Behalf / Behalves

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3 comments on this post.
  1. brig:


    Thank you for your thorough explanation. I especially appreciate that you’ve delved into the etymology.

    However, I believe that you have made an error toward the end, regarding “in” vs. “on” behalf. I think you have switched the prepositions, meaning that “on one’s behalf” connotes representation and “in one’s behalf” connotes benefit for another party.

    I agree with The Grammarphobia Blog, which I found very helpful but without the etymological background that you included. The following is a quote:

    “Here’s an example: ‘The Red Cross was given a donation, on behalf my family, to be used in behalf of Haitian relief.’

    But that old distinction is going by the wayside (if it isn’t gone already).

    In Britain, the sole, all-purpose version is ‘on behalf of.’ Both the ‘on’ and the ‘in’ versions are still used in the US, but most Americans now use them interchangeably, ignoring the traditional difference.

    This is according to The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (3d ed.), Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.), and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.).”

    yours in specificity,


  2. Muz Musgrove:

    Oh dear. An enquirer asks a perfectly reasonable question and answered, not by someone trying to help, but by an out and out nobhead who wants to illustrate how clever he is !

    I’m 68 and have NEVER been inclined to make such comment !


  3. Muz Musgrove:

    Forgive me…. I referred to “one” nobhead.
    I’ve now read the first comment.
    I now amend my comment to ‘two’ nobheads”

    Knowledge is one thing. The inability to share it is sad beyond belief.

    Let’s hope to heaven that they’re not schoolteachers. Their pupils will prefer to open a vein than subject themselves to education of that ilk

    Muz….SE England.

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