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Doesn't "including" imply the "not limited to"?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

I would agree that "including" definitely carries the implication of "not limited to"; however, I think this redundant phrasing is simply used in order to emphasize the fact that what follows is not intended to be a complete list.

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I think the point of this common bit of ‘legalese’ is that in case anyone should assume that including does mean ‘limited to’ they have no recourse to claim they were misled by believing the list in question was a complete list.

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Usually (and especially in law) you include the phrase "but not limited to" to prevent ejusdem generis. For example, consider this phrase:

As used in this statute, "vehicles" shall mean powered vehicles including cars, buses, recreational vehicles, and trucks.

In this case, one can make an argument that airplanes and off-road dirt bikes are not included. All of the examples are highway vehicles that transport people and cargo.

By contrast, if it specifically said, "but not limited to", that would indicate that whole categories of items were not reflected in the examples. In that case, you shouldn't infer that it wasn't meant to include things like airplanes and boats. You'd have to look at the rest of the statute to see if it made sense to include those things.

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There is not really anything implying that "including" does not also mean "but not limited to", unless you specify by saying "including but limited to".

I think it is redundant and actually looks quite ugly with the compulsory use of this phrase in for example EULAs and similar documents, but lawyers will probably keep using it, "just to be safe".

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I think it is ambiguous is some cases to just write "including", if you also mean "not limited to" (although I agree it does not make a nice sentence). An example from a play that I am working on at the moment (listing props);

  • Scary Creatures (can include);
    • Mummy
    • Vampire
    • Frankenstein
    • Goblin

This to me says that you are limited to those listed, while the next example explicitly states that you are not limited.

  • Options for Scary Creatures (can include, but not limited to);
    • Mummy
    • Vampire
    • Frankenstein
    • Goblin

I am trying to say that in some cases it is necessary to use the term, though I don't think it is a nice way of doing it. So the answer to the question has to be "no".

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2  
Why does "can include" say to you that you are limited to that list? This is a really strange interpretation of "can include". –  ShreevatsaR Oct 22 '10 at 5:27
    
"These are the options you can include". 'Can' as in 'able to' or 'allowed to'. That is why people use the phrase "can include, but not limited to". (I think). –  lindon fox Oct 22 '10 at 14:47
    
Without the parentheses I completely buy your argument. The "but not limited to" changes "can" from "is permitted to" to "may". But with the parenthesis, it says that "can include" doesn't change the meaning but just adds information or context, so it can't make the list exclusive rather than inclusive. –  David Schwartz May 29 '12 at 9:16

protected by RegDwigнt Jun 27 '12 at 18:13

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