Bureaucratizing Good English
My friend Jill, who is Chinese but knows English well and teaches it in Taipei, wrote to ask me about the use of the prepation to (the swift, etc.) in this quote from Ecclesiastes:
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
Later, I found this bureaucratese (modern) rendition of the same famous passage as satirized by George Orwell:
“Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."
"Just so," as my Irish ancestors would say. We’re in a bad way. ("Awesome," I should say. LOL)