(no subject)

Philip E. Cleary philipcleary at RCN.COM
Sun Jan 13 18:14:33 UTC 2008

> But "a certain date" is ambiguous between 1 and 2. 1 is the sense of "date
> certain", 2 is the everyday meaning. So "date certain" has the value of
> being unambiguous, in a legal context where ambiguity is dangerous.
>    1. a firm date for future action, which may or may not have been
>    determined at the time the phrase is used ("We need to specify a date
>    certain.")
>    - A term identifying the date on/by which the specified actions of a
>       contract can be reasonably completed. This date is important, as it is
>       generally considered legally binding. (
>       http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Date+Certain)
>       2. a specific date, not necessarily "firm"that I have in mind
>    but I'm not mentioning
A negotiable instrument (e.g., a check or promissory note) traditionally
had to contain a promise or order to pay  a "sum certain in money." When
the applicable law was revised in 1990, the phrase used was "a fixed
amount of money."

Phil Cleary

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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