Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ultracompetent and self-flagellation

NY Times story: But as the Lions prepare for their home opener Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings with one blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints already in their pockets, Schwartz, the progeny of ultracompetent football mentors like Jeff Fisher and Bill Belichick, has been plunged into an alternate universe, where the Lions have struggled for so long that one fan compared watching games to self-flagellation.

First, the sentence is WAY too long. It's meandering. Schwartz isn't the progeny of Jeff Fisher and Bill Belichick; he worked for and with them. They were his mentors. It's interesting to see ultracompetent and self-flagellation on a story about pro football. The writer packed a lot of information into one sentence. I think she reached too far. But that's why we have editors. Or need them.

Spell check, by the way, prefers ultra-competent.

Da Vinci editing: If you like to find fault with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, you might look up this story from the Telegraph. It gives the 20 worst sentences from Dan Brown, plus explanations of why they're bad.

Needs editing: The Atlanta Journal's web site has a headline that says "Jackets lose first game of season." The problem is that Georgia Tech didn't lose the first game of the season. It suffered its first loss of the season.

Contact: I can be reached at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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