Sep 20, 2013

"For All Intensive Purposes"

by Marsha Ward

I came across a misused English language phrase that had me figuratively rolling on the floor with laughter, so I didn't even have to worry about the Curmudgeon escaping to write about it. I could handle this one myself.

A letter was sent by a corporation to someone who had suggested fixes to an error-laden roll-out of an "improved version" of a mega-huge service used by millions of disappointed people across the globe.

The letter stated that the old service was broken, for all intensive purposes, which necessitated the new version (even though it was not working correctly in many areas, nor was functioning for many people, due to software usage that wasn't compatible for visually impaired persons, and the like). They refused to beta test it, you see, claiming it wouldn't be "new" if folks saw it beforehand.

While the letter writer was right that the old system had been cobbled together from various other services purchased over the years, and a re-do was several years overdue, the phrase that set me off, howling with laughter, was "for all intensive purposes."

Oh my gosh! That is a rare one. Hoo ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! "For all intensive purposes". Ho ho, ha, ha, hahahahahahahahahaha! HA! Hahaha!

[pausing to wipe eyes and attempt to get control of self]

Hee-hee, um, ho-ho, hahahahahaha!

"For all intents and purposes."

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh my gosh. Don't send out a corporate letter to hundreds of people, maybe millions, if you don't use the language correctly. Ha ha ha ha ha!


  1. I could care less if they did. Er, uh, I mean, I couldn't care less? There are so many phrases that people get wrong, but this is a new one that I haven't heard. Thanks for lifting my spirits!

    1. You're welcome! I needed to laugh, and that helped.

  2. Replies
    1. Tragically funny, but yes, very humorous.

    2. WHAT! AHAHAHAHA! Thanks for sharing that one Marsha. I had a friend also share some funny copy edit fails from a local paper. I'll see if I can get them forwarded to you. It makes me a bit paranoid knowing that I make some of these mistakes. hugs~

  3. This is actually a really common mistake. So common that Hank Green made fun of it several years ago, it's been addressed by almost every large-scale grammar blog/website (including the super-intelligent folks over at Urban Dictionary who acknowledge it is "nonsense"), and a popular TV show made fun of people who said it a couple years ago.

    (Based on a quick glance, verifying the dates of these things, this "all intensive purposes" joke was quite the rage in 2010)

  4. The other day I saw a truck advertising a restaurant which caters. The sign read: Cater (as in caterer). I considered going to the restaurant just to tell them they should fire their sign-maker.


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