General Writing and Grammar Help/Fill in a form

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Question
Dear Ted,
Filling in a form, I came across:
Delete where not applicable (Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms).
What does it mean? Does it mean:
1. We should choose the right title?
2. Delete (cross over) the wrong ones and leave the right one?
3. Delete all if we don't want to apply any?
In fact, I've got a problem with "where". I don't know why "where" has been used here. Using "where" in the sentence makes me confused and causes me not to understand the sense.
I'd be grateful if you can help me with that.

Answer
Dear Bob:

Filling in a form, I came across:
Delete where not applicable (Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms).
What does it mean? Does it mean:
1. We should choose the right title?
2. Delete (cross over) the wrong ones and leave the right one?
3. Delete all if we don't want to apply any?
In fact, I've got a problem with "where". I don't know why "where" has been used here. Using "where" in the sentence makes me confused and causes me not to understand the sense.
I'd be grateful if you can help me with that.

*** I can certainly see why you are confused.  Those "directions" are VERY POORLY WRITTEN.

Instead of using "where," the form writers should have written "delete the options that are not applicable."

Since you are a man, you would "delete" -- draw a line or an X through -- the three options that apply only to women.  The female applicants must make a choice of the options that are "not applicable" to them.  I think, and I believe that you agree with me, that a woman would choose only the "title" she prefers.  In my opinion, these directions are really "stupid."  The application creators should have listed all four options and asked the applicant to choose the ONE they prefer.

I wonder if you really want to apply to this company!

Ted  

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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