from time to time

English translation: This is clearly intentional, as shown by numerous respectable seeming contracts/terms & conditions

17:10 Oct 23, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Law (general)
English term or phrase: from time to time
At first sight it seems to be clear what "from time to time" means, i.e. a) occassionally, intermittently (OED), b) occassionally, bot not regularly (OAL), c) on occasion/at intervals (Webster's).

However, in legal contexts these meansings seem unappropriate to me. Unfortunately, "from time to time" is quite often used in legal documents and I'd like to know how native speakers would interpret a sentence like this:

Any sum that becomes payable and is not duly paid shall bear interest at a rate of 1% from time to time from the due date to the acutal date of payment.

In this context "occassionally" doesn't make much sense to me. In case of non-payment or late payment interest becomes due (from the due date to the acutal date of payment). That's clear. How would you paraphrase or explain "from time to time" in this context?

Thank you in advance!
innsbruck
English translation:This is clearly intentional, as shown by numerous respectable seeming contracts/terms & conditions
Explanation:
using exactly this wording.

"For Account Customers
Company standard terms of payment are thirty (30) days from the date of our invoice. Payment is to be made to the bank account nominated by Company. Should Customer fail to pay Company any sum due pursuant to the Agreement,
interest shall accrue on the outstanding amounts at the rate of 2% per annum above the base lending rate of Bank of Scotland plc

from time to time, from the due date for payment until the outstanding amount (together with accrued interest) is paid.

http://www.rgitmontrose.com/course-terms.html

"4.2 The Reseller shall pay such invoices within 30 days of the date of such invoice ("due date"). If the Reseller fails to pay such invoices on the due date, without prejudice to CentralNic's rights under clause 5.2.2, CentralNic shall be entitled to charge interest (both before and after judgment) on the amount unpaid at the rate of 3% above the base rate for sterling of HSBC Bank plc

from time to time from the due date until the date of payment in full.

http://www.centralnic.com/resellers/terms

and a great many other respectably worded contracts/agreements to be found by searching on "time to time from the due date".

I suggest that it is likely that "from time to time" is 'at intervals', and that the intervals are the normal payment period the company allows - ie: if payment is due within X days, and not paid, 1% interest is due, and if payment is not due within a further X days, a further 1% is due, etc.
Hopefully X is stated in the contract.


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Note added at 1 hr 11 mins (2004-10-23 18:21:24 GMT)
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As in the above examples, and other similar agreements.

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Note added at 1 hr 24 mins (2004-10-23 18:34:44 GMT)
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I agree that 1% is too low to be a likely annual rate of interest

(in an agreement like:

\"We reserve the right to charge interest at the rate of 4% per annum above the base rate of Barclays Bank plc from time to time, from the due date until the date of actual payment, whether before or after judgement on any sum due under this Contract.\"

in: http://www.visit4info.com/advertisers_terms.html

where because the rate of interest is annual, it isn\'t necessarily important to set the precise intervals that the interest is added.

This raises a possibility of a different mistake.
If the time interval isn\'t stated somewhere in the contract, it\'s possible that it ought to have said:

\"Any sum that becomes payable and is not duly paid shall bear interest at a rate of 1% [per annum above the base rate of Barclays Bank plc, etc] from time to time from the due date to the acutal date of payment\".

I suggest one or the other of these is likely.


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Note added at 1 hr 34 mins (2004-10-23 18:44:04 GMT)
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Preferably the first, but the second is there to fall back on if the Asker needs to.

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Note added at 1 hr 42 mins (2004-10-23 18:52:26 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I prefer the first, because no change in wording would be necessary.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 57 mins (2004-10-23 20:07:23 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(typo.
ahem, the last bit of my first and preferred explanation should read:
\"I suggest that it is likely that \"from time to time\" is \'at intervals\', and that the intervals are the normal payment period the company allows - ie: if payment is due within X days, and not paid, 1% interest is due, and if payment is not MADE within a further X days, a further 1% is due, etc.
Hopefully X is stated in the contract.\" )
Selected response from:

DGK T-I
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:29
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone for answering! Dr. Giuli Kvrivishvili und Hamo are right, there's no mistake in the original and yes, interest is payable quarterly (as I read a few pages later), so "from time to time" makes perfect sense! Thanks again!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +8This is clearly intentional, as shown by numerous respectable seeming contracts/terms & conditions
DGK T-I
4 +1a mistake in your original
Alexander Demyanov
4 +1omit entirely!
David Knowles
3frequency of compounding
Roddy Stegemann


  

Answers


27 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
omit entirely!


Explanation:
It doesn't make sense in this context. The interest rate of 1% is very low, so it may not be an annual rate, but the clause is entirely unclear.

The only way it can be made to make sense is to say "from the time of the due date to the time of the actual payment"

David Knowles
Local time: 05:29
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Trada inc.: yes, the 1% is probably calculated monthly, the text should specify that
15 mins
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28 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a mistake in your original


Explanation:
It's possible that your original document was converted from a table, an Excel file, or some other format. Then "from time" and "to time" could be column headings or some other titles inserted into the sentence by some technical mistake or software error.

