Oiling the Gears – Tutorial No. 4

Thank you for visiting my business writing blog.

Too often writers use an introductory phrase or clause to establish their credentials, then follow it with a subject that does not match.

I’ve highlighted the key word in purple, the subject in blue and the verb in red:

As president of a primary school P&C, it is disappointing to hear of ructions at the Federal level.

The question is whether or not “PRESIDENT” and “IT” are the same thing. Obviously they’re not. “PRESIDENT” refers to the writer, so the sentence should read like this:

As president of a primary school P&C, I am disappointed to hear of ructions at the Federal level.

Here’s the same error, but in reverse. It’s from a paragraph about Jamie Oliver:

As a celebrity and a chef, I applaud his success.

Unfortunately, the writer is neither a celebrity nor a chef. So the sentence needs to be re-written like this:

I applaud his success as a celebrity and a chef.

With the words and phrases in their proper order, the successful celebrity and chef is clearly Jamie Oliver, not the writer.

A similar rule applies when a phrase or clause is tacked onto the end of the sentence. Here’s one about a disgraced Sydney shock jock:

It takes someone with intellect to grapple with an argument, which he clearly lacks.

No radio thug ever lacked an argument. Re-write it like this:

To grapple with an argument takes someone with intellect, which he clearly lacks.

The video tutorial repeats all of this with a voice-over.


About Copymentor

Australian and US copywriter, creative director and author
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