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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Criminal Sentence 653: Doubly Bad

A sentence from a newspaper blurb about the high cost of student loans (it's a quote from someone at a financial company):

"It's clear rising student-loan debt and its larger economic impact is affecting how Phoenix residents feel about the value of a college degree."

First, I misread the beginning of this sentence, asking myself, "What is 'clear rising'?" Adding a "that" would solve that problem:

"It's clear that rising student loan debt..."

Some people feel they must delete every extraneous "that." Often, you can, but here I feel that this "that" is necessary. (And my "that" after "feel" is necessary too!)

Second, "rising student loan debt" and "its larger economic impact" seem to be two factors rather than one, so the verb "is" should be "are":

"It's clear that rising student-loan debt and its larger economic impact are affecting..."

Some of you, however, may feel that these two items could be wrapped up together to mean a singular idea. Your thoughts?


Chad said...

It's clear, rising student debt and its economic impact are affecting...
It's clear that rising student and larger, its economic impact are affecting...

Westley said...

The 'is' made me go back and reread it. I thought that the economic impact was an aside or an apositive, so I corrected it as: "It's clear that rising student-loan debt, and its larger economic impact, is affecting..."