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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?