Chat Write Man Woman

Editing Grand Prix

with 9 comments

Today I ran across a run-on sentence. In my own writing, no less.

By seeing themselves in the roles their class-based education forsees for them: that of filially devoted national subject, guarantor of domestic and therefore civic harmony, and representative of cultural continuity, these girls learn strategies for their personal lives and public habits that will mark them as fully integrated members and representatives of their class, thus assuring the future social and cultural success of not only themselves as individuals but also, due to the power of the domestic and filial bonds in framing this notion of German femininity, of their families as well.

It also has some questionable punctuation.  I shared this monstrosity with a friend. . . and the sports commentary commenced.

Tom: And now, Sam, she appears to be gearing up for a dependent clause. . . oh wait, there she goes. Oh. My. God. A dependent clause within a dependent clause! What language does this woman speak? German??

Sam: I agree with you there, Tom, it looked like she was wrapping it up, like she didn’t have anything left to give and then she wowed us all with a Not Only But Also construction. Truly majestic.

Tom: Those editors are going to have a field day with these run-on sentences. Her training over the next week will really need to focus on precision. Oooh! Check out that blocked clause.

Sam: Wow! That was a close miss on the dangling participle.

Tom: But wait, there she goes again–a behind the back pass and there she is again with a massive sentence replete with Not Only relative, But Also independent clauses.

Sam: She’s down! She’s down! Grabbing her wrist! Let’s hope it isn’t carpal tunnel!

Tom:  Thank god, she’s up again–but it appears she only has the strength left in her to delete a few lines of extraneous prose. Let’s hope she doesn’t inadvertently cut a critical end note.

Sam: Foul! Failure to cite a source!

Tom:  Looks like she’s pulled it off. Only Peer Review, that indefatigable critiquing machine, can stop her now.

(thanks to Donna for inspiration and spirited play-by-play)


Written by Jennifer

July 13, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Posted in German

9 Responses

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  1. I heart this blog.

    Ellen Ruth

    July 13, 2007 at 3:53 pm

  2. Per an article in le New Yorker that I read on the plane back home the other day, J, if one adheres to a strict Chomskian view of language, the gift of recursion, in other words, the ability to nest thoughts infinitely without any regard for giving the reader a fucking break, is what distinguishes our ability to communicate from that of, say, the red deer, which, also per the article, has a descended larynx just like we do, but, last I checked, was unable to speak, which may have more to do with its pea-sized brain than it’s freakin’ larynx, but, hey, I’m just a librarian, so how could I dare challenge the Delphic throne upon which Chomsky sits, clearly satisfied to utter cryptic sound bites that are supposed to be accepted at face value.

    Yes, I meant to do that. Hooray, I’m a higher mammal! Thanks, Noam. If we all talked like this, I’d start hanging with the red deer.


    July 13, 2007 at 4:04 pm

  3. I am humbled to be in the presence of a true grammatical nightmare.


    July 13, 2007 at 4:07 pm

  4. I only stopped because my fingers got tired. After reading that article, I aspire to write a Bernhardesque novel describing the activities of a single day of my life, rife with literary allusions, and with a slightly giddy sense of reality. Has that been done?


    July 13, 2007 at 4:34 pm

  5. Do you talk like that at the dinner table?


    July 16, 2007 at 2:49 pm

  6. Only when we’re trying to confuse the children.


    July 16, 2007 at 3:40 pm

  7. Oh to be a fly on the wall… and then fly away quickly as so my little fly brain doesn’t explode…


    July 16, 2007 at 7:44 pm

  8. They do talk like that at the dinner table, sometimes in German, and it confuses guests as well as children. This is why the guests inevitably end up spending more time chatting with the children than the adults, and leads me to believe that they talk like that solely to procure free minutes of babysitting.


    July 18, 2007 at 12:13 am

  9. I takes my free minutes of babysitting when I gets ’em.


    July 18, 2007 at 9:03 am

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