I'd be very grateful to you if you can help me to understand one sentence, that I have in business communication by email.

Situation: I am discussing the process of remote registration of a contract with a lawyer from company. The lawyer asked me to do two things:

  1. sign some pages
  2. monograph other pages

So, there is no problem with signing, but what «to monograph» verb means in context of documents/agreements?

  • 1
    Possibly a confusion of monograph and monogram? Nov 29, 2020 at 12:32
  • This may help to know the difference: wikidiff.com/monogram/….
    – Ram Pillai
    Nov 29, 2020 at 13:00
  • 3
    It is a part of the job of a lawyer to make everything that is relevant to the client's matter clear to the client. If one feels the need to go to some Internet site to seek a clarification of the communications from one's own lawyer, something is seriously wrong with the lawyer-client relationship.
    – jsw29
    Nov 29, 2020 at 17:06
  • It would be helpful to specify where you (and your lawyer) are located. Nov 30, 2020 at 6:13
  • 2
    @jsw29 It sounds to me that this is the company's lawyer, not the OP's. Nov 30, 2020 at 6:43

2 Answers 2


I believe there is a confusion with monogram

Monogram. A character or cipher composed of one or more letters interwoven, being an abbreviation of a name.

A signature made by a monogram would perhaps be binding, provided it could be proved to have been made and intended as a signature.

Free dictionary

If your monogram appears on a page it confirms that you have read and agree it.

  • Yeah, it's right: lawyer mislabeled two words. Also you're right about what does it need for: you should write your initials on every page to confirm that you've read it. So, I think if lawyer used 'write your initials' or 'monogram' it would be clearer. Anyway, we got it. Thanks! Nov 29, 2020 at 12:38
  • Good! Your lawyer merely had what is sometimes called a "Homeric nod" (lexico.com/en/definition/even_homer_nods)
    – Anton
    Nov 29, 2020 at 13:08
  • 1
    @VladAbramov the lawyer is using $10 words unnecessarily. Mind the bill !
    – Criggie
    Nov 29, 2020 at 22:00

Anton's answer has already explained what was probably intended in the specific case that the OP asked about, but for the benefit of others who may come to this page, it should be said that the standard verb for signing something by using a short form of one's signature, that consist only of one's initials, is to initial. The standard meaning of to monograph (in so far as it is used as a verb at all), is: to write a monograph (i.e. a book).

  • 2
    Agree. I have only rarely encountered monogram but have frequently met initial.
    – Anton
    Nov 29, 2020 at 22:12
  • 1
    The verb to monogram does have some circulation, but what it is normally used for is something different: embroidering the owner's initials on clothing, napkins, handkerchiefs, and suchlike.
    – jsw29
    Nov 29, 2020 at 22:21
  • Monogram is the noun, monograph is the verb! Like telegram and telegraph... :) Nov 30, 2020 at 15:46
  • 1
    @WillCrawford, it is indeed likely that the wording in the OP's example was led by the telegram/telegraph analogy (although telegraph is a noun as well as a verb). The analogy, however, doesn't hold, because monogram and monograph, each of which can be used both as a noun and as a verb, stand for very different things: the former for embroidered initials (or, when used as a verb, for the act of embroidering them) and the latter for a single-topic treatise (or the act of writing it).
    – jsw29
    Nov 30, 2020 at 16:29
  • @jsw29 has a sensible interpretation, but since it is opposed to Anton's (which is closer to the application of an engraved seal or signet) I think it's imperative for the OP to get clarification from the party asking for it. Nov 30, 2020 at 18:09

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