Monday, October 11, 2010

Faulty Parallel in My Paper

It's surprising how seldom I notice faulty parallels in print. But here's one from today's L.A. Times:

In animal studies, they have been shown to cause cancer, liver toxicity and
interfere with growth and development.
The list is set up as parallel items that attach to "cause": "... cause cancer, (cause) liver toxicity ..." But the third item in the list has its own verb, meaning it doesn't attach right: "... to cause cancer, (cause) liver toxicity and (cause) interfere with growth ..."

Oops.

Best solution is to break up the list form:

In animal studies, they have been shown to cause cancer and liver toxicity and
to interfere with growth and development.
(Side note: Sorry I've been absent lately. Crazy, crazy schedule stuff.)

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2 comments:

topher said...

Alternatively, couldn't we just say interference instead of interfere?

I am so glad you're back. A law school professor recommended a copy of grammar snobs in a legal writing class a couple of years back and I've followed your stuff ever since. I was a creative writer trapped in a law student's body and it was making my legal writing borderline incomprehensible.

June Casagrande said...

"I was a creative writer trapped in a law student's body."

I love that. Does that also mean "a poor person trapped in a soon-to-be-rich person's body"?

Either way, a very interesting conflict! I hope the two have made peace.

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