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Friday, May 21, 2010

Criminal Sentence 392: Quickly!

From a parenting article:

"You've probably been told not to compare your child with anyone else's. But when she really seems to be lagging behind other kids, it's important to get her the help she needs quickly."

I imagine that this imaginary girl who is having trouble needs help quickly, but I think the article was trying to say that parents need to get her help quickly. The problem is that the adverb "quickly" is ambiguously next to the word "needs"; as I just said, it goes with "get her help."

See this post.


Marilee said...

I can't believe I'm about to disagree with Bonnie Trenga, but I think the meaning is perfectly clear as written. Only an expert editor would realize that the modifier is placed ambiguously; the intended audience would not likely misunderstand. (I learn so much from this blog. Love it!)

The Sentence Sleuth said...

You're not allowed to disagree with me!!!


David said...

This is one of those times you can comfortably split the infinitive.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

David, I agree that "to quickly get her the help she needs" would sound fine. However, split infinitives, are considered ok these days.