SOME COMMON DISORDERS OF WRITING

IS YOUR GRAMMAR HEALTHY?  Writers need to be alert to symptoms of the following ailments:

PRONOUN PERPLEXUS:
–Hurrying down the street, Bill saw the red car coming toward the corner but he couldn’t slow down.  While he was running for the bus, it ran over him.
Who couldn’t stop?  Which vehicle ran over Bill?

– While millions of people are starving, they are raking in money right and left.  So why are “they” starving?

VERB-ADDLEMENT:
– Sign seen in foreign restaurant:  The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

– I’ve been in bed with this same doctor for three months and he hasn’t been able to find my problem.

CURVATURE OF THE CLAUSE:
– Turkeys for sale by owner, plump and ready to eat.

– The players watched the ball sail into the bleachers, standing with their mouths open.

– She finally got the pot clean by using very hot water that had soaked for three days.

– A great fish swallowed Jonah who swam for three days and finally spit him out.  Hopefully the reader knows from the Bible account who swam & who spit out.

Copied from a local newspaper: The band’s drummer broke his leg in a skiing accident in BC so they had to send back to Michigan for a new one.
So if you’re in need of a new leg, they’re available in MI.

MODIFIER MYSTEROSIS:
– She volunteered to help me bake buns at the hockey game.
She offered at the hockey game; the buns were baked at my house.

– She offered to drive him to the doctor recklessly when she had no car.

– You read the obituary hopefully and know she died last week.  Does one read an obituary hopefully?

– While we were having lunch on our map we saw we’d taken a wrong turn.  And spilled ketchup on Saskatoon? Next time use paper plates.

“LIMITING MODIFIER” LIMP:
– It snows in December usually blanketing the ground.  Usually snows or usually blankets?

– He threatened to shoot my dog many times because it chased his cows.  Wouldn’t once be enough?

– They decided nearly to have another child.  Let’s go for six months but not all nine!

– She almost washed all the clothes.  Washed almost all…

– Her remark gave me the impression that Mom only meant to stay a day.  Or did Mom mean to stay only a day?

CLAUSE-TROPHOBIA:

– Lost in the shuffle between brain and paper, I’m missing some nouns and verbs.

–Having driven for fifty years, I fell asleep at the wheel one morning and rolled my car.  A little nap surely would have saved the day.

–Breaking one leg and two toes, the maple tree crashed down on Jim.  Do we call a doctor or a tree surgeon?

– While driving late one night, a deer dashed in front of my car.  Was it driving while under the influence?

– After robbing the bank, I was forced at gunpoint to drive the man to the Bus Depot.  I’ll never rob another bank.

– While waiting for the baby to be born, my grandmother decided to pay me a visit.  Undoubtedly both were waiting, but who was actually having the baby?

And here’s my all time favourite, from the letter of a mother reporting her new babies to her welfare worker:
– According to your instructions, I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.

WHODUNNIT-ITIS?
– Searching the woods for mushrooms, a wolf ran right in front of me.  Do wolves eat mushrooms?

– By the time they’d played the fourth inning, 3 home runs were chalked up.

– Going three streets down, the restaurant can be found at the corner.

– Looking through his binoculars, the fox dashed through the trees.

– Standing on the sidewalk watching the traffic, the truck ran into three other cars.

FIRST AID TREATMENT: Begin with infusion of pertinent INFO
As in:
–The tree fell, breaking … of the man who cut it down.
– The team had played four innings…they’d chalked up…
– If you go three streets down, you will find…
– The hunter was looking through his binoculars…
– While I was standing on the sidewalk…I saw the truck run into…

Happy writing, everyone!

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