Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
WHAT IS THE ERROR?
Each sentence has a DOUBLE NEGATIVE in it.
Avoid two negative words in the same clause.
Words such as “barely”, “hardly” and “scarcely” have a negative sense and should not be used with another negative.
“I don’t want no seconds.”
“I don’t want any seconds.”
“The producer didn’t want but one good story.”
“The producer wanted but one good story.”
“He couldn’t hardly speak.”
“He could hardly speak.”
“We couldn’t scarcely see the stage.”
“We could scarcely see the stage.”
The antecedent of a pronoun is the word to which the pronoun refers.
“Every student must have their pencils and pens in class.”
A pronoun’s antecedent must be clear. What does “they” refer to? There is no plural antecedent.
“All students must have their pencils and pens in class.”
“I never go to that place because they have smelly bathrooms.”
This is the same problem as in the first example. A pronoun’s antecedent must be clear. What does “they” refer to? There is no plural antecedent.
“I never go to that place because it has smelly bathrooms.”
“The suitcase was on the plane but now it is gone.”
A pronoun’s antecedent must be unambiguous. What is gone? The suitcase? The plane?
“The suitcase was on the plane but now the suitcase is gone.”
Find, identify and correct the error in the following piece.
“As well, helping existing businesses who are experiencing problems with City Hall departments that cause undue financial difficulties.”
This is an incomplete thought because there is no main verb.
“As well, I will help existing businesses who are experiencing problems with City Hall departments that cause undue financial difficulties.”
Identify the errors in the examples below and correct them.
“A smattering of votes from the county were also cast, with sections of Highway 401 drawing praise.”
The subject is “smattering” and it is singular. It must have a singular verb.
“A smattering of votes from the county was also cast, with sections of Highway 401 drawing praise.”
“So, should the police budget be an election issue? Absolutely. Any candidate who tries to duck the question is hiding their intentions.”
This is a perfect example of Tuesday’s ANTECEDENT problem. To what does “they” in the second sentence refer?
“So, should the police budget be an election issue? Absolutely. Candidates who tries to duck the question are hiding their intentions.”
“About one in 17 women have faced sexual blackmail at work in Italy, but the coercion is largely unreported due to fear, embarrassment, or a lack of faith in authorities, a survey showed Wednesday.”
The main verb is “have faced” and it is plural. The subject of that verb is “one”, not “women”. Therefore, there is no subject-verb agreement.
The comma after “embarrassment” is redundant.
“About one in 17 women has faced sexual blackmail at work in Italy, but the coercion is largely unreported due to fear, embarrassment or a lack of faith in authorities, a survey showed Wednesday.”
Identify and fix the errors in the following examples.
“A plan that will create jobs, lower taxes, and diversify our economy.”
There is no verb, so this is an incomplete thought.
The comma after “taxes” is redundant.
“My plan will create jobs, lower taxes and diversify our economy.”
“Fixing and restoring our infrastructure by taking real and measurable action.”
This is not a complete thought because there is no verb.
“Fixing and restoring our infrastructure by taking real and measurable action will have my continuing attention.” (This version, at least, is a complete thought.)
WHAT PRICE GLORY?
“Glory built on selfish principles is shame and guilt.”
William Cowper, an English poet who lived from 1731 to 1800, wrote this.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Indigence” (n.) refers to a state of extreme poverty or destitution.
“Lugubrious” (adj.) means excessively mournful, doleful or dismal.
“Tautological” (adj.) means the needless repetition of an idea or words as in “descend down” or a “true fact”.
“Tautology” is the noun form.
“Tautologist” is a noun referring to one who always uses such repetition.
“Tautologically” is the adverb form.
“Bowdlerize” (v.) means to expurgate prudishly, to expunge, remove or cut text that is considered too lurid or provocative.
BONUS: you get a GOLD STAR if you know that “bowdlerize” is named for Thomas Bowdler who published an edited version of Shakespeare in 1818.
“Imputation” (n.) refers to attributing something discreditable to a person, to attributing guilt vicariously or to charging a person with a fault.