When—and When Not—to Say “On Behalf Of”
- On January 3, 2018
On behalf of myself and the employees of the Ford Motor Company, who condemn such behavior and regret any harassment as much as I do, I apologize.
That’s an excerpt from a letter Jim Hackett, the head of the Ford Motor Company, recently sent to employees apologizing for sexual harassment at two of the company’s plants.
Substance aside—that part’s good—Mr. Hackett fell into the common trap of saying on behalf of myself and as a way of including himself in a multi-party apology.
All Mr. Hackett had to say was, On behalf of the employees of the Ford Motor Company, who condemn and regret any harassment as much as I do, I apologize. It’s understood that Mr. Hackett is sorry too.
On behalf of means as the agent or representative of, which makes On behalf of myself, I apologize (in and of itself) a nonsensical remark.
I speak on behalf of grammarians everywhere.