Pre-approved

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Qaanol
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Pre-approved

Postby Qaanol » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:43 am UTC

Am I correct that in most cases, the phrase "W is pre-Xed" means W has already, previously been Xed?

I ask because in credit card mailings, "pre-approved" is used in the sense of "not yet approved". If that were how this construction works, then IKEA could call its furniture "pre-assembled", raw meat would be "pre-cooked", and a stack of papers in random order would be "pre-sorted". For that matter, all future choices would be "pre-decided".

It seems that credit mailings are phrased in a counterintuitive manner, with the deliberate intent of misleading.
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jaap
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Re: Pre-approved

Postby jaap » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:42 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:Am I correct that in most cases, the phrase "W is pre-Xed" means W has already, previously been Xed?

I ask because in credit card mailings, "pre-approved" is used in the sense of "not yet approved". If that were how this construction works, then IKEA could call its furniture "pre-assembled", raw meat would be "pre-cooked", and a stack of papers in random order would be "pre-sorted". For that matter, all future choices would be "pre-decided".

It seems that credit mailings are phrased in a counterintuitive manner, with the deliberate intent of misleading.


Not living in the US, I would have thought that "pre-approved" in that case does indeed mean that approval by the bank has already been granted, so that all you have to do is accept. This is in contrast to having to go through an application process during which the bank judges whether you are financially trustworthy enough for the application for a credit card to be approved.
If it is used in the other sense, then I would think it is definitely misleading.

The noun forms "pre-approval" and "pre-assemblage" seem more obviously ambiguous to me as stand-alone words, though I think the context would usually make it clear in those cases.

goofy
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Re: Pre-approved

Postby goofy » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:28 am UTC

One of the meanings of "pre" is "existing or occurring prior to the development or knowledge of" as in "pre-adult"

Derek
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Re: Pre-approved

Postby Derek » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:53 am UTC

I'm pretty sure that a "pre-approved credit card" means that you have already been approved. Wikipedia.

But speaking in general, "pre-X" can have two meanings: Before X or already Xed. As you've shown, these meanings can be contradictory at times. I think the latter usage can be viewed as an extension of the first, with an implied point in time that X is before. So "pre-game" means before the game, "pre-approved" means approved before application. "Pre-assembled" means assembled before purchase.

Actually, as I think of examples, it seems like "pre-noun" means "before [noun] has occurred", and "pre-verbed" means "verbed before some point in time"/"already verbed". I'm sure someone can come up with some counter-examples for me.


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