Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How Bad Can One Sentence Be?

Check out this sentence, from a question recently fielded in the Outside Consultant column in the Star Tribune's business section:

I design and sell inspirational jewelry for mothers and women battling weight loss, infertility and cancer on my website.

I believe that's what's called a dangling modifier. (Unless the writer's website includes a new web app with startling medicinal powers.)

And according to my recollection of set theory and knowledge of human genders, I think the set "women" includes the set "mothers."

No, wait a minute, it's worse than I thought. I just checked the questioner's website and now realize she meant that the jewelry is for mothers generally and also for women battling the aforementioned conditions. I didn't get that from the sentence at all.

Are there any editors left at the Strib?


Becky said...

Wow. That is pretty bad. I'm with you in that I didn't get that from her sentence at all.

WWDD said...

can you edit the writings of my graduate students?