Thursday, April 14, 2005

We go together like ...

I've been seeing this error enough lately that I figure it's worth a post.

When listing a series of things, you don't have to repeat the article if it goes with every noun in the series: She found a cat, dog, parakeet and walrus in her bedroom.

But when the article doesn't work across the board, every noun needs to get its own.
WRONG: The project will include an atrium, garden, swings and fountain.
RIGHT: The project will include an atrium, a garden, swings and a fountain.

An does not go with garden and can therefore not be shared by all the items in the series. You have to make everything parallel.

And watch out especially for a and an switches. Those can sneak up on you.


At 3:59 PM, April 14, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

Similarly, watch out when combining things that take "the" and things that don't. You can write about "the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times" but not "the New York Times, Washington Post and Newsday."

At 9:25 PM, April 14, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

Good timing, Bill. I was just coming back to make a similar point, only with the example of "the United States, United Nations and Europe."

At 5:53 PM, July 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know where you get your grammatical information, but your claim is lame: dropping the article after stating it once is a no-no. Try these:

He owned a house, dog and car.
We'll go to a play, bar, prom and party.
Among his assets were a house, car and half-million dollars.
The bowl contained a banana, pear and apple.

Had enough? These sentences all suck.

At 2:29 PM, September 30, 2011, Blogger yourconscience said...

I don't know who you are... but you are RUDE.

(that was to Heidel)

(to whoever she was referring to)
I will appologize for her... Sorry that people have to lash out and use harsh words when trying to portray their 'apparent' superior level of intelligence.


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