Terms and Conditions – What is the Difference?

Everyone is very familiar with hearing the words” terms” and “conditions” associated with contracts and other legal documents.…

Everyone is very familiar with hearing the words” terms” and “conditions” associated with contracts and other legal documents. Usually people assume they know what this means and pay very little attention to them. They are the fine print and while you should read it closely before you sign or agree to anything, very few people ever do. It seems that when you read “terms and conditions” you assume that they are synonymous, but if this is the case then the phrase uses redundant words.

Just about every major purchase you make comes with a warranty of some sort that has a list of terms and conditions. If you read closely you will see that it the document actually protects the manufacturer because the terms and conditions of the warranty include list of events that would make the warranty invalid. The consumer has to make sure that he does not misuse the product in any way and does use it as suggested.

It is important to understand that “terms” and “conditions” are two separate words and they have different meanings. Terms are the things you agree to do when you sign a contract or other document. Conditions, on the other hand, are things that must be in place before the transaction can be concluded successfully.

The easiest way to provide an example to show the difference between the two words is to discuss then in the light of a property offer. Most of the information on such a document sets out the terms of the transaction and there are only a few, if any, conditions for the buyer to abide by. The buyer agrees to purchase the property for a set amount of money and the seller agrees to this price. These are the terms.

Conditions on such a transaction would include such things as having the seller agree to a home inspection or provide a survey of the property. There may also be a condition regarding financing, so that if the buyer’s financial institution does not agree to lend the needed amount of money, the buyer is allowed to back out of the deal. The buyer usually has to exercise due diligence in such a transaction and verify all the important details to make sure that everything is in order before completing the sale.



  1. “Terms” and “conditions” are often seen as synonymous, but they have very different meanings.
  2. Terms are the conditions that both sides of a transaction agree to complete.
  3. Conditions can be different according to the situation and can be included in the deal at any time.


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