Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Found sentences

Here are a couple of faulty sentences I found recently.

From the Smithsonian catalog, a description of something called Rolling Old World Serving Cart: "Clad in a superb reproduction 16th century map, evocative of map prints and drawings in our Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, guests will delight in its unexpected second role as beverage trolley."

From the Art Institute of Chicago catalog, a description of a book called Piazza: Italy's Heart and Soul: "Gold metal winner of the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards, this impassioned brainchild of Joe Bauwens and Marybeth Flower examines the hub of the Italian cultural experience: the piazza."

In the first case, the "clad" clause is a dangling modifier—the writer obviously didn't mean to say that guests would be clad in a map—and its has no antecedent. In the second case, gold metal should be gold medal.

My guess is that the writer of the first sentence doesn't know his or her grammar. The error in the second sentence is a typographical mistake that wasn't caught in proofreading. In publishing, good proofreading is valued as much as good copyediting, and this sentence helps us see why.

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