Re: RE: Bad sentence #2

Subject: Re: RE: Bad sentence #2
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tritech -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 29 May 2015 14:29:12 -0500 (CDT)

Thanks, Lynn.
I'm just an old grammar nerd, and it bugs me that I can no longer
explain exactly what the problem is in traditional grammatical terms. I
must dig out the textbooks I used to teach from, long ago, and
reacquaint myself with the correct terms! I suppose it would amuse my
students to see me now . . .
--Nancy


On 05/29/15, Lynne Wright<Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tritech -dot- com> wrote:

As an editor, I personally wouldn't bother coming up with grammatical
justifications for why it's a bad sentence.
The real problem is that the writer either doesn't understand what they
are trying to explain; and/or they don't know the correct terminology
to use (what the hedge are "USB communications"? What do they mean by
"instrument"? "Device?").... Its hard to parse the sentence when I
can't figure out what they're talking about.
I'd just say that its too wordy and convoluted and needs to be
re-written so that its simple, clear, and in active voice.
And then provide the solution, something like:
Install the latest USB drivers for v 4.1 firmware to enable external
devices, such as a wireless mouse.
-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynn[1]e -dot- wright=tritech -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[[2]mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tritech -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
] On Behalf Of Nancy Allison
Sent: May-29-15 3:07 PM
To: [3]techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Bad sentence #2
"In order to use USB communications to control the instrument running
v. 4.1 firmware, the latest USB drivers must be installed."
No dangling participle. Just . . . what?
"In order to use USB communications to control the instrument running
v. 4.1 firmware" is an introductory phrase providing a reason. It's not
a clause because there is no subject.
Friends, give me your best grammatical analysis. Thirty years ago, when
I was teaching English as a Second Language, I could have whipped that
sentence apart and explained its construction with gimlet-eyed
precision. Now, quite literally, words fail!
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