Figure of the Day
Quote: “It ranged from a gorgeous personal secretary to Senator Bob Taft (Senior) who was my first true love and we made passionate love in the hayloft of her parents barn in Gallipolis and ended with a drop dead gorgeous red head who was a senior advisor to Peter Lewis at Progressive Insurance in Cleveland.” – Ohio Supreme Court Justice and gubernatorial candidate Bill O’Neill, on Facebook.
Figure: anacoluthon (an-ah-coh-LOO-thon), the sentence with ADD. From the Greek, meaning “lacking consistency.”
Harken, students of English grammar: If you think your studies are unimportant, consider the man who just wrecked his political career on the shoals of a run-on sentence.
Bill O’Neill is sick and tired of all these angry women attacking grope-prone heterosexual males like Senator Al Franken. So O’Neill attempts to win over voters by bragging about shagging “approximately 50 very attractive females.” Boy, that ought to earn this Democrat the women’s vote!
But then, in a drunken perp walk of a sentence, the randy judge includes long-dead Ohio politician Robert Taft among the bevy of sexual conquests.
What put poor Mr. Taft in that hayloft? A pronoun (“who”) with a misplaced antecedent (“Taft”).
As if the sentence hadn’t done enough harm already, it goes on to imply that a “drop dead gorgeous” redheaded insurance executive joined the ancient senator and a merely “gorgeous” secretary in that hayloft.
The lesson: If you find yourself using more than one “and” to connect clauses in a sentence, you probably should turn that one sentence into two sentences. Or three. And whenever you use a pronoun, pair it with a family-friendly antecedent.
Snappy Answer: Senator Taft was drop dead. But was he gorgeous?