Repetition of nouns

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Englishmypassion, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Hello Everyone,

    Is it normal/necessary to repeat nouns, as done in the sentences below (highlighted), instead of using pronouns in legal language?

    1. The Employee agrees that the Employee will not disclose this Agreement to any third party.

    2. The Employee agrees to protect the Company property that the Employee may have in the Employee’s possession or control.

    3. The Employee agrees that, during the term of this Agreement and thereafter, the Employee will not work for any competitor of the Company.

    4. The Employee agrees not to disclose any trade secrets of the Company that the Employee learns...


    It sounds very odd in non-legalese, you know.

    Thank you.

    Emp
     
  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    I suppose it's done a) for absolute clarity, and b) to avoid having to say 'he or she' every time.
     
  3. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thank you. So that's fine?
     
  4. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Cambodia
    English (USA)
    This is legalese. I wouldn't be happy with an answer from anyone but a lawyer.
     
  5. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thank you so much, UWNN.

    :D
    Here too, though.
     
  6. User With No Name Senior Member

    English - U.S. (Texas)
    Well, as far as that goes, no one should take any advice about anything provided by anonymous users on an internet forum without confirming it with an authoritative source.
     
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Where did you find that rather odd extract, Emp?
     
  8. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Sounds odd to me too. Even considering legalese the sentences sound unnatural to me, replacing it with a gender neutral pronoun would cause no ambiguity since there's nobody else it could refer to. But then I'm not much into legalese.
     
  9. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    In an employment agreement on the Internet, Loob. Would you replace the nouns with appropriate pronouns if you edited the agreement?
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 7:10 AM
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'd have wanted to do rather more to it than simply change the nouns into pronouns, Emp. One example: if I were an employee, I would have refused to sign anything that committed me to never, ever working for a competitor company.:(

    Is this related to the AmE employment handbook you've posted questions about?
     
  11. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thanks, actually it was for a specific period after leaving, not ever. It's from a different doc I came across online.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 7:12 AM
  12. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    But it says ' . . . during the term of this Agreement and thereafter . . . ', which implies 'for ever'.

    If it meant 'for a specific period after leaving', it would have to specify the length of the period, or the date upon which the period will be considered to have ended.
     
  13. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    o_O
    Is it one of those copy-and-paste pseudo-legal contracts you find in Asia so often?

    Paragraph 1 is nonsensical in an employment agreement! If you were to show the agreement to your spouse or better to your lawyer in order to check for inconsistencies, wouldn't that mean that you're breaching the contract and you could be fired or sued? :eek:
    Or line 3: "...during the term of this Agreement and thereafter, the Employee will not work for any competitor..." :confused: Thereafter? What, like forever?? :eek::eek:

    Who in his right mind would be so stupid to sign a wishy-washy agreement like that?
    Scrap that document and consult a real lawyer who knows something about the employment law in the country that the agreement is intended for!

    [crossposted; and I'm very happy to see that native speakers agree]
    [2nd edit: deleting quote as requested]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 10:02 AM
  14. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thanks a lot, Loob, Heypresto and Manfy.
    How about the repetition of nouns, Manfy? Would you replace them with appropriate pronouns or leave them as they are, if the terms of employment were fine and you were to edit the document?
    Thanks.
     
  15. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Emp, can you explain why you're asking? Have you been given the task of editing this document?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  16. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    Oops, sorry! I guess that makes you one of those copy-and-pasters of foreign contracts who - as experience shows - is inclined to "improve" those contracts arbitrarily because "some manager" thinks it might be beneficial to the company? :eek:
    Well....one of the many only ( :rolleyes: !!) positive aspects here is, you're not alone in Asia! :D

    The real problem is: There is no such thing as one English legalese! US legalese is different from UK legalese, Indian legalese, any other country's legalese. Legal language must be interpreted according to the legislation of the specific country it applies to. And usually the only persons who can give you a legally binding confirmation on what is allowed and what is not are lawyers who are registered in that specific country. (although, even that might be regulated differently in different countries!)

    All the contracts I've seen and signed in Singapore and China did not have such an excessive repetition of the subjects "the Employee, the Buyer, the Company". The personal pronouns usually don't make the contract ambiguous. I think those repetitions in your contract are used in order to be politically correct, i.e. to avoid language that might be considered gender-specific or even sexist.

    Of course, Singapore and most other countries in Asia are not really on the forefront of political correctness, but that doesn't mean that Asian countries are oblivious! There are laws against discrimination and more and more specific rules and regulations are being put in place all the time.
    So, specifically in the context of employment contracts, a country may have specific rules, guidelines or laws that are dealing with gender discrimination that you must follow and, logically, that may have an impact on how you can or should phrase your employment contract.

    So, final summary of what I would do: I'd draft the contract in normal language that covers everything I want and then I'd go to a lawyer and ask them to check the legality of my clauses, turn it into legalese, add other clauses that are required or recommended in that country and then I have an employment contract that I can trust and I can work with.

    [edit: deleting quote as requested]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 10:04 AM
  17. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    No need to be sorry, for:warning:
    1. I don't do legal contracts/agreements and I haven't produced any such document. My question was out of curiosity, but sorry I had to answer in the affirmative here...
    2. The sentences/terms in question aren't copies of any actual terms in any actual agreement. Only the language and grammatical constructions are the same as in many such work agreements/legal documents here.
    3. I wanted to know whether such repetition of nouns was normal and necessary in such legal documents and an American lawyer has answered my question in the affirmative.

    Thank you so much, everyone.
     
  18. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    Just to clarify, I think there's nothing wrong with studying similar and comparable contracts and then incorporating some of the ideas in your own contract. You just should have your final draft verified and approved by a legal professional in order to make sure those contract terms really mean what you think they mean in the context of the law of your target country. That's particularly important when those sample contracts come from different countries!

    Yes, that makes sense considering that the US started much earlier with political correctness than other countries, and you can be quite sure that the information by this American lawyer is true in the context of US law.
    However, the law normally doesn't dictate what words to use. It probably just tells you that you're not allowed to express any gender bias in your business dealings. How you do that in the end is up to you.
     
  19. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thank you so much for your kind response, manfy. Deeply appreciated.
     
  20. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    There are of course other ways of avoiding all that atrocious repetition:
    In (4) the employee could hardly disclose trade secrets he hasn't learnt:rolleyes:
     
  21. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thanks but say that to a lawyer. :D

    They are just example sentences for the concept, of course. There are lots of other sentences too in which you can't avoid using the Employee's/his/her/their.
     

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