Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Scheckner sighed

I often like to show sentences or paragraphs that I think need editing; here are a few of them.

* This was found online -- “We’ve just outgrown this place,” Mr. Scheckner sighed. No, he didn't sigh it; he said it. It might work better as ...," Mr. Schneckner said with a sigh.

* Got this from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- Atlanta's five-game losing skid has likely diminished the team's postseason chances. You can't have a winning skid, so Atlanta's five-game skid... should work just fine. ... Ten-times NBA All Star guard Allen Iverson, currently a free agent, said on Wednesday he was moving to the Memphis Grizzlies. Iverson is a 10-time all-star, not 10-times.

* In 17 seasons at Tennessee, proved he could compete with the best in the business. I think you need to add he after the comma. In 17 seasons at Tennessee, he proved...

* “You never know in life, this might be my last win as a golfer,” Yang, smiling, said through an interpreter. That's the newspaper's style, but it's awkward. The last part of that would read better as ," a smiling Yang said through an interpreter.

* The headline Buccaneers’ Williams Ready to Roll After Second Knee Injury in Two Years is okay, but you have to realize that Carnell Williams' nickname is Cadillac. You might change that head to Buccaneers’ Cadillac Ready to Roll After Second Knee Injury in Two Years. A lot of newspapers won't use nicknames or first names in a headline, though.

* But when the Dolphins need to convert a critical third-and-8 play, whom will defenses worry about? Whom or who? To my ear, it's who.

* I found this in an online story -- Pugh and her husband, Gary Michael Pugh, are expecting their first child. The baby is due in March. That's fine, but you could just say that Pugh and her husband, Gary Michael Pugh, are expecting their first child in March.

* I also found this on a different web site -- Lynn Hickey, the Texas-San Antonio athletic director, said, “It’s like we have our own little rock star.” I don't like the way they broke up the attribution. They started the sentence that way because there's a quote from another person above it. It would read better to start with the quote and finish with ," said Hickey, the Texas-San Antonio athletic director.

* Check out this sentence from a 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 and meandering. Schwartz isn't the progeny of Jeff Fisher and Bill Belichick; he worked for and with them. They were his mentors; he was their protege. It's interesting to see ultracompetent and self-flagellation in 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.

* 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.

* Normally, I don't mind adding information to a direct quotation. "It was a great year for (head coach) Joe Schmoe," said John Doe, Schmoe's assistant.

But I found this quote on Thursday: "He’s in [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Bill Parcells’ office every day, changing player names who are waived, signed, or what have you," Leo Howe said. “He didn’t want to coach, he wanted to be in the front office."

That is too much. I might take out the bracketed part and change the attribution to ," Leo Howe said of the Miami Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations. And that last sentence might be better as "He didn't want to coach; he wanted to be in the front office."

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