Some Qualifications

If we qualify for something, that's good. It can mean we've passed exams and are allowed to "practise" (i.e. carry on - see below) a profession, such as law, accountancy or medicine. It can also mean, going back to sport, that we'll be able to take part in a competition or event. We've reached a certain required standard.

This makes it all slightly confusing when we read about financial statements being "qualified" by external auditors. In that context, it means that the accounts of an organisation have failed to meet a standard in one or more respect. The opinion of auditors that an organisation really wants to get is "unqualified". As so often, the understanding can only come from studying the context in which the language is used.

Which brings us again to "practise", and context is once more the key. It frequently means doing something many times in order to improve - "practice (the noun is spelled differently) makes perfect". But in the context mentioned at the beginning, it suggests that a person has already achieved an acceptable level. Strange, but maybe it's saying we never stop learning, so we closed the circle after all, but only just.


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