Idioms, Cliches, and Slang
Word and Phrase Origins

Is the saying 'all intents and purposes' or 'all intense purposes'?


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2011-03-14 14:25:40
2011-03-14 14:25:40
Intents and PurposesThe correct phrase is "to all intents and purposes." This phrase dates back to the 1500s and originated in English law, where it was "to all intents, constructions, and purposes." In modern usage, "for all intents and purposes" is also acceptable. The phrase means "for all practical purposes" and is generally used to compare two nonidentical acts or deeds, i.e.,"We've got a few odd things to finish, but to all intents and purposes the job is done." "They redesigned the old model and created something which was to all intents and purposes a brand new car." A shorter equivalent phrase is "in effect."

When used in a strictly legal sense, the wording would be "intent and purposes," as it refers to one's mental attitude/state at the time said action occurred.

A common malapropism is "for all intense and purposes" (also, "for all intensive purposes") a result of the original phrase being misheard and repeated. The word "intense" is used here incorrectly; "intense" is used in English to indicate a degree of intensity, i.e., "As the afternoon passed, the fire grew more intense."


It is important to avoid malapropisms as far as possible, as some people take them as a hallmark of ignorance and lack of education. If you have problems with "to all intents and purposes," bear in mind that in that expression "intents" is redundant. Use one of the alternatives suggested above.

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Related Questions

The correct saying is "all intents and purposes".

Neither of the phrases in the question is correct.The correct wording, in American English, is "for all intents and purposes." In British English, however, the wording of the selfsame idiom is "to all intents and purposes."

Intence is not really a word.Intents as in 'to all intents and purposes' means intentions.Intense means to an extreme degree.

The correct idiom is the second one. You'd say "for" when saying "intents and purposes" because you're doing something for some reason. You don't do something to a reason.

It Differs between American and British English"For all intents and purposes" is the correct phrase according to American usage. The British version of the idiom is "To all intents and purposes."(See the Related link.)

"All" needs to modify a plural noun, so "intents and purposes" would be correct.

For all intents and purposes. (right) For all intensive purposes. (wrong)

A purpose can hardly be unintentional. The actual phrase is: "For all intents and purposes".

For all intents and purposes, yes.

Yes.For all intents and purposes, it is.

Outdoor Channel Outfitters - 2009 For All Intents and Purposes was released on: USA: 24 March 2011

For all intents and purposes, no.

For all intents and purposes, yes.

For almost all purposes and intents, yes.

for all intents and purposes, the sun is the only solar energy there is.

For all conventional intents and purposes, liquid water is incompressible.

For all intents and purposes - they are negligible.

Literally Night- but in all intents and purposes- Christmas. It is French in origin.

To all intents and purposes - non existent.

To all intents and purposes it was forced on them by the allies after the second world war

For all intents and purposes 4000 watts are equal to 4 KVA.

For all intents and purposes, North Korea is a totalitarian monarchy.

They are, for all intents and purposes, burial mounds. Granted, burial mounds for the extremely wealthy.

Kiri. (Pronounced, for all intents and purposes, like "key" and "ree" like in 'reed.')

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