This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
To make a contract sufficiently definite it is not necessary that the terms be all expressly set forth in unambiguous language. A contract whose meaning can be ascertained by the ordinary rules of construction is sufficiently definite,1 although it is poorly drawn and with more words than the ideas require.2 If a contract may have two meanings, one of which will make it indefinite, and the other of which will make it definite, the latter meaning is to be given to it3 The fact that a contract contains inconsistent provisions does not make the contract invalid, if the court can determine, by the application of the rules of construction to which provision effect shall be given.4
28 Alderton v. Williams, 139 Mich. 296, 102 N. W. .753.
29 Pennsylvania Co. v. Dolan, 6 Ind. App. 109, 51 Am. St. Rep. 289, 32 N. E. 802; Sax v. Ry., 125 Mich. 252, 84 Am. St. Rep. 572, 84 N. W. 314; Harrington v. Ry., 60 Mo. App. 223. But in Louisville, etc., R. R. v. Offutt, 99 Ky. 427, 59 Am. St. Rep. 467, 36 S. W. 181, such a contract was held so indefinite that either party might terminate it at any time.
30 Smith v. Crum Lynne Iron & Steel Co., 208 Pa. St. 462, 57 Atl. 953.
31 McMullan v. Dickinson Co., 63 Minn. 405, 65 N. W. 661, 663.
32 Carter, etc., Co. v. Kinlin, 47 Neb. 409, 66 X. W. 536.
33 Raymond v. White, 119 Mich. 438, 78 N. W. 469.
34 Eisel v. Hayes, 141 Ind. 41, 40 N. E. 119.
35 Ryan v. Hamilton, 205 111. 191, 68 N. E. 781.
36 Gallagher v. Equitable Gaslight Co., 141 Cal. 699, 75 Ac. 329.
1 Colorado. Henderson v. Spratlen, 44 Colo. 278, 19 L. R. A. (N.S.) 655, 98 Ac. 14.
An offer which apparently imposes no liability upon the adversary party, but which appears to bind the promisor to pay or perform in case the promisee chooses to accept such promise by performing an act, is very frequently construed as calling for a promise on the part of the promisee to perform the act which is stipulated in the offer as the consideration.5 In many of the cases in which this result is reached, this rule of construction is in most cases in accordance with the actual intention of the parties.6 An offer by A to B to buy all of a certain article that B could deliver, has been construed as calling for a promise on the part of B to use reasonable diligence in procuring such article; and when B accepts such offer, it is said that such contract is sufficiently definite, that it has been accepted in accordance with the terms of the offer, and that a consideration exists.7 If A offers to do certain work for B for a certain price, such offer undoubtedly calls for a promise on the part of B to pay such price; and when B accepts A's offer, a contract exists.8 In such a case, therefore, A can not have such contract reformed by setting forth B's promise in so many words, since this is the legal effect of such contract without reformation.9