Syntactical Fools

Richard Mitchell, a professor at Glassboro State College, devoted a good deal of his time to battling what he called, “the failures of thought and logic which always accompany bad English. And vice versa.” This is from a memorandum written by someone at his school: “This study supported the conclusion that practicing academic deans could benefit by possessing an expectancy of being able to control their work environment in order to successfully implement role responsibilities.”


Ordinarily I would try to pick such a sentence apart and reconstruct it to say what the writer meant to say. But this sentence is so fatally flawed that I have no idea what (s)he wanted to say. I could offer a few ideas for improving it. But as Mitchell put it in his newsletter, The Underground Grammarian, “The betterment of fools, Goethe tells us, is the appropriate business of other fools.” 


Mitchell went on: “The Underground Grammarian does not seek to educate anyone. We intend rather to ridicule, humiliate, and infuriate those who abuse our language not so that they will do better but so that they will stop using language entirely or at least go away.”


So I will go on to other sentences that we can more easily recast and advise this writer to think before he speaks.