Redundancy + agreement issue create poor sentence in email.


Jefferson County (the county that includes Birmingham, Alabama) is mired in debt, largely because of poor decisions about sewer issues. Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens, who has responsibility for the county finance department, sent an email recently that included this sentence:

Cooperation and working together   to craft a solution is key as we move forward.  


Let's address the redundancy (a terrible form of wordiness) first. What is COOPERATION? The answer, of course, is WORKING TOGETHER. One or the other, but not both, will do. I would choose WORKING TOGETHER in this sentence because it blends better with TO CRAFT A SOLUTION.

Second, the AND in the subject creates a compound (plural) subject, so the verb should have been ARE rather than IS. However, because I am recommending dropping COOPERATION, the singular verb IS would be correct.

Here is my rewrite of this sentence:


Working together  to craft a solution is key as we move forward. 


I hope my readers agree that this is a much smoother and more efficient sentence.




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