Saturday, August 25, 2007

Advance to the rear

Yet another alleged wordsmith is trapped in the web of parallel structure faults:

He thought it was a bumblebee. But then it stopped, and hovered. It backed up, then forward -- and flew off.

What's happening in the last sentence? Well, unless "forward" is a verb (in which case it'd have to be "forwarded"), we have a compound predicate with two verbs, "back up" and "fly off." Throw in the "then" and the little demon is backing forward -- quite a feat, even for the ruby-throated.

Don't be misled. Use the rules or the rules will use you. Even if you're a designated prose star.

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