Bring Back the Copyeditors, Part II

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Back when I was a cub reporter and every kid had to walk five miles in the snow to go to school in a little red shack at the far end of the earth, copyeditors reigned supreme at newspapers, and there’s no way I could’ve gotten away with what T.J. Simes did Saturday in the Los Angeles Times.

Simers, a sarcastic (he would no doubt prefer sardonic) sports columnist, was ripping apart the UCLA Bruins football team and their quarterback, Kevin Craft, when he wrote:

And so watching Kevin Craft play quarterback for the Bruins on Friday night, while amusing in its oddity and folly, it became painful to watch.

Granted, this was only in the print edition, and someone corrected it online, but note that Simers has two subjects for one verb.  The first–and the actually intended–subject is watching, which is a gerund (verb turned into a noun).  The second subject is it, which immediately precedes the verb became.  The inclusion of it just renders the sentence awakward, grammatically incorrect and harder to understand.

The fact, however, that someone caught the error means that the column was probably rushed to print to make the deadline, but still, no excuses, folks.

(I wonder if some copyeditor actually added the it and then someone, perhaps Simers, caught it and had it corrected online.  That would be even worse!)

Categories: Grammar Sucks

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