Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Coordination fail

There are a couple of ways to do this deck hed right.* Here, it looks as if the copy editor got caught in the headlights and jumped the wrong way.

The tripping point is the relationship between the "move" verb and "killings." You could "move beyond" the killings, in which case the second comma would make the coordination clear: the survivors have moved beyond the killings, but they haven't forgotten the killings. But "move on" doesn't take the direct object in this sense. To say that the survivors have moved on but haven't forgotten the killings, you'd need to leave out the second comma.

So somebody committed some grammar on an innocent hed without doing a back-of-the-envelope sketch to see if all the parts went together correctly? Sounds like it. Dispatch folks might want to spend a little less time obsessing about hyphenating things that look like compounds and a little more on diagramming.

* This is the print version. Online, it's fine: "Survivors have moved on, but not forgotten." You'd do better to leave out the comma, but it doesn't cause confusion where it is.

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

They've moved on the killings sounds rather ominous, as if the lynch parties have gathered.

10:22 AM, December 09, 2009  

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