OK. I have tried not to be judgy. I have tried to be understanding and forgiving about people's little language quirks and failings. But the following advertisement in a magazine sent me over the top.
The [name withheld to protect the offender] is a scientifically validated assessment that generates over one million profiles of personality type, taking a deep look into personality in one's natural state and how one behaves in their profession, at home, or socially. The [name withheld] then measures how one leverages psychological resources to be adaptable and flexible to everyday situations leading to coaching and development opportunities.
Seriously. You spent hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars to run an ad, and you spent zero ($0.00) on copyediting the ad for grammatical errors--and even less (even though that is not possible) on making the content of your very expensive two sentences make any sense. Wait, it IS possible to spend less than $0 on clarity, because apparently you spent money to go in the opposite direction: to complexify (yes, I had to coin a term to describe what you did) and obfuscate your content in a misguided attempt to make it sound like more of a big deal than it is.
First, you inflated the language in meaningless ways: Instead of the clear, straightforward phrase "Over one million personality profiles" you beefed it up to say "profiles of personality type," and ran straight into mismatching the plural profiles with the singular personality type.
Then, in a mistaken effort to make your language generic, you mismatched personality with one's, and then further mismatched that with the possessive pronoun their.
personality in one's natural state and how one behaves in their profession
Your next grammar crime is lack of parallel structure: two prepositional phrases do not match an adverb:
In their profession
Next, your instrument apparently measures how "one" (which actually means "anyone," but you use as though it means the particular individual whose personality is being measured) "leverages" (because heaven forfend we use a clear and meaningful word like use when a hot piece of jargon can be gratuitously thrown in) "psychological resources" (because apparently now even our own internal psychological strengths and capabilities are now commodities that can be marketed and exploited like any other "resource").
And finally, you abandon any pretense of meaningful communication in order to name-drop as many hot-button training-related terms as possible in the shortest amount of space possible:
to be adaptable and flexible to everyday situations leading to coaching and development opportunities
Usage: you can't be "adaptable and flexible" to something
Dangling participle: what does "leading" modify?
Okay everyone. I've taken it apart. Can you put it back together? Contest: rewrite this advertising copy into coherent, grammatically correct, plain English. (Post your entry as a comment below.)
(Note: This is a "pride not prize" contest. I'll announce the winner here and run some of the top entries as well.)
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