Source: p 12 and 48, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), O’Sullivan and Hilliard

p 12: In order to work out whether there was a valid off er in our car example, we ask whether it should have appeared to you that I was off ering to sell my car, not whether it was my actual intention to do this. Th is is known as the principle of ‘objective intention’ and is discussed further later. So a party might be bound by a contract even though this is the last thing he intends.

p 48: Even if certain terms of economic or other signifi cance to the parties have not been fi nalised, an objective appraisal of their words and conduct may lead to the conclusion that they did not intend agreement of such terms to be a precondition to a concluded and legally binding agreement...

Googling "intend a contract" produces limited, inconclusive results, but 'intend disrespect' less so. Neither the ODO nor Merriam answers this question definitively.

  • He couldn't have intended a contract anyway - but he might feasibly have intended to be bound by a contract. Nov 2 '14 at 15:31

"Intend" is sometimes used as a transitive verb, that is, it is followed with a noun that is a thing that you want to do or have. The most common example is, "I intended no harm."

Usually, though, it is followed by an infinitive verb. "Bob intended to run to the store", "We intended to complete the project by November." Etc.

As FumbleFingers says, in this case the writer may have intended (!) to mean, "he intended to be bound by a contract" rather than "he intended a contract". Either way the meaning should be clear.


"Thing" can refer to an object or to an action.

Did you eat your pet hamster?

I did no such thing!

"This" has the same superpowers.

... even though this (i.e. being bound by a contract) is the last thing he intends.

The last thing he intends = he has at that moment no intention of doing that thing.

P.S. You can do an ngram search on "intended him no harm|intend no harm" (~ meant him no harm|meant no harm).

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