The University of Chicago Press,
Exercises from LEGAL WRITING IN PLAIN ENGLISH, Bryan A. Garner

§ 36. Don't use provisos.



Revise the following passages to eliminate the provisos:

  • The quantity of product whose delivery or acceptance is excused by force majeure will be deducted without liability from the quantity otherwise subject to delivery or acceptance; provided, however, that in no event will Buyer be relieved of the obligation to pay in full for product previously delivered.
  • Contractor will be reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses actually and necessarily incurred by Contractor in performing this Contract in an amount not to exceed $2,000; provided that Contractor will be reimbursed for these expenses in the same manner and in no greater amount than is provided in the current Commissioner's Plan.
  • The Borrower may, at any time and from time to time, prepay the Loans in whole or in part, without premium or penalty, upon at least one business day's notice to the Lender, specifying the date and the amount of the prepayment; provided, however, that each such prepayment must be accompanied by the payment of all accrued but unpaid interest on the amount prepaid to the date of the prepayment.


Revise the following passages to eliminate the provisos:

  • If Seller's production of the product is stopped or disrupted by an event of force majeure, Seller must allocate its available supplies of the product to Buyer based upon the same percentage of Seller's preceding year's shipments of products to Buyer in relation to Seller's total shipments for the product, provided, however, that to the extent that Seller does not need any tonnage that is available in excess of the allocation of products to Buyer, it must make that tonnage available to Buyer.
  • This Agreement will terminate upon the termination of the Merger Agreement under § 6.1 or two years from the effective date of this Agreement, whichever occurs earlier; provided that if the Merger Agreement is terminated under § 6.1(d), 6.1(g), or 6.1(h) of that agreement and at the time of termination there has been an acquisition proposal as described in § 14 of that agreement, then this Agreement will not terminate until four months after the termination of the Merger Agreement or payment to the parent company of a termination fee under § 6.2, whichever occurs earlier.
  • When the Lease term expires, if Renton has fully complied with all its obligations under the Lease, Renton will be entitled to a 20% interest in the profits of Jamie Ridge in the form of a nonmanaging membership interest, and the right to lease or buy for nominal consideration approximately 1.6 acres, in an area designated by Jamie Ridge, for the purpose of operating a garden nursery, provided that any such lease or sale would be contingent upon the nursery's purpose being permitted under all applicable laws, and provided further that the area designated for the nursery would be burdened by a restrictive covenant prohibiting any other use thereof.


In a federal statute or regulation, find a passage containing at least two provisos. Rewrite the passage to eliminate the provisos and otherwise improve the style. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy of the before-and-after versions for each colleague.

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© 2001, Bryan A. Garner

These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and on the Web at