Do we ever pick up on the subtleties of language’s intentionality, anymore? Is there a difference with a distinction between the use of the prepositions ‘for’ as opposed to ‘to’? And, even if intentionally and with deliberative meaning, one inserts one as opposed to the other, would the person for whom it is intended, or to whom it is addressed, catch the difference, or would he or she merely respond as if there was never any difference at all?
Say the person began with one preposition but stopped mid-sentence and corrected it, inserting the ‘other’; would the correction be noticed at all, and even if it was, would that make a difference? Say, for instance, a person says to another, “I would like to show my appreciation to you,” as opposed to saying, “I would like to show my appreciation for you.” Is there a difference? Is there a subtle intentionality hidden – where the “to” is just slightly less personal than the “for”?
What if the person speaking does not believe in any differences between the two propositions – would that make a difference? Or, conversely, what if the person speaking does know the difference, or believes he does, between the two, but the person being addressed does not; does that make a difference? Is there, objectively, a difference between the two, and can it be identified, delineated, understood and explained?
When we say, for example, that X is giving a gift to Y – is that different from saying that X is giving a gift for Y? Or that Sally has shown great empathy to Mary, as opposed to showing great empathy for Mary – can the subtle difference of intentionality be derived?
Language is a difficult tool to master, to begin with, and grammar was once the medium by which correctness of communication could be embraced. Much of grammar has now been discarded, abandoned and forsaken, and with the detritus of residue left behind, the subtlety of language – both in its usage as well as in its reception – has been lost.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, almost all of the encounters with the Federal agency responsible for review and determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application – i.e., the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will be wrought through impersonal “paper” transactions – submission of the Standard Forms (e.g., SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability) and medical narrative reports and treatment records, as well as any Legal Memorandum prepared to argue your case – will be through an impersonal communication via language known, language learned and language imparted.
Knowing the subtleties of language, and the correct approach, the context and content driven by legal precedents and argumentation are all an important part of the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application. It may not have to get into the minutiae of the differentiation of prepositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’, but there is enough complexity in the language of such a strange frontier as Federal Disability Retirement Law so as to justify hiring an attorney who specializes in such administrative legal conundrums, whether to obtain a successful outcome or for attainment of one.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire