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contract vs. agreement in English

English translation: Vertrag vs. Vereinbarung

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18:55 Jun 4, 2001
German to English translations [Non-PRO]
Law/Patents
German term or phrase: contract vs. agreement in English
With respect to the translation of the German term "Vertrag", what is the legal and/or etymological basis for the use of either "contract" or "agreement" in English? Any help to resolve this nagging question appreciated!

PS I will respond to previous answers when window of opportunity appears!
michael grunwald
English translation:Vertrag vs. Vereinbarung
Explanation:
This is what Black's Law Dictionary has to say with regard to the distinction:

"Contract. ... An agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing. As defined in Restatement, Second, Contracts Section 3: 'A contract is a promise or a set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or the performance of which the law in some way recognizes as a duty.'"

"Agreement. ...A concord of understanding and intention between two or more parties with respect to the effect upon their relative rights and duties, of certain past or future facts or performances ... Although often used as synonymous with 'contract', agreement is a broader term; e.g. an agreement might lack an essential element of a contract."

Apparently, the terms are used almost interchangeably. However, in my experience preferences appear to exist with regard to using one or the other term in certain contexts: e.g. "contract for sale of land"; "contract for sale of goods", "contract for deed", "lease agreement".

Selected response from:

Beate Boudro
United States
Local time: 02:48
Grading comment
Thanks yet again! This job is now finished and client was happy!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
naVertrag vs. VereinbarungBeate Boudro
nabefore OR after vs. after only
Sven Petersson
naVertragsurkunde vs Übereinkommen
Mats Wiman


  

Answers


1 hr
Vertragsurkunde vs Übereinkommen


Explanation:
is one way of defining the difference.
The borderline is blurred though.
In most cases a contract is written and thus 'Urkunde' (there are verbal contracts though). The word agreement does not say so much about the form of 'Übereinkommen', but tells you of its existence.
My best try


    13 Jahre BRD+Stcokholm School of Economics
Mats Wiman
Sweden
Local time: 10:48
Native speaker of: Native in SwedishSwedish
PRO pts in pair: 1498

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
Erik Macki
1 hr
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs
before OR after vs. after only


Explanation:
An unsigned document outlining a possible agreement is a "Contract" but not an "Agreement". After that the document has been duly signed it is still a "Contract" (a signed Contract), but now it is also an "Agreement".

An "Agreement" may also be a verbal agreement. A "Contract" can not be verbal.

"Agreement" is traditionally written with a leading capital in legal texts to stress that all formalities required by the law to make the document valid have been fulfilled.

All above referres to English(UK).

I understand that one in English(US) treats "Contract" and "Agreement" as synonyms.


    Native English(UK) speaker.
Sven Petersson
Sweden
Local time: 10:48
Native speaker of: Native in SwedishSwedish, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1628
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

12 hrs
Vertrag vs. Vereinbarung


Explanation:
This is what Black's Law Dictionary has to say with regard to the distinction:

"Contract. ... An agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing. As defined in Restatement, Second, Contracts Section 3: 'A contract is a promise or a set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or the performance of which the law in some way recognizes as a duty.'"

"Agreement. ...A concord of understanding and intention between two or more parties with respect to the effect upon their relative rights and duties, of certain past or future facts or performances ... Although often used as synonymous with 'contract', agreement is a broader term; e.g. an agreement might lack an essential element of a contract."

Apparently, the terms are used almost interchangeably. However, in my experience preferences appear to exist with regard to using one or the other term in certain contexts: e.g. "contract for sale of land"; "contract for sale of goods", "contract for deed", "lease agreement".




    Black's Law Dictionary
Beate Boudro
United States
Local time: 02:48
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 253
Grading comment
Thanks yet again! This job is now finished and client was happy!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
Kim Metzger: Great info!
29 mins

gcaddy: Contract applies obligatory, agreement - voluntary
5 hrs
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