Let Us Proceed from the Preceding

I’d never really considered that proceed could ever be used incorrectly to mean precede—until I saw it on a job application—for a university—a major university that prides itself on admitting only those students with the highest scholastic records.

The application required the applicant to give his employment history for the proceeding seven years. Proceeding seven years?

Proceeding means what will come after the present; preceding means what has come before the present. What the application should have asked for was the employment history for the preceding seven years, the seven years before now—and it did—after my trusty red pen and I got finished with it.


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