“They have established a drinking ban which forbids consumption of alcohol with intent to drink.”

That’s some ban.

I would imagine my student meant possession of alcohol with intent to drink, although I’m not sure how such a ban could be enforced, dependent as it is on discerning intent.

This is probably one of those unrevised draft sentences, the writer first writing that the ban forbids consumption of alcohol, but then realizing it might address possession with intent and just squeezing some of that into the existing sentence.

But since we readers can’t go back in time to see whether the student proofread the essay or not, we have to go on what he actually wrote, which is a lot more interesting.

Can’t you just picture it? The hapless drunk is hauled before a judge, who says, “You have been charged with consumption of alcohol with intent to drink.” And the drunk says, “Butcheronner, I din’t intend t’drink. Sumuddy muss’ve slipped me sumpin.” And the judge has to let him go.

This is probably the kind of ban that would go down well with those women who unintentionally learned to read (possibly while sipping Scotch that they thought was tea), and of course Columbus, slurping some grog he mistook for soup as he discovered America without meaning to.

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

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