Can you find the mistake in the sentence below?
We’re serving vanilla ice cream topped with chopped walnuts and carmel.
Here’s a ghastly sentence I came across recently:
Another dance friend who has not taken lessons in a number of years due to a move expressed this situation with Naomi to be a wake up call for her.
I am not going to say that this mess was created by a terrible writer. I often write sentences almost this bad myself! But here’s the thing. I never let anyone else see them. I fix them.
Here’s my version:
Another dance friend stopped taking lessons when she moved several years ago. Now she’s back on the dance floor. “What happened to Naomi was a wake up call,” she said.
Please, please: express is not a synonym for said or told. You express a feeling. You don’t express a problem with your boss or an insight into your son’s behavior.
And let me throw in a bonus point for you: often the best way to fix a messy sentence is to rewrite it as two or three sentences. That trick worked well today, didn’t it?
Instant Quiz ANSWER
Don’t confuse Carmel (a city in California or a Carmelite monastery) with caramel (a delicious confection).
We’re serving vanilla ice cream topped with chopped walnuts and caramel. CORRECT
Jean Reynolds’ book What Your English Teacher Didn’t Tell You can be purchased from Amazon.com and other online booksellers.
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