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The JC’s guide to writing nice.™

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/prəˈvʌɪzəʊ/ (n.)

Along with the carve-in, carve-out, incluso and provuso, the proviso is one of the fundamental particles of legal construction. While it is undeniably ginger and lily-livered, at least it has the common decency to do something: it takes a stated general principle and weasels out of it.

“The promisor herewith agrees to pay, unconditionally and in full, all amounts due, provided that on no account shall the promisor be liable for: … [here follows a catalogue of exceptions great and small the sum total of which will equal, or perhaps even exceed, the value of the commitment so generously given].

Compare with the incluso, which is no more than a legally approved form of verbal incontinence, and a proviso, which combines both to achieve a completely different effect.

See also