Open main menu

Wiktionary β

Talk:for all intensive purposes

RFV discussionEdit

This entry has survived Wiktionary's verification process.

Please do not re-nominate for verification without comprehensive reasons for doing so.

This issue started with the addition of the phrase "for all intensive purposes" to the "alternative form" section of for all intents and purposes. When it was then removed, a new article was created, for all intensive purposes, to bolster the position of the contributor, who then re-added the incorrect variant to the list, complete with internal link.
This "alternative form" is simply an uneducated person's mishearing of the idiom. A malapropism. More precisely referred to as an "eggcorn." The entry for eggcorn lists this very error in its examples. The Wikipedia article for w:eggcorn literally links to the Wiktionary article for all intents and purposes illustrating the common error. We cannot have articles linking to illustrative errors, only to find the mistake supported here without so much as a usage note! Please see the top three hits on Google: [1] [2] [3]
True, a lot of people are using the incorrect variant -- but the fact that it is common means it should get attention at places like the Eggcorn Database rather than be canonized here as an "alternative form." It seems to me the new article goes against WT:CFI#Misspellings.2C_common_misspellings_and_variant_spellings and WT:CFI#Idiomatic_phrases.
The incorrect variant has to be removed from the main article for all intents and purposes because there is nothing there to differentiate to the reader between wrong and right. It just looks like "another variant you could use." Do we actually make articles with misspellings listed in the variants section? And, the new article for all intensive purposes must be deleted, or at the minimum, it should be changed to # {{misspelling of|[[...]]}}, or simply redirected to the actual phrase.Thisis0 18:07, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Although I may not feel quite as impassioned about this as Thisis0 seems to feel, I certainly agree with his/her point. This is a malapropism, gibberish masquerading as sensible English. In the context of any given usage "for all intents and purposes" will likely mean something, but, if "for all intensive purposes" is pasted into that usage in its place, the odds are slim to to none that it will mean anything. -- WikiPedant 18:24, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I too, am not particularly impassioned about this entry, I have heard it and said it, here in the US. The American use of "intensive" as an intensifier makes this a very natural US variant. While "the odds are slim to none that is will mean anything" in British English, the opposite is true in the US, where the archaic "intents" form is more likely to be hyper-corrected. is not Wikipedia; when such obvious (very) widespread use exists, it is beyond naive to not list it. To list either entry without the mention of the other (and the relevant warnings) would be irresponsible. (So, is this a spillover edit war from Wikipedia?) --Connel MacKenzie 18:54, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
No spillover from Wikipedia. However, good job -- this is now a spillover from your own ongoing British-US culture war. Why do you play that card so often? Furthermore, why are you playing the U.S. card in the sense that you are proud to be wrong. (You say you have heard the incorrect variant and used it.) I am American. Born and bred. As such, I feel strongly in asking that you do not tarnish our standing further by waving our flag for ignorance and always taking every chance to point out our differences. This especially applies here, where the truth is the same on both sides of the ocean. One phrase is correct; the other is and always will be a mistake. You make a good point about including it to prevent misuse. Go ahead and list the relevant warnings on for all intents and purposes, and leave the UK stuff out of the article at for all intensive purposes.--Thisis0 19:34, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
