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 being highly discriminating in its admission of students because it bases such admission on the highest scholastic standards. Oh no they didn’t……………Oh, yes, they did.

The application required the applicant to give his employment history for the proceeding seven years. I, of course, did a double-take. Proceeding seven years? I pondered.

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—and it did—after my trusty red pen and I got finished with it.


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