I'm trying to translate a contract between two parties, and I came across this:

Package and delivery Dual Gadgets, Kempston, Beds UK as defined in TERMS 2001.


Delivery Point

The Equipment shall be ready Dual Gadgets, Kempston, Bedford UK 4 weeks after The Seller has received a confirmed order / contract and the deposit payment.

What does that mean? Why is there no preposition? Does it mean that "it will be delivered to Dual Gadgets, Kempston, Beds, UK" or does it mean that "it will be delivered by" them? Or some other meaning that I can't get?

  • I'd lean toward "delivered to", though "delivered by" is a plausible interpretation. Neither strike me as good English. If you're in doubt over the details of a contract, I'd advise you to clarify with the source of the contract; a perfectly well-argued answer on a website about the English language will serve you little good if you have a legal problem. – Jon Hanna Feb 15 '13 at 16:35
  • I just wanted to see if it's proper use first, before investing further. It's an interesting mistake though, considering the fact that the company is from the UK. – hattenn Feb 15 '13 at 16:37
  • Contracts tend to have a lot of heavy elision, and ironically a lot of heavy redundancy. To paraphrase a judge in a rather amusing case, "it is not graceful English but you must pretend that it is and then answer it, otherwise we will be here for ever." In this case, it's not that the elision is wrong so much that it's not terribly useful as eliding from "delivery to" and "delivery by" have equal results. Unless something else means the meaning clear. I would strongly lean towards the "delivered to" interpretation, but not so much as to bet not getting sued on it. – Jon Hanna Feb 15 '13 at 16:45
  • Thanks for the comments. To the downvoter: why the downvote, am I violating a rule by asking this question? – hattenn Feb 15 '13 at 16:55
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I have just edited my question, added the rest of the sentences (and mind you, the sentences end the way I've written - as they are individual articles -, they don't continue with another sentence). I just wanted to find out (hopefully from a native speaker) if this was a proper usage that I'm not aware of (I don't have much experience with legal texts). And the fact that this is British English, made me question myself more as I'm more accustomed to American English. So in light of the edit, could you give me my "blindingly obvious" answer now? – hattenn Feb 15 '13 at 17:24

I would read it as 'ready at Dual Gadgets', which is effectively the same as 'delivered to'. It looks as if the draftsman has been unduly influenced by such phrases as 'fob [or free on board] Southampton', where any preposition would be frowned on or even mistaken.

  • 2
    Yes, this: the Delivery Point defines the place of delivery much like you would define the terms of delivery with a term of art such as "EXW Dual Gadgets" (ex works). This style of business English is a bit like headline English. – MetaEd Feb 15 '13 at 19:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.