Oops! Did I Really Write That?

Every fall my husband arranges for a crew to remove inflorescences and dead leaves from the palm trees at our building. Here’s a notice I posted for residents this morning:

About an hour later I realized that I’d made an embarrassing mistake. Did you spot it?

It is one of the trickiest words in the English language. The mistake I made is called an “indefinite pronoun reference.” In plain English, it was pointing to the wrong word. We were asking residents to move their parking spaces, not their cars. Or maybe we wanted them to move their palm trees! (My thanks to Joy Smith for pointing that out.)

Here’s the revised sentence:

If your parking space is near a palm tree, please move your car to visitor parking or Pope Avenue Tuesday morning.  CORRECT

Much better!


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