Alternatively, the author just lost his/her though while writing the document.

A normal sentence would read just "...at a rate of 1% [starting] from the due date..."


Alexander Demyanov
Local time: 00:29
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Cormac Bracken: The Excel comment headings is a smart suggestion...
22 mins
  -> Thank you.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
This is clearly intentional, as shown by numerous respectable seeming contracts/terms & conditions


Explanation:
using exactly this wording.

"For Account Customers
Company standard terms of payment are thirty (30) days from the date of our invoice. Payment is to be made to the bank account nominated by Company. Should Customer fail to pay Company any sum due pursuant to the Agreement,
interest shall accrue on the outstanding amounts at the rate of 2% per annum above the base lending rate of Bank of Scotland plc

from time to time, from the due date for payment until the outstanding amount (together with accrued interest) is paid.

http://www.rgitmontrose.com/course-terms.html

"4.2 The Reseller shall pay such invoices within 30 days of the date of such invoice ("due date"). If the Reseller fails to pay such invoices on the due date, without prejudice to CentralNic's rights under clause 5.2.2, CentralNic shall be entitled to charge interest (both before and after judgment) on the amount unpaid at the rate of 3% above the base rate for sterling of HSBC Bank plc

from time to time from the due date until the date of payment in full.

http://www.centralnic.com/resellers/terms

and a great many other respectably worded contracts/agreements to be found by searching on "time to time from the due date".

I suggest that it is likely that "from time to time" is 'at intervals', and that the intervals are the normal payment period the company allows - ie: if payment is due within X days, and not paid, 1% interest is due, and if payment is not due within a further X days, a further 1% is due, etc.
Hopefully X is stated in the contract.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 11 mins (2004-10-23 18:21:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

As in the above examples, and other similar agreements.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 24 mins (2004-10-23 18:34:44 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I agree that 1% is too low to be a likely annual rate of interest

(in an agreement like:

\"We reserve the right to charge interest at the rate of 4% per annum above the base rate of Barclays Bank plc from time to time, from the due date until the date of actual payment, whether before or after judgement on any sum due under this Contract.\"

in: http://www.visit4info.com/advertisers_terms.html

where because the rate of interest is annual, it isn\'t necessarily important to set the precise intervals that the interest is added.

This raises a possibility of a different mistake.
If the time interval isn\'t stated somewhere in the contract, it\'s possible that it ought to have said:

\"Any sum that becomes payable and is not duly paid shall bear interest at a rate of 1% [per annum above the base rate of Barclays Bank plc, etc] from time to time from the due date to the acutal date of payment\".

I suggest one or the other of these is likely.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 34 mins (2004-10-23 18:44:04 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Preferably the first, but the second is there to fall back on if the Asker needs to.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 42 mins (2004-10-23 18:52:26 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I prefer the first, because no change in wording would be necessary.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 57 mins (2004-10-23 20:07:23 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(typo.
ahem, the last bit of my first and preferred explanation should read:
\"I suggest that it is likely that \"from time to time\" is \'at intervals\', and that the intervals are the normal payment period the company allows - ie: if payment is due within X days, and not paid, 1% interest is due, and if payment is not MADE within a further X days, a further 1% is due, etc.
Hopefully X is stated in the contract.\" )

DGK T-I
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:29
Specializes in field
PRO pts in category: 50
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone for answering! Dr. Giuli Kvrivishvili und Hamo are right, there's no mistake in the original and yes, interest is payable quarterly (as I read a few pages later), so "from time to time" makes perfect sense! Thanks again!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio
5 mins
  -> Hello Ruth :-)

agree  nlingua
1 hr

agree  Pawel Gromek
2 hrs

agree  Lisa Russell
7 hrs

agree  Tony M: Absolutely! One should never assume a mistake on the part of the Author until all other avenues have been explored... Nice research. Doc!
14 hrs
  -> Hello Dusty :-)

agree  Grace Anderson
22 hrs

agree  jebeen
1 day 9 hrs

agree  chopra_2002
1 day 16 hrs
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30 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
frequency of compounding


Explanation:
Each time interest is charged, it is added to the principal. Thus, a 1% charge on what ever is outstanding increases over time. The exact frequency with which the charge is made can vary according to the stipulations of the contract. For example, it could be monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. That the 1% charg is "from time to time" suggests strongly that it is not compounded continuously.


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Note added at 31 mins (2004-10-23 17:41:46 GMT)
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Disclaimer: My full use of this and other forums has been restricted for reasons unknown, so please forgive my lack of direct support for answers offered by other contributors and critical assessment of non-contributors who are misleading and/or abusive.



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Note added at 35 mins (2004-10-23 17:45:56 GMT)
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It is difficult for me to believe that a lawyer with expertise in commercial law would insert the phrase \"from time to time\" haphazardly, as others have suggested. Of course, not everyone who writes contracts is an expert in his field....

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Note added at 7 hrs 20 mins (2004-10-24 00:30:02 GMT)
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Thank you, Dr. Giuli, for your confirmation!

Roddy Stegemann
United States
Local time: 21:29
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
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