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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Reader Question

Kurt asks this:

Is this a bad sentence?

"A pilot's final words before his doomed private jet plunged into a house in Kent have been replayed at an inquest into the deaths of its five occupants."

Well, it's grammatically correct, at least. The phrase "before his doomed private jet plunged into a house in Kent" separates the noun "words" with the verb "have been replayed."

As far as is it bad, you could argue that it's long and slightly awkward. Perhaps breaking it up into two sentences would be good.

Anyone want to try?


Marilee Matheson said...

Were the five occupants in the plane or in the house?

davereeeno said...

Were his words played once before?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Marilee, I assume the people were in the plane, though it does appear ambiguous.
Dave, I gather someone's listening to the data recorder, so his final words were played at a trial.
Seems that you guys agree this is not a good sentence!

Anonymous said...

At the inquest into the deaths of the five occupants of a private jet that plunged into a house in Kent, the pilot's final words before the crash were replayed.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

I still think that two sentences would be best.