Skip to main content

Word order matters

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, language, short

Two or so years ago, the Grinnell faculty voted that every student should have the opportunity to do research. More recently, I’ve heard both our Dean and some fellow faculty say that every student should have a research opportunity.

Word order matters.

Every student has the opportunity to do research suggests that we will offer up that opportunity, but not every student necessarily has to avail themselves of that offer. Every student hasa research opportunity*" suggests that every student engages in research.

As I recall the discussion, some faculty members suggested that not every student would want to do research. A few may have even suggested that not all students will be ready to do research. So I’m pretty sure that our resolution was the first of the two statements. Let’s me see. It appears that we approved the motion at our meeting of April 4, 2016 and that motion read as follows:

Student research is focused inquiry supervised by a faculty member that seeks to answer or explore an intellectual and/or creative problem or question. Grinnell College seeks to provide every student an opportunity to pursue research and share the product publicly.

I see that my description is wrong, too. I say the opportunity to do research. It’s really an opportunity to pursue research.

So let’s get the words and the word order right!

Version 1.0 of 2018-11-24. "