Applicability

From The Jolly Contrarian
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Towards more picturesque speechTM

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Nominalisation on steroids. A noun that should have settled on being a verb many years ago.

An old favourite, applicability started out life as a verb (“apply”), became a noun (“application”), became an adjective (“applicable”, shape-shifted then into a new verb — albeit a passive one — (“to be applicable”), and eventually settled on a life of tiresome nounitude in its adult form as “applicability”.

But at what cost to the reader? Without thinking on it, choose your favourite:

This clause applies.
This clause is applicable.

Also a more pernickety but equally redundant way of saying “relevant”: “The users shall comply with all applicable contractual provisions” — seeming to suggest that users might be compelled otherwise to comply with provisions that didn’t apply.

That’s not how a contract works, peeps.

Fun fact: “relevant” appears 272 times in the 2002 ISDA Equity Derivatives Definitions, and “applicable” 124 times.