Sunday, April 08, 2007

Even the best makes mistakes.


Sunday in the Market With McCain

By FRANK RICH

Published: April 8, 2007

Frank Rich is Times; but even he falters in grammar and punctuation. Or his editor does. I wrote him once to commend his punctuation. His reply credited his checker.

It can’t be lost on those dwindling die-hards, particularly those on the 2008 ballot, that if defending the indefensible can reduce even a politician “Even” goes here. of Mr. McCain’s heroic stature to that of Dukakis-in-the-tank, they have nowhere to go but down.

Two most misplaced modifiers are “even” and “only.”

Mitt Romney inched toward concrete “timetables and milestones” for Iraq, with the nonsensical proviso they shouldn’t be published “for the enemy.”

The comma after “Iraq” is redundant: the “with” prepositional phrase is restrictive.

The most frequent comma error is redundant commas. The last three or four hundred years has seen lean structural commas replace lavish rhetorical commas.

Mr. Bush’s claim that military equipment would be shortchanged if he couldn’t sign a spending bill by mid-April was contradicted by not one but two government agencies. 27 words

Passive verbs make sentences long and flabby. Passive verbs also make the writer sound unsure. “Not one but two government agencies contradicted Mr. Bush’s claim that he couldn’t sign the spending bill until mid-April.” 19 words

The National Guard, whose own new involuntary deployments to Iraq were uncovered last week by NBC News, can’t ride to the rescue indefinitely. 23 words

“The National Guard, whose new involuntary deployments NBC uncovered last week, can’t ride to the rescue indefinitely.” 17 words

Mosul, which was supposedly secured in 2003 by the current American commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, is now a safe haven for terrorists…. 24 words

Gen. David Petraeus supposedly secured Mosul in 20003, but it is now a safe haven for terrorists…. 17 words

Surely redundant adverb no one understands better than Mr. McCain that American lives are being wasted in the war’s escalation. 18 words

No one understands better than Mr. McCain that the war’s escalation wastes American lives. 14 words

By week’s end, we would learn the story of the suspected friendly-fire death of 18-year-old Pvt. Matthew Zeimer, just two hours after assuming his first combat post.

The comma is redundant before the elliptical ([in] just) restrictive prepositional phrase.

The center will not hold, no matter what happens in the Washington standoff over war funding.

The redundant comma cuts off a restrictive (“no matter” =”despite”0 prepositional phrase.

…though he recanted the word wasted after taking flak the morning after.

Words used as words get quotation marks.

1 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

>Not one but two government agencies contradicted Mr. Bush’s claim that he couldn’t sign the spending bill until mid-April.” 19 words<

The claim was not that Bush could not sign the spending bill; the claim was that military equipment would be shortchanged. Even Strunk would object to your omitting the needed words.

8:11 PM  

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