consign/appoint

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windyvalley

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

1) Party A consigns Party B as its agent.
2) Party A consigns Party B acting as its agent.
3) Party A appoints Party B as its agent.

A) I would like to know if the word "consign" is wrongly used here, and if the right word should be "appoint" instead. I am not sure because I googled and found some sentences use "consign" as well.

Hope this is clear.

B) Do you think "acting" is redundant here, only "as" is enough.

Thanks in advance!
Windy
 
  • windyvalley

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks mgcrules.

    So in this matter, "consign" equals the meaning of " appoint", both are correct verbs, right? thanks for your patience!
     

    Romulus

    Member
    English UK
    I have my doubts about consign as a synonym for appoint. The Oxford English doesn't give it, nor the Webster's. And the only case in which consign could reasonably be applied to a person, as opposed to a thing, is in the original sense, now obsolete, of baptising a child, literally marking him/her with the sign of the cross. True, you can consign a body to the grave or the flames, and you can consign someone you do not like to damnation or any other fate. But both of these cases are equivalents of commit, not appoint. I'd like to see examples free of influence from other languages, i.e. poor translations. Sorry to cast doubts, but we may be doing people a disservice here.
     

    Romulus

    Member
    English UK
    Sorry, sorry. I correct myself. I've just found the Oxford English definition of consign, "to commission (a person ) to do anything." That would apply perfectly well to mgcrules's second version, "Party A consigns Party B to act as its agent," but would not make sense of the first version "Party A consigns Party B as its agent", which I still think is not English. The reason for this is that when you use the verb to consign in a context relating to representation, custody, sale or auction, what you are consigning are the goods, not the person representing the owner or looking after, selling or auctioning the goods themselves. So, as I see it, the first version is wrong and the second version right, but rare. (The Oxford example of its use is inconclusive because no impersonal object is mentioned, "I have consign'd Walter Welsh to write. (Addison, "Italy", 1733)" If the impersonal object had been mentioned, the sentence would have to be "I have consigned the writing of (name of book, poem, piece of writing) to Walter Welsh.") I'll go further. Whatever the Oxford says, I think what Addison meant was that he had obliged Walter Welsh to write, not commissioned him. It's a pity Walter Welsh isn't around to clarify the matter.
     

    windyvalley

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Reading all above replies, I have no idea what the correct answer should be.
    This is very confusing.:confused:
    So, what would you usually say then?
     

    Romulus

    Member
    English UK
    Good question. Of the three sentences the only one I think is unquestionably correct is the third: Party A appoints Party B as its agent. I have a strong suspicion that in English consign with a personal object does not mean commission or appoint, as the Oxford claims, but condemn, oblige or require. In my view, where the concept of agency, representation, custody, etc. is involved, it has to be the 'thing' (normally goods, merchandise) that is/are consigned, not the agent. The agent is appointed or commissioned, not consigned.
     
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