4. (Non)sense of hendiadyses and quasi-synonyms

This is the fourth, for the time being and last, weblog on doublets and triplets with a high level of superabundance. If you encounter others, please let me know.

Sole and exclusive. The combo is used in appointment clauses in agency and distribution agreements. Sole and exclusive is ambiguous because both concepts exclude each other. Sole is used by a seller who appoints a (sole) distributor or agent. A sole distributor is the only distributor for the relevant market and the agreed products. It implies, however, that also the seller may sell its products in that market. If a distributorship is exclusive, the seller would not itself be entitled to sell or distribute its products in the agreed market.

Terms and conditions. Sometimes a contract clause starts with Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement. Obviously, terms and conditions refers to whatever is agreed in “this Agreement”. Simply referring to terms is sufficient and adequate; the word has no particular legal meaning; it may well include conditions, as well as warranties, operative provisions and even the recitals of a contract. It would be equally meaningful, however, to refer to ‘stipulations’ or to ‘provisions’. Strictly speaking, a reference to ‘obligations’ would be incorrect, since they exclude conditions (i.e., facts or circumstances to come into existence or not), warranties (i.e., statements of fact) and recitals (i.e., statements of essential facts that should not contain obligatory language). I must admit that I like the combo and use it all too often.

Unless and until. Until means ‘up to’ (but excluding). Unless means ‘except when’ or ‘if not’. Until suggests the application of something up to the point in time or the event mentioned, after which this ‘something’ will not apply anymore; whilst unless implies a separation of something that applies and another thing that does not apply (by exception). Using both is like comparing apples and oranges.

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