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In the fragment "to complete and deliver construction works to the customer using the Certificate of Work Completion", how can I change the word using (in the sense of "by what means")?

Should I write "with the Certificate" or "by the Certificate"? Or is there a better option still?

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    Using is actually the best word here. It indicates that the Certificate is the instrument by which completion is marked and the construction works are handed over. – Andrew Leach Mar 1 '14 at 9:25
  • If the work is done in accordance with the Certificate, I'd say by ("by the power vested in me"), if the Certificate is being handed over as well as the work, you could say with and (as Andrew Leach commented) if the Certificate is the instrument, using would work too – SubmittedDenied Mar 1 '14 at 9:27
  • The Certificate is indeed the instrument in this case. Thank you very much :). – Laura Mar 1 '14 at 9:42
  • Also consider via – Ben Voigt Apr 16 '14 at 17:45
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As Andrew Leach notes in the comments, "using" is perfectly acceptable. Your other choices wouldn't inherently be wrong but I agree with Andrew: "using" is the best option.

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If this is part of a legally binding contract, I imagine that you would want to avoid any possibility that a judge might misread the intent of the phrase in question, in a later dispute about the meaning of the provision.

With that in mind, I note that the phrase

to complete and deliver construction works to the customer using the Certificate of Work Completion

can be construed as indicating that the customer is the one "using the Certificate of Work Completion." Adding a comma after customer makes that misinterpretation less likely (assuming that it is a misinterpretation):

to complete and deliver construction works to the customer, using the Certificate of Work Completion

since it dissociates the phrase "using the Certificate of Work Completion" from the preceding noun. With the comma in place, the meaning is pretty clearly equivalent to

using the Certificate of Work Completion to complete and deliver construction works to the customer

If that still seems potentially ambiguous to you—because, say, you're concerned that using the Certificate of Work Completion doesn't actually complete or deliver anything on its own—you might use this wording instead:

to complete and deliver construction works to the customer, in full compliance with and satisfaction of the terms of the Certificate of Work Completion

Contractual language has to be more-than-usually precise because the goal of a contract is not merely to memorialize a meeting of the minds between the contracting parties, but to bind them to their understanding by expressing it in terms that neither party can weasel out of later by claiming that one or both parties understood a key provision to have a different meaning from the one that the opposing party in court now asserts.

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