Intensive Purposes

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15 comments on this post.
  1. Stan:

    a student once wrote: it’s a doggy dog world.
    ranks right up there with “for all intensive purposes”!

  2. cWJ:

    See the above link, Stan. Perhaps your student performed an allusion more complex than you realize.. ;)

  3. Beye Fyfe:

    One of my favorits was written by a WAC who was asked on a questionnaire to comment on the food at the base where she was stationed: “The food in the mess hall is alright, but some of it is left to be desired.”

  4. Manuel Bettencourt:

    Interesting. My ex-wife thought it was a “doggy-dog” world (N of Pittsburg, c1970) and I, in my younger days (1960s, Georgia)) thought, for all intents and purposes, it was “for all intensive purposes.”

  5. Wanda Mahoney:

    I thought it was “for all intent and purpose” in other words what it was intended for and for it’s purpose… ??

  6. Lance:

    @Wanda Mahoney:
    The word “all” is the main clue. The English language won’t permit “all intent” any more than “all person”.

  7. Lance:

    We repeat what we think we hear, just as someone once thought he heard “I could care less”, because the “couldn’t” wasn’t clearly spoken.

  8. Lance:

    Obviously, if we care not at all, we are at the bottom of the caring pole, so we cannot care less.

  9. Mark Henderson:

    Ouch. Not only the incorrect “for all intents and purposes”, but also the wrong form of “its”. Another thorn in the side of any English teacher. “It’s” is short for “it is”. The possessive form of “it” is “its” with NO apostrophe. So, here you should use “and for its purpose…??”

  10. Chris:

    My English teacher told me that “I couldn’t care less” was incorrect because it is a double negative, the ‘not’ and ‘less’, and although the phrase “I could care less” doesn’t literally mean what one thinks one is saying it is still the correct version of the phrase.

  11. Justin:

    You’re English teacher wuzn’t not wrong.

  12. Justin:

    And a “Doggy Dog World” is only acceptable if you are quoting Snoop-Dog.

  13. joe:

    Notwithstanding the origin, what is wrong with saying:” intensive purpose”?

    e.g ” Bad publicity did not help his case, but it was the intensive purpose of his opposition to remove him from office.”

    I, and others, have used “intensive purpose” (not ALL intensive purposes) to show urgency, focus and singular commitment to a specific objective.

  14. Zoele:

    There’s nothing wrong with “There’s a bathroom on the right”.

    “There’s” is a contraction of “there is”

    Maybe you’re thinking of “theirs”?

    Who does this gun belong to? “It belongs to them” or “It is theirs”

  15. Zoele:

    And to actually comment, “intensive purposes” is better than “intents and purposes”. “Intent” can be used to describe an uncountable or countable amount of intent. Contrary to popular belief it is not the same with the word “purpose”. The other interesting factor here is that purpose and intent can generally refer to the same thing. So while the the word “intents” is wholly fine in this saying “intent” is actually better. Therfore: “for all intent and purpose” or “for all intent and purposes”. Once you refer something being used “for all intent” or “for all intents” its final eventual usage is more often than not referred to in a singular usage. For example a gun can have an intended purpose of shooting targets and another intended purpose of simply making a loud sound. Or we can say that a gun has an intended purpose of shooting targets and making loud sounds. In a way, though it has 2 purposes, it can be written to have a singular complex purpose.

    In the end:
    “for all intent and purpose”,
    “for all intents and purpose”,
    “for all intent and purposes”,
    “for all intents and purposes”
    are, for all intensive purposes,
    equivalent to the phrase “for all intensive purposes”.

    Speaking of intents and purposes, they can both generally refer to the same thing:
    “So what is everyone who disagrees with you doing right now?!”
    “One of them is holding a gun and is pointing it at me! His purpose for doing this is to shoot me!” or “One of them is holding a gun and is pointing it at me! His intent is to shoot me!”

    “Intensive” describes the grandness of situations that the word is applied to.

    The actual modern and broader saying is “for all major purposes”. You can essentially see the synonymous relationship between “intensive” and “major” in this example.

    The funny part is that “for all intensive purposes” makes perfect sense. In other words “for any purpose that the thing in question would applied with great focus, care and-or thoroughness, seriousness etc.”

    Archaic sayings are on their way out as a result of these specifics either way and “intensive purposes” has been used in many more situations for much longer than since the 1980s.

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