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Contract Law

Mutual Assent

Traditionally, mutual assent has been described as a "meeting of the minds." This means that the parties involved in a contract must come to an agreement about the particulars of the transaction. Mutual assent is demonstrated by "offer" and "acceptance."

An offer is made when someone proposes an exchange of some sort. "I will sell you my guitar for $400" is an example of an offer. (Advertisements are usually not offers because they lack specific parties.) When the offer is accepted, the parties have mutually assented to enter into a contract.

Both offers and acceptances must be explicit in a contract. The statement "I might sell you my guitar for $400" would be considered an intent to negotiate rather than an actual offer. "Sure, I'll give you $300 for it" or "Yes, if you include the case and some strings" would not be an acceptance because the terms "accepted" are not the terms originally offered; such a statement would be deemed a counter-offer.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court CasesContract Law - What Is A Contract?, Sources Of Contract Law: The Statute Of Frauds, The Uniform Commercial Code