Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tweety in the slot

Two-graf setup, then the pitch. Ready?

It takes an unusual person to try to flip a town on an auction website. It takes unusual people, too, to buy this isolated place that's surrounded by cattle ranches, vast stretches of evergreens, grazing land and the occasional sagebrush rolling along Highway 20.

On this highway, Wauconda is a pit stop at elevation 3,600 feet, a windy 25 miles east of Tonasket, and 12 miles west of Republic, the nearest towns with actual city streets.

But sold it did, on April 12.

Want to know what it looks like at the originating paper?

But sell it did on April 12.

OK. It's not a very good setup, because it's off target. It's talking about the people, not the conditions of the sale,* so it doesn't give you the contrast you want for the "but sell it did." But at least the writer put the tense on the auxiliary and not on the main verb, because the writer was not Tweety Bird and did not jump up and down going "They did! They did sold a town on April 12!"

Look, we always appreciate having fresh material for class, but seriously. What were you thinking here?

* I'm prepared to be a little slack on the meaning of "surrounded" in some cases, but no -- you cannot be surrounded by an occasional sagebrush.

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