Whether a provision is a condition or a covenant depends upon the intention of the parties as deduced from the language of the contract when read in the light of the surrounding circumstances.1 Conditions, especially if their enforcement will operate as a forfeiture,2 are not favored in construction; and accordingly the tendency of the courts is to treat an ambiguous provision as a covenant, the breach of which can be compensated by damages rather than as a condition the breach of which will operate as a forfeiture of the rights of the parties.3 The fact that the provision is called a condition is not conclusive,4 nor is the use of words which are more appropriate to a condition than to a covenant.5 A provision to the effect that an architect's certificate is to be furnished on performance of a building or construction contract, is not a condition unless it appears from the express words of the contract or by nec-essary implication from the words which are used that it was intended as a condition:6

26 For a discussion of the rights of the parties under such provisions, see:

Georgia. Volunteer State Life Ins. Co. v. Spratling, 148 6a. 687, 98 S. E. 464.

Iowa. Highland v. Iowa Life Ins. Co., - la. - , 171 N. W. 587.

Missouri. Cooper v. New York Life Ins. Co.. - Mo. - , 211 S. W. 648.

North Carolina. Underwood v. Jefferson Standard Life Ins. Co., 177 N. Car. 327. 08 S. . 832.

Washington. Millar v. Western Union Life Ins. Co., - Wash. - , 180 Pac. 488

Vermont. New York Life Ins. Co. v. Kimball. - Vt. - , 106 Atl. 676.

27 United States v. O'Brien, 220 U. S. 321, 55 L. ed. 481; Berry v. Humphreys, 76 W. Va. 668, 86 S. E. 568.

28 Berry v. Humphreys, 76 W. Va. 668, 86 S. E. 568.

29 Earnshaw v. Whittemore, 104 Mass. 187, 80 N. E. 520; R. H. White Co. v. Remick, 108 Mass. 41, 84 N. E. 113.

1 United States. Mercantile Trust Co. v. Hensey, 205 U. S. 298, 51 L. ed. 811 [affirming, Mercantile Trust Co. v. Hensey, 27 D. C. App. 210]; Green County v. Quinlan, 211 U. S. 582, 53 L. ed. 335; Quinlan v. Green County, 157 Fed. 33, 84 C. C. A. 537.

California. Diepenbrock v. Luiz. 150 Cal. 716, L. R. A. 1015C, 234, 115 Pac. 743.

Illinois. Harley v. Sanitary District, 226 III. 218, 80 N. E. 771.

New Jersey. Mackenzie v. Trustees, 67 N. J. Eq. 652, 3 L. R. A. (N.S.) 227, 61 Atl. 1027.

North Carolina. Braddy v. Elliott, 146 N. Car. 578, 16 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1121, 60 S. E. 507.

Oklahoma. Paraffine Oil Co. v. Cruce, - Okla. - , 162 Pac. 716.

Rhode Island. Perkins v. Kirby, 35 R. I. 84, 85 Atl. 648.

West Virginia. Carper v. United Fuel Gas Co., 78 W. Va. 433, L. R. A. 1917A, 171,89 S. E. 12.

2 See Sec. 2054.

The rule that a covenant is to be preferred to a condition in construction is not an arbitrary rule, but it is merely a rule which is intended to give effect to the actual intention of the parties. The entire instrument and the surrounding circumstances may show that the provision was intended to be a condition rather than a covenant.7 If a covenant would be burdensome while a condition would give effect to the intention of the parties, the provision will be treated as a condition.8 A provision by which the lessee of oil land agrees to drill a well in a specified time or to pay a specified rental in case he does not do so, will not be treated as equivalent to a covenant to use delay in developing such land so as to benefit the lessor.9 If, on the other hand, a given provision will leave the rights of one of the parties unprotected, unless it is construed as a condition, such effect will be given to it,10 on the theory that a contract will, if possible, be construed as reasonable.11

3 United States. Mercantile Trust Co. v. Hensey, 205 U. S. 298, 51 L. ed. 811 [affirming, Mercantile Trust Co. v. Hensey, 27 D. C. App. 210]; Green County v. Quinlan, 211 U. S. 582, 53 L. ed. 335; Quinlan v. Green County, 157 Fed. 33, 84 C. C. A. 537.

California. Diepenbrock v. Luiz, 159 Cal. 716, L. R. A. 1915C, 234, 115 Pac. 743.

New Jersey. Mackenzie v. Trustees, 67 N. J. Eq. 652, 3 L. R. A. (N.S.) 227, 61 Atl. 1027.

North Carolina. Braddy v. Elliott, 14G N. Car. 578, 16 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1121, CO S. E. 507.

4 Green County v. Quinlan, 211 U. S. 5S2, 53 L. ed. 335; Quinlan v. Green County, 157 Fed. 33, 84 C. C. A. 537.

"It is not conclusive that the obligation thus imposed upon the railroad company is called a condition. It frequently has been the case that the word condition has been used in written instruments in a looser and broader sense than the law attaches to it. In ascertaining the true meaning of instruments in writing, courts do not confine their attention to single words, phrases, or sentences. The meaning is sought from the whole instrument, viewed in the light of the subject with which it deals. This general rule of interpretation often makes it manifest that that which is called a condition is really but a covenant or agreement, to be performed independently of the counter-obligation with which it is associated. When such an intent is discovered the courts have no difficulty in giving it effect, though the result be to disregard the technical meaning of the word condition. Stanley v. Colt, 72 U. S. (5 Wall.) 119, 18 L. ed. 502; Sohier v. Trinity Church, 109 Mass. 1; Episcopal City Mission v. Appleton, 117 Mass. 326; Cassidy v. Mason, 171 Mass. 507; Clapp v. Wilder, 176 Mass. 332; Post v. Weil, 115 N. Y. 361; Clark v. Martin, 40 Pa. St. 289; Wat-rous v. Allen, 57 Mich. 362; Scoville v. McMahon, 62 Conn. 378; Hartung v. Witte, 59 Wis. 285"; Green County v. Quinlan, 211 U. S. 582, 53 L. ed. 335.

5 Mackenzie v. Trustees, 67 N. J. Eq. 652, 3 L. R. A. (N.S.) 227, 61 Atl. 1027.

6 United States. Mercantile Trust Co. v. Hensey, 205 U. S. 298, 51 L. ed. 811 [affirming, Mercantile Trust Co. v. Hensey, 27 D. C. App. 210]; Central Trust Co. v. Louisville, St. L. & T. Ry. Co., 70 Fed. 282.