I recently read a commercial contract. In which, there is a sentence...

The seller shall make available to the buyer (or shall present to the bank specified by the buyer) the following documents (tick corresponding boxes and indicate, as appropriate, the number of copies to be provided)

I don't understand why they use "as appropriate" and why the comma is placed after "as appropriate". Please help!

  • The commas delineating as appropriate are there to indicate this is a syntactically optional adverbial element. It's modifying indicate, to convey the implication that not all the listed documents need to be accompanied by an indication of how many copies are required (presumably, the default is one copy for any document that doesn't explicitly specify some larger number). Note that not all writers today would include those two commas (the general tendency is towards reducing the use of punctuation marks). Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 13:26
  • Thank you so much. By the way, I still have a question. In the above sentence, I don't understand the phrase "make available". What does " make available" mean? And is this phrase used a lot by native speakers? Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 2:51
  • The seller shall make available to the buyer these documents has almost no connection to "normal English" - it's an extreme example of legal gobbledygook, completely irrelevant to the needs of people learning English today. I can't be bothered to explain the syntactic constructions, but what it means is that the seller is legally obliged to give those documents to the buyer (or if not actually give the original documents away, seller must at least allow the buyer to examine those documents thoroughly, to satisfy himself that they are in fact valid). Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 2:59
  • so Do you have another phrase to replace "make available" in the above sentence ? Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 12:38
  • Absolutely! The seller shall furnish the buyer with... is far more common, and for most purposes means exactly the same thing. But note that this is "legalese" - it may or may not have been tested and established in court that make available can include only allowing the other party to see, verify, and return some documents, whereas furnish must allow the other party to keep them. But I'm not a lawyer! :) Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


There is a comma after ‘as appropriate’ because it is a relative clause. ‘as appropriate’ means ‘when it would be reasonable to do so’.


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