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What's Wrong With This Sentence?


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So, I've begun work on my first novel. As such, I bought a book yesterday titled The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Lukeman is a literary agent from NYC.

 

What I find ironic is this sentence on the very first page: "It is a shame that small-and easily preventable-surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Does anyone else see what I see that is clearly wrong with this sentence?

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Um...can you get your money back?

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So, I've begun work on my first novel. As such, I bought a book yesterday titled The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Lukeman is a literary agent from NYC.

 

What I find ironic is this sentence on the very first page: "It is a shame that small-and easily preventable-surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Does anyone else see what I see that is clearly wrong with this sentence?

 

 

lol, yeah. "And" belongs after the comma. :Doh: Maybe he did that on purpose just to be a funny example?

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oooo, well, it's possible. But I wouldn't bank on it!

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I think I'm going to write a letter to him detailing the many glaring errors I've found in this book.

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W'hats wrng with thes first-centance is tht Noah neeDs a-fuking editer!!!

 

Perhaps he was using that new random hyphen insertion software...

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So, I've begun work on my first novel. As such, I bought a book yesterday titled The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Lukeman is a literary agent from NYC.

 

What I find ironic is this sentence on the very first page: "It is a shame that small-and easily preventable-surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Does anyone else see what I see that is clearly wrong with this sentence?

 

 

lol, yeah. "And" belongs after the comma. :Doh: Maybe he did that on purpose just to be a funny example?

Actually, I don't think it's wrong, but it should probably be a dash and not hyphen. A dash is considered a long comma, and is a strong interruption of the line of thought. You can replace it with comma, and that part makes sense: "It is a shame that small, and easily preventable, surface ...", so dash (or double-hyphen) does work. (I studied this last year, so I'm looking in my textbook at the moment.) But to add a bit, if you can use comma instead of dash, comma is preferred.

 

Here's an example of a proper sentence with dash: "In terms of public legitimation--that is, in terms of garnering support from state legislators, parents, donors, and university administrators--English departments are primarily places where advanced literacy is taught." And you can see that "that is" starts the appositive clause.

 

But I think the "...,can prematurely..." is not a complete or even a proper dependent clause. What is it that "can prematurely prevent you"? I think it would read better if it said: "..., and these errors can prematurely..." Otherwise it's hard to know if it's the shame that prevents you, or the errors, or the book. It's almost like a dangling modifier.

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It's really awkward that he doesn't say, "...and can prevent you from...."

 

It's just so ironic that this mistake appears on the first page and within the context that it does.

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It's really awkward that he doesn't say, "...and can prevent you from...."

 

It's just so ironic that this mistake appears on the first page and within the context that it does.

 

Maybe its deliberately grammatically incorrect to demonstrate his point :grin: .

 

He is right, the first pages are critically important.

 

I hope your book is successful, Panda.

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It's really awkward that he doesn't say, "...and can prevent you from...."

 

It's just so ironic that this mistake appears on the first page and within the context that it does.

Yes, if the sentence read:

 

"It is a shame that small, and easily preventable, surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, and can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Or:

 

"It is a shame that small--easily preventable--surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, and can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

I think it would read easier. But still, I think the sentence should be perhaps made into two, or rewritten. I think it was written in haste, and without a second look.

 

Perhaps this would be better: (no need to repeat "prevent")

 

"It is a shame that small and easily avoidable surface errors can be determinants for an entire book. They can unfortunately prevent you from being taken seriously."

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It's really awkward that he doesn't say, "...and can prevent you from...."

 

It's just so ironic that this mistake appears on the first page and within the context that it does.

 

Maybe its deliberately grammatically incorrect to demonstrate his point :grin: .

 

He is right, the first pages are critically important.

 

I hope your book is successful, Panda.

 

Thank you Deva! I hope it's a huge success! I'm excited about the writing process. I've been waiting for a creative idea like this for YEARS!!! I guess my Muse was on vacation until recently.

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"It is a shame that small-and easily preventable-surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Perhaps technically it's not "incorrect" but it is quite a clumsy sentence.

 

I would write it this way:

 

It's a shame that small and easily preventable surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, and can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously.

 

Good luck on your writing. Use a good proofreader!

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"It is a shame that small-and easily preventable-surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Perhaps technically it's not "incorrect" but it is quite a clumsy sentence.

 

I would write it this way:

 

It's a shame that small and easily preventable surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, and can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously.

 

Good luck on your writing. Use a good proofreader!

 

Thanks and I will. Most of my articles (which can be viewed HERE if you so desire )

went to print without having to be edited simply because I take the time to read and re-read my articles at least fifteen times.

 

I used to be a Features Editor for a small paper which is why it's hard for me to read bad grammar without wanting to pull my hair out.

 

I'm excited about this book!

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There are more than a few glaring errors that I've found in this book. I will write a review on Amazon when I'm finished reading it.

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I'm with Hans and Florduh. It's not technically wrong, but it is a rather sloppy sentence. The comma without a conjunction makes it read kind of like a headline, but being as that's the only arguable indicator it's not supposed to be a normal sentence, it doesn't really work.

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The comma without a conjunction makes it read kind of like a headline,

 

Exactly.

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So, I've begun work on my first novel. As such, I bought a book yesterday titled The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Lukeman is a literary agent from NYC.

 

What I find ironic is this sentence on the very first page: "It is a shame that small-and easily preventable-surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

Does anyone else see what I see that is clearly wrong with this sentence?

 

 

lol, yeah. "And" belongs after the comma. :Doh: Maybe he did that on purpose just to be a funny example?

Actually, I don't think it's wrong, but it should probably be a dash and not hyphen. A dash is considered a long comma, and is a strong interruption of the line of thought. You can replace it with comma, and that part makes sense: "It is a shame that small, and easily preventable, surface ...", so dash (or double-hyphen) does work. (I studied this last year, so I'm looking in my textbook at the moment.) But to add a bit, if you can use comma instead of dash, comma is preferred.

 

Here's an example of a proper sentence with dash: "In terms of public legitimation--that is, in terms of garnering support from state legislators, parents, donors, and university administrators--English departments are primarily places where advanced literacy is taught." And you can see that "that is" starts the appositive clause.

 

 

 

But I think the "...,can prematurely..." is not a complete or even a proper dependent clause. What is it that "can prematurely prevent you"? I think it would read better if it said: "..., and these errors can prematurely..." Otherwise it's hard to know if it's the shame that prevents you, or the errors, or the book. It's almost like a dangling modifier.

 

 

 

That's the part that I was saying needed an "and" after the comma. :grin:

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That's the part that I was saying needed an "and" after the comma. :grin:

Sorry! :HaHa: Brainfart! :fun:

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Yes. It is a very grammatically incorrect sentence. Badly written, and badly edited. Doh! :HaHa:

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Heh, I find that ironic too. I always wince when I catch a typo in a professionally published novel. Where are the editors these days?

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Heh, I find that ironic too. I always wince when I catch a typo in a professionally published novel. Where are the editors these days?

 

Here's one. I am a professional editor (although that is not always apparent from what I post here :shrug:). And I hope I am not being a grammar nazi when I point out that some of the above comments which pose corrected sentence are wrong, too.

 

"It's a shame that small and easily preventable surface errors can be determinants for an entire book, and can prematurely prevent you from being taken seriously."

 

That comma between "book" and "and" does NOT belong there because the clauses are not independent.

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