legalese.

I'm no lawyer, However, I have spent more time than I cared to
wading through contracts and formulating end-user agreements. I
feel reasonably confident in saying that pronouns shouldn't be
used in a legal document. The reason is probably to avoid

I suppose that you could include a list of terms at the start.
For example:

"XYG Company, Inc" ("we"), a company with its head office at 123
Street, Suite 431, CloudCuckoLand"

However, I suspect that lawyers would have a stroke if you
insisted on this practice. After all, even an abbreviation of
this company to "XYG" would normally be defined to avoid

Let's face it: legal documents just aren't meant to be written in
warm and chummy tones.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"'O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?' --
'O didn't you know I'd been ruined?' says she."
-Thomas Hardy, "The Ruined Maid"

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