There often is a lot of meta-data in a contract. What I mean by meta-data is parts of the contract regarding how the contract itself is applied and interpreted. For example

  • waiver clauses
  • no waiver clauses
  • severability / savings clauses
  • statements such as "time is of the essence" or "this is the entire contract and supersedes any previous"
  • this contract is executed and to be governed by the laws of the state of California.

What do you call these things that are not the main intent of the contract? What do you call the main intent that would make up the body? For example if a property management company wanted to have a contract for lawn maintenance what would you call the active portion like:

"Company XYZ agrees to water and cut the grass every Thursday afternoon for Company ABC. Company ABC will compensate XYZ, $600 per lawn. XYZ must not use any poisonous chemicals on the lawn".

How would the entire contract be structured? I've seen labels used for exampling having a specific "severability" heading, but I've never seen a "main body" heading.

  • I suggest you read a few contracts of the nature you are describing. Just Google sample contracts and some sites should pop up. When I just did that, this site popped up at the top of the list. May 24, 2016 at 7:00
  • The problem is that there already is a concept of contract metadata, which is essentially about ways to file your contracts: e.g. "warranty", "employment".
    – user6726
    May 24, 2016 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


There is never meta-data in a contract.

Everything in a contract is either a term or a warranty. The difference is that breach of a term is grounds for termination and breach of a warranty isn't. Some conditions are explicitly terms (because they say that breaching them is grounds for termination) and some are implicitly terms in that they are so central to the substance of the contract that breach of them renders the contract incapable of being fulfilled.

Every item in a contract is assigning rights and obligations to one party or the other (or both) and they are all important. For example, waiver/no waiver clauses specifically override rights/obligations that the parties would otherwise have at law, "time is of the essence" explicitly makes time a term of the contract - if you are a minute late in delivering my apartment I can cancel the contract etc.

What you are describing is the consideration. The thing(s) of value that each party is providing to the other as one of the fundamental requirements of there being a contract.

  • Must a term be one sentence long or can it be longer?
    – SamT
    May 24, 2016 at 9:34
  • This answer seems very helpful (and further elaboration would make it even better!). But the first statement does not seem to be supported by the rest of the answer, and, if anything, suggests you misunderstood the term "meta-data." I understood the word to reference items that address the contract as a mechanism and could apply to any contract regardless of the subject. For example: jurisdiction, severability -- you don't need to know anything about the motivating agreement to tack such terms onto a contract.
    – feetwet
    May 24, 2016 at 15:28
  • It's got to be more than this. For example is the "sign here to accept" a term?
    – SamT
    May 24, 2016 at 21:31
  • @SamT "sign here to accept" is probably a warranty in that if the person doesn't sign yet there is still a contract it would not be grounds for termination (it's possible but by no means certain that the absence of the signature means the absence of a contract)
    – Dale M
    May 24, 2016 at 21:34

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