Work Parsing Contest #1

There is much to be said for grammatical parsings. Since 12 Apostrophes is full of PhD and MFA types in all things english, I thought I would whet you appetite with a relatively simple one from my place of employment:

Please schedule the committee meeting the month prior to the second monthly board meeting after quarter end.

Nice. One sentence reads half high-school algebra problem, half Orwellian mind transplant. But if you thought that was impressive, let’s move to a graduated example:

Remember that due to 2009 Open Enrollment completing at weeks end for medical and dental insurance and spending accounts ending tomorrow (Wednesday).  You only need to complete Open Enrollment paperwork for medical/dental insurance if you are adding, changing or canceling coverage, otherwise you can do nothing unless you are adding, changing or canceling coverage. Your current elections will carry over in 2009. If you want to participate in medical or dependent care spending accounts in 2009 you will need to submit new forms.  Submit forms, unless not required, to [NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT] in Human Resources.

The first sentence here is a true gem. I think Open Enrollment may be ending on three different days, but I’m pretty sure the clearest indication is that it ends on Wednesday (maybe). The rest, well, I think I may need to turn in some forms, unless I am adding, changing or canceling coverage, but only if I am adding, changing or canceling coverage. If anyone would like to submit a formal translation, I would be much obliged.

5 Responses to Work Parsing Contest #1

  1. Kris says:

    #1 After the quarter ends, there will be several monthly board meetings. After the second monthly board meeting after the quarter ends, go back in time one (1) month. Schedule the committee meeting then.

    #2 At the end of the week this week, which, this week, is on a Wednesday, which is also coincidentally tomorrow, the 2009 open enrollment for medical and dental spending accounts will end. Don’t even worry about it (unless you are adding, changing, or canceling coverage. Then submit forms. Maybe even new forms.) Submit new forms, unless you don’t need to. Then don’t, unless you have to. Then do, unless you don’t. Unless you want to participate in medical or dental care spending accounts in 2009; then, obviously, you submit new forms. Unless you don’t.

  2. Duodecad says:

    Update: this was sent out to “avoid any confusion…” almost as if there could have possibly been any after the first message.

    “Remember that 2009 Open Enrollment for medical and dental insurance and spending accounts ends today (Wednesday). You only need to complete Open Enrollment paperwork for medical/dental insurance if you are adding, changing or canceling coverage – otherwise your current elections will carry over in 2009. If you want to participate in medical or dependent care spending accounts in 2009 you will need to submit new forms. Submit forms to XXXXXX in Human Resources. For more information please see the Open Enrollment link on the front page of the Intranet.”

    Clearly an improvement. I just wish I could’ve submitted Kris’ translation first…

  3. Matt says:

    The best part is that – second quote, first sentence? Totally not a sentence.

    (This takes me back to Latin. Gee, thanks.)

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