The Textual Canons in Contract Cases: A Preliminary Study

30 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2022 Last revised: 4 Jan 2023

See all articles by Ethan J. Leib

Ethan J. Leib

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: November 10, 2022


This Essay is a first effort to explore how linguistic canons function in contract cases. Most lawyers know about ejusdem generis, expressio unius, and noscitur a sociis from their work in statutory interpretation, but no one has attempted any systematic inquiry into how these canons figure in contract interpretation. Looking at two jurisdictions’ use of textual canons in contract cases over time and in careful detail, this Essay reports findings and offers preliminary conclusions, about the specific jurisdictions under review and more generally in a comparative vein, both inter-jurisdictionally and as compared to what we know about the same canons’ use within practices of statutory interpretation.

Keywords: Ejusdem generis, noscitur a socs, expressio unius, inclusio unius

Suggested Citation

Leib, Ethan J., The Textual Canons in Contract Cases: A Preliminary Study (November 10, 2022). 2022 Wisconsin Law Review 1109, Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4274248, Available at SSRN:

Ethan J. Leib (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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