Biased and Prejudiced Against

By Maeve Maddox

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In a recent post about confusion between the words precedent and precedence, a reader commented on a similar confusion between noun-adjective distinctions like bias/biased and prejudice/prejudiced. Thereby hangs this post.

bias (noun): Tendency to favor or dislike a person or thing, especially as a result of a preconceived opinion; partiality, prejudice.

biased (adjective): Influenced by preconceived opinion, favoritism, or prejudice; demonstrating, reflecting, or characterized by lack of impartiality.

Searching for nonstandard usage, I found it in sources I’d expect to set a better example.

Official transcript of a court appeal in the state of Washington:

I made numerous requests to Prosecutor without success and petitioned the Court to make the Prosecutor comply with the rules of Discovery. The Judge however would not as he was bias against me and did all in his power to deny me due process and fairness.

Journalism graduate commenting on a professor he had while at the university:

[The professor] was bias against me because he believed I offended him on a project I did for class.

A third example comes from the Quizlet site. Quizlet (valued at $1B) is an app that offers study materials. Who creates the materials is not clear. I have found them to be a rich source of misspellings and misused words. This is from a discussion of Title VII. [Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.]

If he was bias against older people, he wouldn’t have hire him in the first place.

Note that the word hire is also missing its ending.

prejudice (noun): Preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience.

prejudiced (adjective): Affected or influenced by prejudice; (unfairly) biased beforehand.

The minutes of a university planning committee:

The station later broadcast that he was prejudice against certain media outlets.

At least they got broadcast right!

Example of preposition use on a teaching site for MBA students:

The CEO state he was prejudice against whoever thought his predecessor’s Seven-Point Plan was a sound way to run the corporation.

Yes, the verb stated seems to have lost its ending as well.

An academic article about Thomas Jefferson on a university website:

He was prejudice against women within the university he founded.

A TV news site:

Holmes rejected claims that the verdict was influenced by one of the six jurors because he was prejudice against gay people and made derogatory remarks about Careaga.

Movie review of The Hateful Eight (2015) at IMDb site:

Why would General Smithers stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery if he was prejudice against Blacks?

Sample essay on an essays-for-hire site:

Darcy isolated himself from others at first because of his intense pride, and he was prejudice against the Bennet’s [sic] because of their poverty.

Possible sign of the times
The fact that this error can be found in sources associated with education and official communication suggests that the nonstandard usage is gaining ground.

Just as the idioms “cut and dried” and “first come first served” have become for many speakers “cut and dry” and “first come, first serve,” the errors illustrated above could eventually gain acceptability.

Careful writers, beware.

Related link:
First Come, First Served

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