REUTERS | Ajay Verma

“Can” and “may” in contracts: is there a difference?

Blog post, Permissive language in contracts: can, may, or is entitled to?, which I wrote for ClarifyNow, discusses the meaning and use of “can” and “may” in contract drafting and in everyday language. I find that there is a clear difference in tone and an arguable difference in meaning. Although “may” is still dominant in contract drafting, the blog suggests reasons to accept “can” as an alternative. It also points to possible risks of ambiguity and inconsistency when drafting contract terms granting or refusing permission.

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