I saw in a lease this sentence

"In consideration of the mutual agreements contained herein and other valuable consideration received, and with the intent to be legally bound, Landlord and Tenant agree as follows"

  1. "the mutual agreements contained herein" and "herein contained the mutual agreement" why can I flip the order but the meaning is the same?

  2. why is "contained" in past tense?

thank you in advance

  • 2
    Are you parsing herein as a noun? Herein is not a noun. It's an adverb. Google doesn't return any results for "herein contained the mutual agreement". You can't flip the order. Mar 29, 2019 at 12:56
  • 2
    Offhand I can't think of a sentence where the sequence herein contained the mutual agreement would ever be syntactically valid (except with a comma after contained, if the text before and after that represented totally separate elements), so this question seems to be based on a false premise. Mar 29, 2019 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


Contained is not the Past Simple form here, but the Past Participle form.

'To contain' is a regular verb, so these two forms coincide.

Contained is used here as an attribute of the noun 'agreement'.

It can be called "Passive Participle" as 'agreement' is not the logical subject of containing but its logical object

(="The document contains some important agreements").

Compare two examples from Reverso.context.net:

''Several east European countries have also signed Association Agreements with page the EU and several CIS States have concluded special partnership and cooperation agreements with the EU which contain agreements on mutual protection of investments.''

''We firmly hope that by then, there will be full compliance with the agreements contained in the declaration of principles and objectives.''

(=''The declaration contains the agreements'').


Regarding your first question:

You cannot 'flip' the word order as you suggest. You could say:

the herein-contained mutual agreement ...

The reason is that 'herein-contained' has become a compound adjective describing the mutual agreement, rather than a verb and adverb as it is in the first example. "The" goes before the adjective in such cases (eg. "the red bus", etc).

Regarding your second question:

As user 307254 said, "contained" looks like the simple past, but it isn't. It is a participle being used to form a passive construction.

It may help you to add a couple of implied words which have been excluded.

the mutual agreements [which are] contained herein.

It is a very common construction, and has no sense of the past at all. It can be used with auxilliary verbs to create any sense of time you like.

Other examples:

The cat is locked in its cage.

The cat will be locked in its cage.

The cat was locked in its cage.

The cat had been locked in its cage.

  • just to make sure.. contained herein is a participial phrase?
    – chie
    Mar 30, 2019 at 3:11
  • 1
    I don't think it is, but I'll admit there are better grammarians on this site than me when it comes to the proper terminology for things. To my mind, "contained", plus its implied "which are", form a completely standard passive construction. It is made misleading for you because "which are" is not included (and doesn't need to be). This auxilliary verb omission is an example of some sort of gapping or ellipsis, but I'm not sure exactly which.
    – fred2
    Mar 30, 2019 at 3:43

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