In one form or another a dozen cynics have voiced the sentiment that "speech exists to conceal thoughts." Perhaps because language is too intimately integrated with their livelihood, the lawyers have not generally admitted the assertion. However, in the interpretation of written instruments their brethren on the bench have at times so far disregarded the literal meaning of the words under consideration that one must suspect they secretly approve.
Promissory notes "payable on demand" furnish an illustration. Many cases testify that the true intention of the maker is to create an obligation due immediately and that an action to collect it may be instituted without a prior demand. If the demand is not made, nor action instituted within the statutory period from the date of the instrument, the claim will be barred.
Orrin B. Evans,
THE MATURITY OF CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT AND PROMISSORY NOTES PAYABLE ON DEMAND,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol37/iss3/3