Thursday, January 1, 2015

Poor composition (2)

Poor composition can confuse our readers (or listeners).

“Another crippling factor of student loan debt is that it’s not eligible to be discharged by declaring bankruptcy. While not affecting a great number of people, you never know when something catastrophic could come along and you need the fresh start that bankruptcy sometimes provides for those in dire straits.” (Boldface in original) (Source)

The reader looks around for the subect of “affecting” and finally lands on “something.” To me that seems the least illogical of the choices. If that is what the writer meant, I suggest this improvement: “Although it is unlikely, a catastrophe could come along...”

“I feel rejuvenated. I feel excited about this opportunity. In a lot of ways, I feel like it’s my first year all over again in the sense that I feel like I’ve got a new energy. I say that in the positive light in the sense of being reenergized. Situations happen and you get released; it makes you look inside yourself a little bit and really analyze the situations and what could have been handled better. It was a little bit of a hard time when I was in limbo, but now that I’m back learning and working every day, I feel really energized.” (Source)

The listener wonders why the speaker used a lot of words (104, to be precise) to say “I’m happy to be here.”

Thanks to Paul. G. Henning for pointing out the second example.

The Takeaway: Be careful in your composition.

See disclaimer.

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