or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Grimly Inevitable

I just realized that reading Slate is like watching a horror movie through your fingers with the assumption that something awful will lunge out at you when you least expect it. You'd think I'd read Slate a sense of miserable resignation after all these years, but no, it's like Samuel Johnson's definition of a second marriage, the triumph of hope over experience.

Parallel structure is not that hard to master, but we still end up with ghastly sentences like this one from a story about the Tony Awards:

Margaret and Jackie are stubborn, proud, and cling to a sense that they are good people, even when they aren't.

The rule is simple: if you compose your sentence so that a verb is explicitly used for the first element of a list and then implied for the second, then by god you have to imply it for the rest of the elements in the list, too, and if you can't do that, then you have to recompose your sentence to introduce the new verb correctly. Like so:

Margaret and Jackie are stubborn and proud, and cling to a sense that they are good people, even when they aren't.

Now how hard was that?

And this gem from a piece about the new Jodie Foster movie:

In the production notes for The Beaver, the film's "austere palate" is mentioned.

Unless the movie eats like an Anchorite, I am willing to bet that the production notes mentioned instead the film's austere palette. I have been over this palate/palette/pallet mixup before, and as I said the last time, "it's always Slate, isn't it?" And it always is.


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