You can assert that you are American - if justified a CU check could show if you are, or just another British contributor pretending to be American (wouldn't be the first time this week.) At this point, I would say that it is not justified though - you could be from a region where this is (conceivably) unacceptable. So then, are you suggesting that intensive itself is not an intensifier? Or are you suggesting that your "prescriptivism" applies to set phrases? This has an astonishing number of b.g.c. hits; publishers do not agree with you. For all the things that Wiktionary has that really is falsely listing errors as valid, this one case is very much the opposite. The pedants have it quite wrong. Not by some small margin (as is usually the case for contested terms on Wiktionary,) but rather, by a mile. The etymological origin of the phrase has been overshadowed by popular use. That is the simplistic basis for all "descriptivism" (which I normally decry.) --Connel MacKenzie 18:29, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
While I don't agree with the claim that "for all intensive purposes" can never be correct, I really don't think it's currently correct in Standard English. Arguments to be made include: arguments from etymology (I think we can all agree that whatever the current status of "for all intensive purposes", it originated from a misunderstanding of "for all intents and purposes"), from meaning (looking through Google and b.g.c. hits, it seems that people who write "for all intensive purposes" nonetheless mean "for all intents and purposes", though it's hard to be sure), and from frequency (google:"for all intensive purposes" -"intents and" gets about 6% the hits that google:"for all intents and purposes" -"intensive" does, and google books:"for all intensive purposes" -"intents and" gets about 15% the hits that google books:"for all intents and purposes" -"intensive" does). Taken together with the various authorities that proscribe "for all intensive purposes", I think we have convincing reason to label it nonstandard. —RuakhTALK 19:39, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
By the way, I do not object to marking it as {{nonstandard}} - you do make a good case for doing so. That is what we have a References section for. --Connel MacKenzie 19:03, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree. It really is just garbled English that has become widespread in the North American vernacular. Numerous Google hits don't make it standard, any more than the 98,000 or hits for "asterick" or the roughly 170,000 for "asterik" make those terms legitimate alternative spellings of "asterisk." The wedding and car stereo handbooks and electrical engineering texts now cited on the page just provide evidence of the popularity of the error. I have no problem with maintaining an entry for such a widespread usage, but it really should be flagged as the misconstruction that it is. -- WikiPedant 19:58, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Of note: when I said "astonishing number of b.g.c. hits, I am referring to, not There is an enormous difference between editorially reviewed material and completely raw HTML text. --Connel MacKenzie 17:31, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Thisis0/WikiPedant: Change to "misspelling of" (or, better yet, "incorrect for" or "eggcorn for" or some such. Although it is, of course, a misspelling, too, it is easier to see how it's a mispronunciation, or simply an incorrect choice of words, than to see how it's a misspelling: the spelling is not what people erred on, but the pronunciation). —msh210 13:31, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Connel MacKenzie's cites made me redact. —msh210 18:56, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I respect that sentiment of "put up, or shut up." I should provide cites more often, but it is very time-consuming; usually my time is better spent elsewhere. --Connel MacKenzie 19:24, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Although this is bigger than this debate, how about a section "common errors" or "common misspellings" on the correct forms of misspellings entries, that contain unlinked mentions of common errors. For example we have an entry pocker as a common misspelling of poker, should the poker entry mention the common misspelling? I don't think it would harm if it is labelled as incorrect. Likewise here, I think "all intensive purposes" should be listed at all intents and purposes but clearly marked as an error. Thryduulf 21:47, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

