Professional Style

Behalf

February 2010
Spot the Error

In recognition of his dedication and years of tireless service on behalf of disabled veterans, Brett received a gold medallion and an ovation from a roomful of grateful veterans.

On behalf of is a commonly used expression that means as the agent of. It’s frequently used in the “FROM” section of memos. For example:

FROM: Henny Penny on behalf of Colonel Sanders

The example indicates that Henny wrote the memo and sent it under the direction of Colonel Sanders.

In the “veteran” sentence above, however, Brett was not acting under the direction of the disabled veterans. Instead, he was serving as their champion. In that situation, the correct phrase would be in behalf of, which means for the benefit of.

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