March 16, 2009

Read This Out Loud: Graduate Admissions

As anyone who's been through the process of graduate admissions can attest, institutions of higher learning are some of the strangest, most labyrinthine bureaucracies on earth. And those bureaucracies produce some of the vaguest language imaginable.

The English language is a many splendored thing. Though I suspect it's an urban legend, I've always heard that, like snowflakes, no two words in the English language have exactly the same meaning. (In case you were wondering, according to the Discovery Channel, the snowflake thing is not a myth.) So how is it that the language can produce a sentence like the following?

"You're near the top of our waiting list, so there's a good chance we might be able to grant you admission in April."
This is from UGA, who regret to inform me that, despite my high qualifications, they are not able to offer me admission at this time. They are, however, prepared to offer me a place on their waiting list. What are my chances of admission, then? Apparently there's a high likelihood of the possibility of maybe perhaps being admitted.

We (I) here at Fatally Ambiguous delight in ambiguity, but hate to see the English language rendered useless by pointless vaguery. Read This Out Loud, UGA. Can you find a way to reword it to clarify your point for me?

1 comment:

  1. Haha. It is somewhat frustrating that they can't pull it together.