Monday, September 20, 2010

A celebrity’s clumsy sentence….

I read a clumsy sentence on the blog of a celebrity yesterday:

‘They were angry and said things like I’m teaching women wrong things by saying they have the choice to walk out of their husband’s home if they are cheated upon.‘

You can find the above sentence on this link: http://www.itimes.com/public/shabanaazmi/blog/Remembering-Arth

The sentence is a case of spoken English. If this sounds euphemistic, I should directly say that it is a case of clumsy writing.

Following are the errors:

1.   Use of “like” as a conjunction.

The sentence has used “like’” as a conjunction. Using “like” as a conjunction is common in conversation.

“They were angry and said things.”  This is one sentence.

“I am teaching women wrong things by saying they have the choice to walk out of their husband’s home if they are cheated upon.” This is the other sentence.

“Like” has joined these two sentences.

Is this correct?

No. The sophisticated reader may not like the use of “like” as a conjunction.

2.   Use of “things”

The ‘wild’ use of “things” in the sentence is a casual approach towards writing. In stead of “I am teaching women wrong things’, one can say “I am promoting a wrong practice”, which may sound formal but not clumsy.

3.   Use of “they” too many times.

The sentence has used the word “they” three times. The first “they” is referred to the word “men” used in the previous sentence. The second “they” is referred to “women.”  The last “they” is also referred to “women”.  This can confuse the reader. The reader might feel that the second ‘they’ is referred again to the word ‘men’ used in the previous sentence.


An attempt to ‘massage’ the sentence….

They were angry and said that I was promoting a wrong practice by encouraging women to leave their husbands after being cheated on.

Or

They were angry as they felt I was promoting a wrong practice by encouraging women to leave their disloyal husbands.


3 comments:

  1. Good one Sirish...may be celebrities need a lesson on compound and complex sentences!!!

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  2. very good Shirish...you are stirring us from our blindly reading. Thanks for that!

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  3. That's a good one. Seems you have an eye for grammar. I guess this is was an example of how we Indians think in our mother tongue and then do a direct conversion to English. Notice the use of "bad things" (or "buri cheezein") as we use in Hindi.

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