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Subject:Sidenote to "don't Should on me" From:Dianne Phelan <primate!dphelan -at- CS -dot- UNM -dot- EDU> Date:Thu, 2 Jun 1994 18:03:54 PST
Barb (BurkBrick -at- AOL -dot- COM) writes:
> As a sidenote, I worked with a writer for a while that
> changed all my "wills" to "shalls," which I think is the
> absolute in condescension. As a contractor, there wasn't much I
> could do about it - he had final say - but I got out of the
> contract as soon as possible!
Continuing the sidenote, I was taught there is a LEGAL
difference between "shall" and "will" (and also between "that"
and "which"). For example, a contract that says "The program
shall walk the dog" is making a different statement than a
contract that says "The program will walk the dog." As I
recall, and my grammar books seem to corroborate, "shall" is a
stronger, legally enforceable promise--if the program doesn't
walk the dog, the purchaser has grounds for breach of contract
or some such. "Will" is a weaker statement.
If you're writing your company's contracts or product
descriptions, you might want to investigate and be aware of the
distinction. Standard disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, just a
writer with sometimes fallible memories.