So I would like to ask if the usage of upon makes sense in the following sentence. I have already done extensive research on the interwebs but have not come to a conclusion; hence I am here.

Does this sentence make sense?

Did the boy deliver the agreed upon resolution?

I don't believe the usage of upon makes sense in that sentence. If I'm wrong, how does that change the meaning from the following sentence?

Did the boy deliver the agreed resolution?

  • 2
    The first sentence makes a lot more sense, and is a lot more idiomatic (i.e. phrased the way native speakers would typically phrase it) than the latter, which simply doesn't work. You may wish to google the phrase "agreed upon" as a unit. – Dan Bron Apr 27 '15 at 17:20
  • It's a compound in this usage, so Farlex doesn't even use the term 'adjectival phrase': agreed upon Adj. 1. ... constituted or contracted by stipulation or agreement – Edwin Ashworth Apr 27 '15 at 18:54

According to ODO the adjectival agreed is sufficient:


[ATTRIBUTIVE] 1.0 Discussed or negotiated and then accepted by all parties:
the agreed date

1.1 (Of two or more parties) holding the same view or opinion on something:
all the republics are agreed on the necessity of a common defence policy

The Learner's Dictionary concurs with added explanation:

3 of two or more people or groups : to decide to accept something after discussing what should or might be done
[no object]
— usually + on or upon

  • The jurors were unable to agree on a verdict. [=to reach a verdict]
  • agree on a plan
  • They agreed on a fair division of the profits.

[+ object] (Brit)

  • The jurors were unable to agree a verdict.
  • The means of ending the dispute were finally agreed.

◊ The forms agreed, agreed-upon, and (less commonly) agreed-on are used as adjectives in both U.S. and British English.

  • She paid him the agreed price.
  • They met at the agreed-upon time.

Agreed upon is preferred in legal language for a binding contractual arrangement:

constituted or contracted by stipulation or agreement; "stipulatory obligations"

WordNet 3.0 Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

The dominance of agreed upon in the corpus, seems to be rooted in formal, regulatory and legal usage. The connotation of legal consistency may give native speakers a greater sense of accuracy with agreed upon.


Idiomatically, the term "agreed upon" is correct. Preferred, even. It's a tad formal and the phrase "agreed on" is also unambiguous. There is slight ambiguity when the boy delivers "the agreed resolution" in that it suggests mainly that the resolution was considered final by all concerned plus a small ambiguity that the resolution was one of agreement as to its internal terms.

As an "agreed upon" or "agreed on" resolution, the only agreement is that the final submitted resolution was agreed to, not that its internal particulars were made up of agreements, point by point.

If I were using the idea in poetry, "agreed resolution" might be better for the meter of the line. We need a solution to the agreed resolution.

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.