Simple, clear help for your writing problems

Archives for September, 2009

Here’s a sentence written by someone with writing problems. I found it in a report about broadband connectivity. Can you see a problem?

Our employees pop an AT&T card into their laptop computers, and they have instant connectivity.

The Problem There are two problems, though one is minor; I wouldn’t fix it.

Problem #1 The sentence is careless about quantity. It talks about many: Our employees getting instant connectivity with their computers. However, all those employees have only one AT&T card.

Solution #1 Employees need cards, not a card. The sentence should read as follows:

Our employees pop AT&T cards into their laptop computers…

Problem #2 By its end, the sentence is talking about employees and laptops. So, the statement they have instant connectivity is unclear. Do the employees or the laptops have connectivity?

Fortunately, it would be acceptable to say that the employees had instant connectivity or that the laptops had it… so it’s OK to let the ambiguity stand.

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