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Friday, March 22, 2013

Criminal Sentence 640: Not Like Flies

From a book about fruit flies:

"Like flies, our memories are initially short-lived..."

This sentence states that our memories are like flies. Perhaps memories buzz and flit about in our heads, but the writer did not mean to say this. He meant to compare the memories of flies with the memories of humans. We can fix this in a number of ways. The two I like best are these:

"Like the memories of flies, our memories are initially short-lived..."
"Like the memories of flies, those of humans are initially short-lived..."


2 comments:

profeclipse said...

The sentence also implies that a fly's memory is initially short-lived. Presumably, a fly's memory longevity increases over time.

The sentence could also be referring to the fact that flies themselves are short-lived. In which case, there is nothing technically wrong with the sentence, though it could still use work.

Belzecue said...

>> The sentence could also be referring to the fact that flies themselves are short-lived.

That's how I read it.