Friday, December 2, 2011

Grammar Nazi: Mock

So today I went for a practice interview for my application to medical residency programs. Technical glitches aside (the interviewer had not been told I was coming), it went well.

As a side note, however, the interviewer told his secretary to tell the guidance office that students should not be told they are going for a "mock" interview but rather a "practice" interview. The rationale was that there is "nothing mock" about these interviews.

The definition in question is as follows:

mock [mok] adjective
  1. feigned; not real; sham: a mock battle.

I pondered this on my subway ride back home and considered whether this was a legitimate claim or not. It seemed to me that there was, in fact, plenty "mock" about these interviews. They were not real residency interviews and therefore were fake residency interviews.

On further thought, I considered that the interview itself is real - I am myself being interviewed. I am not feigning being interviewed. In that sense, I am practicing, but it is not a "mock" interview - it is a real interview. In that case, perhaps it is not a mock interview but it is a mock residency interview.

Yet according to the World English Dictionary (and common usage), the aforementioned use of the term "mock interview" seems perfectly legit:

mock [mok] adjective
  1. sham or counterfeit
  2. serving as an imitation or substitute, esp for practice purposes: a mock battle ; mock finals

So, mock interview it is. If you care.


sandlot said...

Why would a cock say mock?

a_ndy said...

For some reason, "Mock, mock, mock" made me think of "Buck, buck, buck" hence the title pic