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Prepositional Adverbs in Legal Texts

October 20, 2016

A prepositional adverb may be easily interpreted as “there” or “here” + one or more prepositions.

Some people call it pronominal adverb: a type of adverb occurring in a number of Germanic languages, formed in replacement of a preposition and a pronoun by turning the latter into a locative adverb and the former into a prepositional adverb and joining them in reverse order. (Wiktionary)

Some people also call it a compound preposition. However it is called, it adds many extra words making writings exaggeratedly formal. In this article, I specifically use the term prepositional adverb.

If you encounter legal translations with many prepositional adverbs or if you are somehow required to use them, first of all you need to read through and understand the correct definitions of prepositions.

Prepositions are used to express the relationship of a noun or pronoun (or another grammatical element functioning as a noun) to the rest of the sentence (The Free Dictionary). They indicate place, time, direction, etc. They are not that easy to use, and you just have to learn them by heart.

The language of contracts uses many prepositional adverbs, such as hereof, hereunder, therein, thereinabove, etc. Giving a legal smell, most of “here-” and “there-“ words are considered archaic today and mainly found in legal contracts and other formal styles although some others are very common.

The word “here” refers to the document you currently have in hand. To understand the meaning of “here-” words, just reverse the order of “here” and the preposition, and replace “here” with “this [document]”.

Example:

1. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be executed in two copies, each of which has equal legal force and is to be retained by each party.

Meaning: IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties to this Agreement have caused this Agreement to be executed in two copies, each of which has equal legal force and is to be retained by each party.

2. Each Party must comply with the provisions set forth hereinbelow.

Meaning: Each Party must comply with the provisions set forth below in this Agreement.

Note on hereafter and hereinafter:

Hereafter means henceforth, at some future time.

Example:

1. The regulation shall be effective hereafter.

Meaning: The regulation shall be effective after the day on which [this Law] takes effect.

Meanwhile, hereinafter means in a part of this document that follows.

Example:

1. The Parties have agreed that an exchange of letters hereinafter referred to constitutes the Agreement.

Meaning: The Parties have agreed that an exchange of letters referred to later [in this paragraph] constitutes the Agreement.

The same goes with “there”, which refers to something mentioned earlier. You must be extra careful when determining the noun referred to in each context.

Example:

1. Please read Article 5, including all of the paragraphs thereunder.

Meaning: Please read Article 5, including all of the paragraphs listed under Article 5.

2. The company and the employees thereof must not act in contravention of the laws and regulations on labor.

Meaning: The company and the employees of the company must not act in contravention of the laws and regulations on labor.

3. The payments and the interests thereon must be duly paid.

Meaning: The payments and the interests on the payments must be duly paid.

The more you are exposed to legal reads, you will find these prepositional adverbs more often. Here is the non-exhaustive list.

“Here-” Words “There-” Words
hereafter thereafter
hereagainst thereagainst
hereat thereat
hereby thereby
herefrom therefor (different from “therefore”; this means “for that”)
herein therefore (this means “because of that”)
hereinafter therefrom
hereinabove therein
hereinbefore (think of this as “herein and herebefore”) thereinafter (think of this as “therein and thereafter”)
hereinbelow (think of this as “herein and herebelow”) thereinbefore (think of this as “therein and therebefore”)
hereinto thereinto
hereof thereof
hereon thereon
hereover thereover
hereto thereto
heretofore (this “fore” means “before”, so “heretofore” is “before this”, “previously”) theretofore (this “fore” means “before”, so “theretofore” is “before that”, “until that time”)
hereunder thereunder
hereunto thereunto
herewith (this is “here with” as in “together with this”) therewith (this is “there with” as in “together with that”)
herewithin therewithin

You may also unexpectedly encounter “where-” words, such as whereby, wherefore, wherefrom, wherein, whereof, whereon, whereunder, whereupon, wherewith, wherewithin, etc.

However, it is particularly important to note that the current tendency is promoting plain English, in which the use of such prepositional adverbs in legal texts is decreasing.

Every time you meet any of the prepositional adverbs in your readings or translation works, don’t be panic. Just remember the pattern and way to figure out the meaning as briefly explained hereinabove. Happy translating! 🙂

Important Links:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-easiest-examples-to-understand-how-therein-thereupon-thereunder-etc-are-used

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_pronominal_adverbs

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/preposition

From → Translation

5 Comments
  1. Mantap Mbak.
    Eh kalau bisa ditambahin arti dalam Bahasa Indonesianya biar enak. #ups
    Selama ini cuman pakai thereafter, hereafter.
    Ternyata banyak toh.
    Mesti dihapalin nih satu per satu.

    Maaf komentarnya pakai Bahasa Indonesia. 😀

    • Terima kasih, Iid.
      Masukan dari kamu juga mantap! 🙂
      Iya, nanti aku tambahin juga arti dalam bahasa Indonesianya.

      Kamu gak usah minta maaf karena komentar pake bahasa Indonesia.
      Aku aja yang sok nulis pake bahasa Inggris. Hihi.

      Have a great day and keep blogging ya, Iid. 🙂

      • Soalnya kalau sudah ada indonesianya, enak ngapalnya. Maklumlah belum mau berurusan dengan teks legal.

        Kalau sudah ada Indonesianya, enak. Tinggal masukin ke multiterm. 😀

  2. Nice post!
    Pernah menulis topik yang mirip ini (adverbia arkais dalam bahasa Inggris ragam hukum) untuk tugas paper di S2, tapi nggak pernah dipublikasikan karena kurang mumpuni. Coba kamu nulis ini tahun lalu, Ros, pasti hidupku jauh lebih mudah hehe…

    • Hehehe.
      Saya memang selalu kurang menyempatkan waktu untuk menulis, padahal banyak hal di kepala yang perlu dituangkan ke dalam tulisan supaya gak lupa.
      Mulai sekarang, sepertinya saya harus berkomitmen untuk meluangkan waktu khusus untuk menulis.
      Pos ini saya tulis tadi malam pas singa mati sudah takluk semua. 😀
      Terima kasih sudah mampir ke blog saya ya, Mas Prayudi.
      Really appreciate it. 🙂

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