Friday, February 20, 2009

Do you know the difference between "in accordance with" and "according to?"

This guy does - legal drafting scholar, consultant, and adjunct professor Ken Adams.

Garner's American Usage Dictionary says that according to means (1) “depending on”; (2) “as explained or reported by (a person)”; or (3) “in accordance with.” It’s used relatively often in contracts to convey the last of these meanings, as in “Any dispute must be resolved by arbitration according to the procedures stated in this section 12.10.” According to occurs in 240 contracts filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system in the past week.

By contrast, in accordance with doesn’t have alternative meanings. That’s why I use in accordance with instead of according to—readers have an easier time of it if they don’t have to select among alternative meanings, even if they can do so in a fraction of a second.  For what it's worth, most practitioners would appear to agree with me; in accordance with occurs in 990 contracts filed on the SEC's EDGAR system in this past week.

I am the scholarship dude - workin' overtime to bring you the good stuff.


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