discussion: "including, but not limited to"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ashbury, May 21, 2008.

  1. ashbury

    ashbury Member

    Shanghai, China

    "Including, but not limited to" is commonly used in English contracts, and I believe it is acceptable. But I'm not clear why we should add "not limited to" because "include" simply means "to have something as part of a whole".

    Is it that by saying "including A, B, C, and D" we imply that A, B, C, and D consist the whole of the list ??:confused:

    If I don't like to use so many words, can I simply use "such as"?

    Thank you
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Legal terminology is a language all its own. :) I think it is simply a way of explicitly stating that when A, B, C, and D are listed that it does not exclude E, F, G and H which may arise later or not be foreseen by the drafter of the contract.
  3. lilsurfer2020 Member

    English- United States
    It would be like including a,b,c, and d but not limited to those so it could also be e, f, g, and h because it is not limited to just a,b,c and d. It does Not imply that a,b,c and d are the whole list, but are rather part of it.
  4. Unknoewn13 Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English - American
    Using an actual example instead of letters:p
    Sources that you may cite for your research paper include, but are not limited to, newspapers, websites, and books.

    The "but not limited to" makes it clear that there may be other things that you may cite, such as encyclopedias or magazines, but they are not included in that specific list. Without the "but are not limited to," a student may be left thinking he or she is only allowed to cite from newspapers, websites, or books.
  5. ashbury

    ashbury Member

    Shanghai, China
    I see... it's used for emphasis purpose.

    I think I get the point: language is not about logic, it's about communication

    Thank you for your replies.
  6. Yasin New Member

    Beijing, China
    Chinese - English
    yes, I can't agree with you more .
  7. tsunami New Member

    New Guinea
    Usually with legal contracts there is a standard format of terms and conditions which reflect the type of contract. "Including" refers to these terms and conditions. "Not limited to" implies there are special terms and conditions attached to that particular contract. This may be because the contract has been taylored specifically for an individual or purpose and extra conditions need to be taken into account on top of the basic contract.
  8. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Sorry, but I disagree with this. The term "including but not limited to" is the lawyer's way of covering his and his client's butt.

    If certain terms and conditions have been included in a contract/agreement/whatever, these are the terms and conditions that are "included". "Not limited to" means that if something has been left out of the contract, it gives the lawyer's client an "out".

    If I am a party involved in what I think is a breach of contract and I want to sue the other party for that breach, I might say "But there's nothing in the contract that allows you to do that!" and they might say "Oh, but the contract stipulates the terms but say "including but not limited to. We're going on the basis of the "not limited to".

    It's simply a way to cover all the bases. Let's face it - if you tried to put absolutely every possibility into a contract, they would all be 100 pages long - many are bad enough as it is. This is just a catch-all that, hopefully, covers everybody's butt.
  9. aeengel New Member

    English - USA
    It is because of this canon of construction: "Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius," which (roughly) means that what is not included was meant to be excluded. This answer does not address whether it makes sense to require "but not limited to" over and over again in a contract, but it does explain the CYA basis for lawyers using it. That interpretation of "including" does, however, make sense in some examples where one really gets the impression that the parties did mean to exclude non-included things, and given that most written contracts also have a clause like "this document represents the entire agreement between the parties, and no prior conversations, etc., shall have any effect." Where the latter clause is in the contract, the parties themselves are implicitly cautioning against reading the language expansively. As a lawyer, I have started just adding a clause at the end, in a "miscellaneous" section, that says the term "including" is never meant to be limiting - the list that follows is always non-exhaustive. That adds clarity while still allowing a lot of the other language to be streamlined.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011

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