It seems mostly pointless to me to list erroneous variants at main entries. The only reason I see for doing so is that listing erroneous variants will make it less controversial to list putatively-erroneous variants. —RuakhTALK 22:02, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Then it is pointless to list anything that isn't listed in all other English dictionaries. That is quite opposite of how has functioned for the past few years. --Connel MacKenzie 18:29, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Re: "Then it is pointless to list anything that isn't listed in all other English dictionaries.": I don't see how. Could you make your trail of thought a bit more explicit? —RuakhTALK 19:39, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, it would be unfair to claim that such a philosophy is mine. When I started contributing at my views were somewhat (!) different. As a result of discussions with a genuine lexicographer, I've learned to apply the concept "inclusion with explanation is better than omission." A significant portion of the content here on this site remains, due to that ideology. To issue a blanket prohibition on an entry because it is an error is (in that light) simply the wrong thing to do. If we were to take that approach, we would need verifiable references pointing to other secondary sources to back up every entry. It follows that if we were to do that, it would not be reasonable to allow bias from one or another regional reference. If that doesn't answer your question, could you restate it more clearly? --Connel MacKenzie 19:03, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Some cites added from the first tiny smidgen of b.g.c. hits. --Connel MacKenzie 18:45, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I've removed some of the POV comments creeping their way back in. It is painfully obvious that this is not rare; the references themselves identify it as "common" or "very common." Ironically, the POV comments seek to prohibit knowledge of why it is so common, a sentiment I find very odd (in the context of recent discussions.) From a British or etymological perspective, this is probably considered an error, but in the US it is a more natural construction (and more emphatic construction) that the dated/archaic "intents" variant. --Connel MacKenzie 17:20, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Also of note is Doremítzwr, as always, pointlessly finding citations for very rare or obsolete, not widely accepted variants. While I agree with him that WT:CFI is obviously broken, his method still seems the wrong way to go about it. --Connel MacKenzie 19:08, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Ok, dude. The cites you provided for your own baby "for all intensive purposes" are all wedding and car stereo handbooks and electrical engineering texts, and it's already been shown how you missed one of the cites used in a different (proper) sense. Why bitch against the other guy plentifully citing similar erroneous phrases. You said yourself that this stuff should be here to prevent misuse. Why bitch -- cause it wasn't your idea? -- Thisis0 19:26, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
What I’m doing has the chief intention of showing you just how much this phrase gets mangled — often by people who are adamant that their malapropistic form is the correct one (usually due to ignorance, but sometimes due to a weird pride in being different, however wrong; behaviour which, if I may say so, you have been exhibiting in regard to this (true, common) malapropism) — and just how many people object to such mangling. Whilst my personal view is that these various errors should be given redirect entries point to for all intents and purposes, where they can be documented as common malformations, WT:CFI being what it is, they are instead given their own entries (which is better than their being left unmentioned — as you said hereinbefore: “inclusion with explanation is better than omission”). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 19:21, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, it doesn't make sense to claim that "for all intents and purposes" is "dated/archaic" in the U.S.: google:site:gov "for all intents and purposes" gets more than 300 times the hits that google:site:gov "for all intensive purposes" does. (Using site:us instead, the difference is less dramatic, but it's still a more-than-fifty-fold difference.) Secondly, while it's true that "for all intensive purposes" isn't terribly rare on an absolute scale (getting almost as many Google hits as "supercalifragilistic"), it's very rare compared to "for all intents and purposes". Thirdly, note that "for all intents and purposes" is actually more emphatic than "for all intensive purposes", since "all intents and purposes" includes absolutely all purposes, including even intensive ones. (Though that's actually pretty irrelevant, since I don't think anyone ever chooses between the two expressions; "for all intensive purposes" exists only for those who don't know the correct form.) —RuakhTALK 19:20, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
The gov sites apparently have filters or proscriptions invalidating them as representative. (Simple statistics of .gov vs. .com demonstrate that. is mainly a sub-set of .gov sites under a different TLD.) The fact that you bring up a point that has already been addressed before indicates your arguments are not in good faith (nor rational.) Your insistent prescription against the common phrase is likewise surreal; calling it "only for those who don't know the correct form" is not only wrong, but unsubstantiated. Language changes and adapts; because "intensive" is a very common colloquial intensifier and the meaning is similar, it fits better in the American version of the phrase. If we are supposed to be showing how something actually is used, it doesn't make sense to prescribe an old-fashioned British way of saying it.
The same old clique rallies to the same old (invalid) defenses, it seems. Doremitzwer, I cited the form I know to be common; we enter idioms for the most common form. While your analysis is interesting, those "manglings" are much less common, rare or unheard-of. As I said above, I added only the first handful I came across on the first page of search results. You entered every historical error ever recorded for each of the others. Which really has relevance to English, particularly Modern English? (No, I do not wish to hear the obtuse arguments about "linguistic Modern English" again; on Wiktionary the convention is to consider items out of use for 100 years as obsolete. For these discussions, I do not consider obsolete terms to be part of modern English.) While yours is an interesting approach, it seem to me to still be intentionally disruptive (as so many other activities of yours have been.) Rather than trying to identify the cause of a genuine linguistic variant, you instead try to push a bizarre prescriptive-POV while at the same time diluting the relevance of the genuine term? Bizarre. --Connel MacKenzie 21:23, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
