"Free Bible Correspondence Course"
 
Sometimes using too few words on a sign, in an attempt to be concise, merely creates a rather hopeless confusion.
 
A church near Muncie, Indiana recently had the following displayed on a sign:
 
"Free Bible Correspondence Course"
 
There are at least five ways to interpret this message, and, by using parenthesis, I will indicate what these are.
 
1. (Free Bible) Correspondence Course.
A course taken by correspondence dealing with the subject of free bibles. A fee may be charged for this course.
 
2. Free (Bible Correspondence) Course.
A course that has no fee dealing with the subject of people corresponding about bibles.
 
3. Free (Bible) Correspondence Course.
A course taken by correspondence, that has no fee, dealing with the subject of bibles.
 
4. ([Free Bible] Correspondence) Course.
A course that deals with the subject of people corresponding about free bibles. A fee may be charged for this course.
 
5. (Free [Bible Correspondence]) Course.
A course that deals with the subject of people's freedom with regard to corresponding about bibles. A fee may be charged for this course.
 
Sometimes, a bit more precision in language creates better communication. The real reason that stupid people use sloppy language is because they presume, in their arrogance, that everybody assumes the same thing that they do.
 
. . . And, in this case, the subject-at-hand itself probably has something to do with that last point.

 
 
Jody Nagel
April 22, 2004
 
 
Copyright © 2004 by Jody Nagel. All rights reserved. Call 1-765-759-1013 or Email for additional information.