Mark (generalist) wrote,

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SOTD [Spam of the Day]


Today I got an amusing spam. The content wasn't so amusing, but the title was, in a picky grammar_mavens sort of way. The title was: "Do you want for a prosperous future?" Surely the author meant to write: "Do you want a prosperous future?", but the line works either way, due to interesting and seldom-used properties of the word 'want'. First, current accepted definitions of the verb 'want', from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary:

    Main Entry: 1want
    Pronunciation: 'wont also 'wänt & 'w&nt
    Function: verb
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse vanta; akin to Old English wan deficient
    intransitive senses
    1 : to be needy or destitute
    2 : to have or feel need <never wants for friends>
    3 : to be necessary or needed
    4 : to desire to come, go, or be <the cat wants in> <wants out of the deal>
    transitive senses
    1 : to fail to possess especially in customary or required amount : LACK <the answer wanted courtesy>
    2 a : to have a strong desire for <wanted a chance to rest> b : to have an inclination to : LIKE <say what you want, he is efficient>
    3 a : to have need of : REQUIRE <the motor wants a tune-up> b : to suffer from the lack of <thousands still want food and shelter>
    4 : OUGHT -- used with the infinitive <you want to be very careful what you say -- Claudia Cassidy>
    5 : to wish or demand the presence of
    6 : to hunt or seek in order to apprehend <wanted for murder>
    synonym see DESIRE

When we say "I want my toy!", we usually mean definition 2a from the entry above. When the spam writer added the word "for" to his email's title, he shifted the meaning from definition 2a to definition 2. This was almost certainly a mistake—the thing I like about it, and about English in general, is that so many things can make logical and grammatical sense, even if they don't quite mean the same sense as the author intended.

The content of the message was less interesting, and can speak for itself. Pick it apart at your leisure; you don't want for my help (emphasis mine):

    We can assist with Diplomas from prestigious non-accredited universities based on your present knowledge and life experience.
-(Cheers) generalist

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