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.
In order to be negotiable a contract must possess certain elements.1 It must be in writing. If in writing, lead-pencil is sufficient though not to be commended.2 Since a negotiable contract must pass either by delivery or by indorsement and delivery, an oral negotiable contract is an impossibility.3 As will be shown in the following sections, no part of a negotiable contract can be oral. Whatever validity an incomplete written contract may have, it is impossible that it be negotiable.4 However, it has been held that where a bill or note does not show where it is to be paid, an oral agreement fixing the place of payment may be shown for the purpose of proving such demand as will bind the drawer and the indorser.5 The surrounding circumstances may, however, serve to explain words which would otherwise be indefinite. Thus where a note is made payable "twenty five after date," the surrounding circumstances may be resorted to in order to show that "days " is the word omitted.6