No way. You, sir, need citations that claim this mistaken group of words "fits better in the American version of the phrase." Are you honestly trying to push the POV that this wrong phrase is the more correct in America? You, lone man, do not get that privilege. I am all-American and I say you are dead wrong. It's not better, it doesn't fit better, it's not more common, it does not make much sense in syntax, and we will not advocate it as such. We will report the truth on what it is in our language. 1.) No, it is not rare. 2.) It did arise from a mishearing of "for all intents and purposes" 3.) "For all intents and purposes" is far, far from obsolete. 4.) Reporting the truth does not ban people from using any phrase they like. This is a language site for goodness' sake. People come to learn things they don't know, not have people blithely tell them what they are already doing. Report the truth, and if you still back the POV that this is better in American, get the citation. We've provided half a dozen American cites that say the original is "better." Oh yea and I'm new -- so much for "same old clique." -- Thisis0 22:28, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
That's an interesting spout of vitriol, yet completely misplaced. I never said "...intensive purposes" should be the preferred entry, I said "...intents and purposes" is likely to be hyper-corrected. Your blathering (was that a threat?) about my response to the very rare forms that a vandal entered with equal status as the common form is just bizarre. Your comments way near the top of this exchange ("play that card...") imply that your newbie status here, is indeed, misleading. Or perhaps possibly could get that interpretation from misreading snippets of long (scattered) conversations. As for providing citations for the single use of a word in a discussion area; nah. --Connel MacKenzie 17:26, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
You said, "because "intensive" is a very common colloquial intensifier and the meaning is similar, it fits better in the American version of the phrase." I asked you to justify and cite this POV you've been pushing or lose it. Regarding "rare forms entered with equal status", this is precisely what you did originally at for all intents and purposes, which led to this whole polite discussion (see top), not to mention repeating this same vandalism at usuress. As far as "play that card" and being new, it only took me a day to notice your ubiquitous US-UK bitching on every page, and when you started spouting it immediately in this, my very first RFV, it was infuriating. The reason so many kB are wasted around you is because people have to tell you the same things eight times when all you provide in return are red-herrings, derisive comments, false accusations, conspiracy theories, name calling, and spiteful jabs. Is this really the way you guys like things here? If so, let me know. If you are reading this, speak now. I need to know if I am at all in the wrong -- aside from lowering to this cad's level and joining in his personal attacks. Should he have continual license to attack this community without repercussion? Do we really want a community where has it become a familiar admonishment to "just ignore him; don't let him get to you; don't stoop to his level, think about how you word things with an eye to not pissing him off? This has to stop, and you, the community, must speak up now. Unless you like it. -- Thisis0 20:36, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Too long to read. No longer interested. Rod (A. Smith) 20:48, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that Connel doesn't think the rules apply to him. He doesn't have a single, specific reason for thinking this; rather, in any given discussion, he'll find a reason to claim that they don't (such as a "common practice" that no one's ever heard of, or a Wikipedia policy that's tangentially relevant). Sometimes he can't even find something resembling a reason (like at #usuress on this page), and has to resort to insisting insanely that he's already supported his claims with evidence. Now, the good news is that usually Connel does roughly the right thing, so it's not a huge deal that his motivation has nothing to do with following the rules; the bad news is that when what he does isn't the right thing, there's no way to convince him of it, because there's no argument that he considers more relevant than "This is what Connel has believed since the start of this discussion." Ultimately, we might have to have a vote to de-sysop him; but I'm really hoping it won't come to that. —RuakhTALK 22:28, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Ruakh, whilst I agree with your description of his behaviour, I strongly oppose the suggestion that Connel be de-sysopped — that would only be appropriate if he were to misuse his specifically administratorial privileges; to his credit, he has not done that (as far as I am aware) — for example, he may have unjustifiably tried, and failed, to get me blocked, but at least he didn’t do so himself. Even if Connel were de-sysopped, it would not change his behaviour (all his dodgy actions, as far as I can tell, could just as easily have been committed by him even if he wasn’t an administrator). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 01:20, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
That's mostly true, but keeping him as an administrator implies to new users that we, as a community, endorse or at least condone his behavior and consider it to be in keeping with the spirit of the community. Even new users who have interactions with other editors, and therefore see that Connel is not really representative of the community, could hardly be blamed for thinking we're at least O.K. with how he acts. (By the way, I openly apologize for having this discussion here, as it's clearly not the place for it, but I really don't know what place there is for it, and the discussion seems to me to be necessary.)RuakhTALK 04:14, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I think that for such situations the only thing we can do is write the bitten newbie a note explaining Connel’s obnoxiousness. I believe that the good he does with his administratorship outweighs the implication that we condone his negative actions. Thinking about it, Connel’s actions are more appropriately dealt with by issuing a short-term block than they are by his being de-sysopped. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 10:44, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

