Friday, 26 August 2011

For the Want of a Comma

The sentence beginning, 'There are no rallies ...' is entirely ambiguous. I imagine that the writer is saying that the reason there are no rallies or complaints is that most men have escaped 'this cultural curse', but, without a comma before 'because', the sentence could just as easily mean that Dior Homme does make size 40 waist jeans, but not because most men have escaped:

When using 'because' a good rule of thumb is to think about these two sentences: 1. I knew she'd been crying because she looked ugly - in this one her ugliness has provoked her tears. 2. I knew she'd been crying, because she looked ugly - in this, her ugliness is caused by her tears.


  1. The first sentence is also a disaster. If it makes sense to you, then you've managed to make the mental leap between the verb 'confused' and the absent noun, 'confusion'.

    Confused by my comment? I don't blame you. If I weren't so confused myself, I could have explained that more clearly, I'm sure....

  2. I thought it was just me - I'm glad you thought so too.

  3. You'll love this... or hate it. Either way, it's a disaster.

  4. The last part is easy to read as if the 40-inch waist were a cultural curse, but one that most men avoid. (Through the services of a cultural exercist, no doubt.)

    I do like the notion of rallies for plus-size male models. I'm thinking we should start with retired NFL linemen in Mini Coopers or Mazda Miatas.

  5. Sort of love/hate really, M-H. Thank you.
    I look forward to news of these events in the Washington Post before too long, George