Example: Because the candidate has great name recognition, he’s very familiar to the electorate.
Problem: The statement is circular because having great name recognition means being very familiar.
Correction: The electorate is very familiar with the candidate.
Example: If Ed Sullivan would have had black performers on his show in the 1950s, his ratings would have risen among minority viewers.
Problem: If and would have are both conditional. They both mean in case or on the condition that. Never use would in an if clause.
Correction: If Ed Sullivan had had black performers on his show in the 1950s, his ratings would have risen among minority viewers.
Note: had had is neither a typo nor a stutter — it is the correct way to indicate the past perfect of the verb to have.
Example: We’re still in a big struggle against Islamic extremism as a country.
Problem: As a country is misplaced.
Correction: As a country, we’re still in a big struggle against Islamic extremism.
The big news was Attorney General Eric Holder stepping down.
Problem: Doesn’t use a possessive in front of a gerund. See Chapter 8.
Correction: The big news was Attorney General Eric Holder’s stepping down.
Last year I gave a concert of all the Chopin études in Nebraska.
EXPLANATION: In Nebraska is misplaced.
CORRECTION: Last year in Nebraska, I gave a concert of all the Chopin études.
Female unemployment is five times higher than men in Saudi Arabia.
EXPLANATION: UNEMPLOYMENT is being compared to MEN.
CORRECTION: Female unemployment is five times higher than men’s in Saudi Arabia.
- They almost love him as much as we do.
Correction: They love him almost as much as we do.
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