All Intensive Purposes

by Kim Taylor

I know what you’re thinking … it’s all intents and purposes You’re right; it is.  But, if you’re one of the students James Courter refers to in his Wall Street Journal piece, you might – like I did a few years back –mistake the two.

Courter blames students’ lack of reading for some of these hilarious gaffes:

Except, the reality is, they’re not so hilarious.  And, they made me think immediately of a blog post I wrote a couple months ago about Florida’s FCAT dilemma.  But, here’s the thing.  I’m well-read and college-educated, but somewhere along the lines of life I heard (or misheard) the phrase “all intents and purposes” (first coined in 1546, by the way) and it stuck.  I used it incorrectly until I was finally corrected by a friend—it’s still a joke between us today.

The point is, FCATs aren’t the answer; reading isn’t the answer; and, writing isn’t the answer.  They are all the answer.  But, thanks for the laugh, Mr. Courter.

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