Sec. 17. In General

Certain elements are required by law to be present in any instrument, as essential to negotiability. While it cannot be said that there are any particular words, exclusively necessary to express these elements, adherence to forms approved by usage is highly desirable.

The law provides that an instrument to be negotiable (1) Must be in writing and signed by the maker or drawer;

(2) Must obtain an unconditional promise or order to pay a sum certain in money;

(3) Must be payable on demand, or at a fixed or determinable future time;

(4) Must be payable to order or to bearer;

(5) Where the instrument is addressed to a drawee, he must be named or otherwise indicated therein with reasonable certainty." 9

The negotiability of an instrument is indicated by the inclusion of the elements above prescribed. They are elements whose existence is shown by the form of the language used. That language must be definite and unconditional. It is by the form that the intention of the issuer to issue paper that shall be negotiable is made manifest. Therefore while it is true that "the instrument need not follow the language of this act, but any terms are sufficient which clearly indicate an intention to conform to the requirements hereof"10 still inasmuch as such instruments are intended to circulate much as money does, their negotiable quality ought to be indicated in a manner beyond doubt; therefore, the simpler the form, and the closer it corresponds to approved usage, the better. As it has been said: "By the law merchant and the statutes of the state in aid thereof, negotiable instruments occupy a highly useful and valuable place in the commerce and business of our people. There is no other form of contract known that in so few words may contain so many well understood and thoroughly established legal rights and liabilities."11

9. Nego. Instru. Act, SEC. 1.

The various requisites may now be discussed.