Writing for Business

Jan 28 2010   4:11PM GMT

Intensive purposes or intents and purposes?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Although a distinction is sometimes made, _________________ “non-profit” and “not-for-profit” both refer the same type of business model.
a. for all intensive purposes
b. for all intents and purposes

Answer: b.

The correct phrase means what it says — for all intents and for all purposes, the terms are interchangeable.

If “for all intensive purposes,” were an accepted idiom (it’s more often referred to as an “idiotism”), it would mean something like “for all purposes that are extreme.” So I suppose an argument could be made that there’s a place for such an expression. But that place is not in our sentence above.

The Urban Dictionary has an entry for intensive purposes.

Idealist.org examines the difference between “non-profit” and “not-for-profit.”

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