Apprise Oneself With Appraise

Wayback in 1996 somewhere in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, a male executive secretary was being discreetly tested for his suitability to the position by the incoming General Manager in the presence of the outgoing one.

The word appraise was pronounced and, then advanced by the latter to mean to inform or notify, such as in this sample sentence,  ‘He apprised me of the changes in the company’s organizational structure.’  Apprise was deliberately voiced as though one were enunciating appraise.  So, when the transcription and the printed sheet came with the spelling apprise, he was told that it needed to be corrected and exchanged with appraise without a moment’s thought

He rolled his eyes, mentally asking himself if he could possibly apprise someone, as diplomatically and as calmly as possible, about the intricacies of the word appraise when the same person who needed apprising could not appraise the whole situation with a calm and lucid appraisal.

Incidentally as per the dictionary, appraise means to assess, measure, or evaluate, among other denotations, but it does not extend to notifying, informing or instructing.

And so, having used the lexis countless times in the past, the subordinate refused to amend his spelling even when urged, or more precisely, ordered to do so, as indeed, the proper usage and sense, as was given in the sample sentence, should really be the word apprise.

This episode was referred to the secretarial pool of all the various departments and naturally, this went all the way up to their respective Senior Managers for arbitration, and the verdict luckily returned in his favor.

The moral of this event is that one cannot appraise someone of something, but one can certainly apprise another of something.  A person could justifiably be appraised for something he did, in consequence of which, he was thoroughly apprised of the ensuing appraisal.

Example :            He apprised his superior of the reservations the rest of the managerial pool made regarding the drastic changes introduced recently in their respective areas of direct influence, which he then appraised as just a kneejerk, though understandable, reaction to a truly legitimate and necessary policy realignment on his part .

Clarity and simplicity would also be best served by incorporating alternative words that mean exactly the same thing, in short, replacing it with a synonym that mirrors it closely.  To cite the above example, one could rephrase it in this vein:

He informed his superior of the reluctance the rest of the management team were harboring about the sudden changes he made recently in their respective territories, which he then evaluated as just a hasty, though understandable, response to an indispensable and required policy adjustment from his office.

Lastly, it should also be emphasized that the author had direct experience of the above incidents.


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