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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Criminal Sentence 206: Think "Who?"

This morning I was looking in my local paper to see if I could find an error to showcase here. The front page was as far as I needed to go (this is a story about a nightclub that caters to plus-size people):

"When running a night that targets plus-size patrons, size matters."

Who is running the night? Not "size" I suspect.

When you're writing a sentence that starts with an "-ing" clause (such as "when running"), the word after the phrase ends--usually after a comma--should be the person/thing doing the action in the "-ing" clause. So, as far as "when running a night that targets plus-size patrons": who is doing that?

1. You notice you have an "-ing" clause.
2. You look at what follows the comma at the end of the clause.
3. You check that what you found in #2 matches up with the action depicted in #1.

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