Friday, May 13, 2011

Disgramming party to action stations ...

... NYT correction off the port beam!

A picture caption in some editions on Thursday with the continuation of an article about the potential influence of his wife, Cheri, whom he has married twice, and his family on a decision by Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana about whether to run for president misstated the source of an image promoting a keynote speech.

There's actually a straightforward active subject-verb-object clause -- "caption misstated source" -- amid the welter of prepositional phrases in this 55-word masterpiece. The judges are particularly entranced, though, by the buried antecedent for "his" (does that make it a postcedent?) and the bizarre relative clause.

Clearly that quirk in the Daniels's marital status was pertinent to the story itself. Since it has nothing whatsofreakingever to do with the nature of the error, it looks like piling on in the correction. If you'd like to make the things readable, you could start by omitting genuinely needless words.

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

It's still called an antecedent, but this is "anticipatory anaphora" (sometimes called "backwards anaphora" and sometimes "cataphora").

4:01 PM, May 13, 2011  

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