This is RfV, not RfD. Citations have been provided. That should be the end of the discussion. Other issues can be taken up in the Beer Parlor. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:23, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, of course. RFVpassed. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 10:39, 10 August 2007 (UTC)


The correct etymology for this entry would be:

Alteration of for all intents and purposes by malapropism.

Does anyone have a decent reason for objecting to such an etymology being added? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:11, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

It's better left without one, as the first definition AND the usage notes explain that fact sufficiently.Thisis0 15:36, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
IMO, all words should have etymologies. Information about how a word or phrase was formed is most suitably given in an etymology section, not elsewhere. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:49, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Come on, now. What is the purpose of creating an "Etymology" heading when it contains the same info as the first definition. Etymologies are academic and useful when they provide an historic trail through the formation of language. The usefulness of the heading is sullied when it is compulsory on every article where there is all but the most mundane etymological information. IMO. -- Thisis0 18:11, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
See the entry now for what I mean. I don’t accept that “[t]he usefulness of the heading is sullied when it is compulsory on every article where there is all but the most mundane etymological information” — it merely makes the etymology sections of such entries unnoteworthy; and anyway, such a criticism applies to entries like break, not ones like this (wherein the etymology is notable). By the way, I advise you to try to find two more citations for that rare second sense. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 19:01, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Groan. Ok, here's the thing. If by some chance you've been able to follow this whole debacle over the past few weeks, you'd know that I was against the existence of this whole article in the first place. I originally wrote the article for the correct phrase "for all intents and purposes," and incidentally, I wrote it to provide a proper link for the article at Wikipedia w:eggcorn, which prescribes against this very phrase (all intensive purposes). Soon after, to my chagrin, the very phrase I intended to guard against appeared without caveat on the list of Alternative Forms of my original article! Contributor: Connel MacKenzie. I tried to edit it out, explaining it was incorrect, but Connel reverted, this time creating this article to bolster his assertion that the erroneous phrase was a true form. I took it to the streets at RFV, a usual petty oligarch mini-battle ensued, and mere hours later they moved on to the next one (something about precum) and here we are. The article for the wrong phrase exists now, and we deal with it. If you really feel like having an etymology for a retarded, wrong phrase like this, be my guest.
As far as sense #2, that's in response to the 5 references Connel dug up from Google Books to vouch for this crappy phrase. If you look at them you can see they are manuals and other non-noteworthy sources, but his petty, spiteful move of over-compensation supported his arguments to the oligarchs. I merely noticed that he didn't look at them very closely. Four of them clearly are malaprops intending "for all intents and purposes," but one of them is actually a rare example of this group of words used correctly. If I ever find it used that way again I'll be sure to list it here if that would make you feel better. -- Thisis0 20:24, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
If you are going to pretend to be able to read minds (incorrectly) I suppose there isn't much point in discussion. I did not "create this to bolster" anything. I followed the normal convention of being descriptive of language in use. Doing an initial search revealed that your proscription was simply incorrect. It should not even be listed as a "malapropism" without citing what style guides identify it as such, in a ===References=== section. --Connel MacKenzie 20:47, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Going by logic, I'm gonna say 'yes,' I can read minds, because you also vehemently accused me of being British (apparently a sin? Is that in the BoM now?) and you were dead wrong about that as well. Just because I am 100% U.S.A. doesn't mean I'm proud of being wrong like some Utahns. Keep using the erroneous phrase like you claim to, because thankfully it will continue to separate your class from mine. Here are the style guide references you needed.

[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

Four minor texts that might be acceptable for en.wiktionary, and ten bullshit links (several with unabashed British bias?) Very impressive troll! TTFN. --Connel MacKenzie 22:05, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Thisis0 that there's no point including an etymology when the definition makes it obvious. What's next, giving freedoms the etymology "From freedom + -s"? (Also, Thisis0, please refrain from personal attacks; even when you think the other person deserves it, they probably don't, and anyway, personal attacks run counter to the philosophy of collaborative editing. And especially, please refrain from attacking someone's religion; aside from the obvious reasons that it's a low blow and almost always irrelevant to the topic at hand, you never know who your collateral damage will be. Few people are truly representative of their correligionists — certainly I'd shudder to think people assumed my faults were characteristic of Jews, and I've never met another Mormon quite like Connel.) —RuakhTALK 00:39, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Rare senseEdit

Why is "(rare) For all highly demanding purposes." even a listed definition? It's non-idiomatic. Just because it is distinct from the primary "definition", an erroneous rendering of "for all intents and purposes", doesn't mean it belongs in a dictionary. In this usage it's just an arbitrary phrase that happened to be found in a search. 13:06, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Since we are not limited by space, arbitrary conventions of what belongs in a traditional 'dictionary' don't necessarily apply. This entry is a gray area entirely, like you said, with Wiktionary even including this mangling of the idiom 'intents & purposes" in the first place. It was my first wicked fight here in 2007 (see above). Over time, I learned that Wiktionary's power, over traditional dictionaries, is that we endeavor to describe, catalog, and define all of language as it exists in the wild, rather than ignoring real language when it exists and is in use. We just label it, and explain it, properly.
In regards to the rare literal sense, I have found it useful, and intellectually complete, to also list literal senses of some idiomatic phrases, with the correct in-line tag (literal, etc.) when such a sense is also in use. It prevents confusion, especially for English learners, encourages intellectual completeness and thoroughness, fosters study and comparison, and sometimes serves to illuminate and clarify the idioms with non-literal meanings. You would find the same thing at throw down, draw on, sing soprano, out of sight, in the offing, get wet, step on a rake, back off, bump into, on wheels (many of these need improvement) -- and in some entries, the sense tagged 'literal' is fairly idiomatic, or figurative, already. [For example, break ground, where the main idiomatic sense is so common as to render it the 'literal sense' compared to the further idiomatic extensions of the metaphor, such as "initiating a new venture"]
Some will disagree, but given the aims and scope of this project, I think it is all valuable information, which also certainly can be improved across the project. This particular sense is tagged correctly, rare.-- Thisis0 19:24, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Return to "for all intensive purposes" page.