Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 21 – Sign vs Execute

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie

Sign vs Execute



Today we look at the difference between sign and execute.

Sign simply means to affix or put your signature to something, eg:

  • Please sign here.

Execute is a process which means to sign with all the formalities like witnesses, stamping or delivering, eg:

  • The parties executed the agreement in my office.
  • The Managing Director will execute the deed next week.
  • IN WITNESS WHEREOF the parties have executed this agreement as of the date set forth above.
  • The deed was executed before the notary.

Many other languages do not make a distinction between sign and execute, so execute will nearly always be translated into your language as sign (sottoscrivere; sottoscrivere debitamente).

Remember, if you want to ask someone to perform the action of putting their signature to a document, then the order is not execute, eg:

  • Please sign above the line (Not: Please execute above the line).
  • Please write your name and surname legibly (non si usa “sign” per dire “firma leggibile”).

Execute also has 2 other meanings in Legal English

Execute (perform)

Execute is used to mean do/perform the obligations of a contact. It means to fulfill (adempiere) what the contact foresees, eg:

  • This agreement requires parties to execute their contractual undertakings (impegni) by 31 March.
  • She was unable to execute (rispettare) the terms of the contract.

Execute (put to death – giustiziare)

Execute is used to mean put to death, eg:

  • A prisoner on Death Row will be executed in accordance with their sentence.

Thank you very much and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your Legal English!

There is no extra reading to share with you this time concerning sign and make, so enjoy some “Lawyer Jokes” here: “101 Lawyer Jokes So Funny You Just Can’t Object to Them“.

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