Use Must to Indicate Requirements/PEN/NPR
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WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS


Use "Must" To Indicate Requirements


[checkmark]The word "must" is the clearest way to convey to your readers that they have to do something.

[LETTER BUTTON]"Expressing Requirements In Your Letters"


"Shall" is one of those officious and obsolete words that has encumbered legal style writing for many years. The message that "shall" sends to the reader is, "this is deadly material."   "Shall" is also obsolete; when was the last time you heard it used in everyday speech?

Besides being outdated,"shall" is imprecise. It can indicate either an obligation or a prediction. Dropping "shall" is a major step in making your document more reader friendly. Don't be intimidated by the argument that using "must" will lead to a lawsuit. Many agencies already use the word "must" to convey obligations with no adverse legal effects.

You can avoid "shall" by substituting "must" to indicate an obligation or "will" to indicate that an action will occur in the future. Be careful to consider which meaning you intend to communicate to your readers.


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Section 5511.1   Free Use of Timber on Oil and Gas Leases

(a) Any oil or gas lessee who wishes to use timber for fuel in drilling operations shall file an application therefor with the officer who issued the lease.

(b) The applicant shall be notified by registered mail in all cases where the permit applied for is not granted, and shall be given 30 days within which to appeal such decision.

(c) Where the land is occupied by a settler, the applicant shall serve notice on the settler by registered mail showing the amount and kind of timber he has applied for.

Section 5511.1   Can I use the timber on my oil or gas lease for fuel?

You must file an application to use the timber on your oil or gas lease for fuel. File the application with our office where you got your lease.

Section 5511.12   Will you notify me if you reject my application?

Our agency will notify you by registered mail if we reject your application. You must file an appeal of that decision within 30 days.

Section 5511.13   Must I notify anyone that I have applied for use of the timber?

You must notify any settler, by registered mail, that you have applied to use timber from your lease. Include in your notice:

(a)  The amount of timber you applied for; and


(b)  The kind of timber you applied for.


Use "must" to make clear that the reader is required to perform a certain action.

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