Sunday, July 23, 2006

LOOSE TALK: On the use of mis-use of words such as "higher"

Today, the following sentence comes to my notice: "The XXX designation is the profession's only globally recognized credential. The XXX Association of XXX Consultants, through its affiliated institutes, awards it to those individuals who meet stringent international standards. They have satisfied the commitment to attain thorough knowledge of XXX management and a capacity to consult at a higher level".

The organisation concerned may well be the most exalted one in its field, so I apologise to it for having to point out that its use of language leaves something to be desired.

The word "higher" is a comparative word. In other words, it is meant to indicate a comparison between two or more objects, within a possible series "high, higher, highest".

For example, one might say, "A Master of Science degree is a higher qualification than a Bachelor of Science degree".

If one says, "A Ph.D is a higher degree", one implies that that degree is higher than something else which has just been discussed, for example a Master-level qualification.

Whenever one hears the word "higher", one is always on the lookout for the answer to the question "In comparison to what?"

In the case I am discussing, this association's status in my mind, and possibly other minds, would rise even higher if it learnt to employ such words correctly, especially as it comes from a part of the world where English is supposed to be the mother tongue. Sphere: Related Content

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