Monday, August 31, 2009

Awkward Writing

This morning my RSS feed for the Denver Post had the first couple of sentences of an article, "Denver computer guru gives a crash course on PC care":
They have been around for decades, and the American consumer has become completely accustomed to life with a personal computer. So why is it, then, that we keep screwing them up and, in the process, our lives?
Is it just me or is that, if not quite ungrammatical, at least gruesomely awkward?


Sally said...

Somebody is trying to use up the extra commas they picked from the comma tree last week, it seems.

rvman said...

This is just a mess stylistically, and there are a couple of grammar issues.

1) To match pronouns, it should be "life with personal computers".

2) "screwing them up" is somewhat informal for a newspaper.

3) "They" could refer to the American consumer or a personal computer.

4) ", then," could have been omitted with no real change to the sentence.

5) The comma before "then" is completely optional if it must be included.

6) Drop "in the process" after "our lives, and both commas go away.

Tam said...

I wonder if the reporter wrote something more colloquial and a copy editor is to blame for this mess.