Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Enforce vs. Inforce: Only One is a Word


Sherry writes:
This sign was all over a parking lot in Quincy, Massachusetts. 
Thanks, Sherry, for turning in this typo!

Of course, the correct verb is enforce, meaning to carry out. The police enforce the laws. As it turns out, inforce is not a word. But I happen to love this definition from Urban Dictionary:
inforced - Word used by an ignorant person trying to say something was put in force.
Person 1: Wow, she is an idiot.
Person 2: Why?
Person 1: She said a man's car insurance wasn't inforced yet.
Person 2: Oh wow, she is an idiot.
 Correction:
  • Enforced 24 hours a day

9 comments:

  1. This is not entirely true, particularly in the Person 1/Person 2 illustration above. "Inforce" in the insurance industry is commonly used and does have a meaning - although it is more proper to say the insurance wasn't "in force" rather than not "inforce" or "inforced". But agents will often refer to an "inforce" customer. "Enforce" would be incorrect in that situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the expression is "in force" (two words), then as an adjective, it would require a hyphen to become an "in-force customer." Grammatically speaking, that is ;)

      Delete
  2. Yes I agree, in my company (insurance based), we have an expression, "Coverage not in force", to mean that coverage was cancelled prior to its start date.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Enforce not inforce but then reinforce not re-enforce...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, to me it would seem that enforce would be to carry out, while inforce would mean to strengthen something that is not yet strong. I'm no English major, but to me, reinforce would be strengthening something that was or is already strong, hence the re-. If I was sending materials to reinforce a wall, the wall is already strong. If I was sending materials to inforce a wall, however, the wall has not yet been strong.

      Delete
  4. Just came across Frederich Engels Manifesto of the Communist Party (1888 English edition) -- . . . On the one hand inforced destruction of a mass of productive forces. . . . . -- so it appears to have an archaic basis (or is it a typo?).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Reading Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility', when I came across this spelling. Perhaps it's an older spelling of the word that was later done away with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A quote would be so helpful. Combined with the above Engels quote, and both confirmed, they would refute the proprietor's assertion! The author would need to correct the title to, "... Only One is STILL a Word," perhaps.

      Delete
  6. There would probably be more of the possible concerns and values for the students to follow herein and these are either way said to be pretty important.

    ReplyDelete