Can you correct the error in the sentence below? Scroll to the bottom of today’s post for the answer.
Grace has been pouring over that book ever since the librarian found it for her.
I love to think – and talk – about sentences. Writers quite naturally want to talk about big concepts: unity, coherence, emphasis, and the like. I prefer to get up-close-and-personal with a sentence. I think that’s where great writing happens.
Let’s edit a sentence today:
Protein, as well as vitamins A and C, abounds.
It’s correct. But I don’t like it. I think readers are going to stumble when they come to abounds. Shouldn’t it be abound?
Nope. The sentence is saying that protein…abounds.
“As well as vitamins A and C” is extra. You drop your voice. Those vitamins don’t really count. (Read the sentence aloud – you’ll hear that it’s really about protein.)
I have a rule (okay, I made it up) that if a sentence sounds odd, you should change it. So here’s my version:
Protein and vitamins A and C abound. CORRECT
Elegant and easy! (Isn’t that what we’re aiming for when we write?)
It’s always a good idea to take an extra minute or two to edit a sentence. Those small changes add up!
Instant Quiz ANSWER
Be careful not to confuse pour and pore. Grace has been poring over her book:
She’s been poring over that book ever since the librarian found it for her. CORRECT
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