Verb tense affects meaning, plus two additional awkward sentences.

A participant in one of my recent business writing workshops sent me a copy of his hometown newspaper and suggested I might "have fun" proofreading it.  Although proofreading is not the only thing I do for fun, I decided to take his challenge.

Here is my first comment after reading the "Sports" page of The Messenger. This newspaper is published five days a week in Troy, Alabama, and has been providing news in that area for more than 125 years.

Verb tense is important for accurate meaning. Here is a sentence from an article in The Messenger about a recent golf tournament:

After winning their first tournament of the spring season at the Lady Eagle Invitational on March 13, the Troy women's golf team has brought home its second tournament win on Tuesday, April 10.

The past tense (BROUGHT) should be used for events that began in the past and ended in the past. Because this issue of the newspaper was printed on April 12, the second tournament victory on April 10 ended before the newspaper was printed.  The present perfect tense (HAS BROUGHT) should only be used for events that began in the past but are ongoing.  The season may be ongoing, but the second tournament win ended on April 10. Therefore, the sentence should read this way:

After winning their first tournament of the spring season at the Lady Eagle Invitational on March 13, the Troy women's golf team brought home its second tournament win on Tuesday, April 10.

 

In another article on the same page, two sentences caught my eye because of awkward wording.  Here is the first one:

For many, being struck with a line drive in the face would slow the desire to return to the pitching circle.

   A good writer groups   phrases in ways that make reading easy to follow.  In this sentence, IN THE FACE ought to come after STRUCK for clear meaning.  It should read this way:

For many, being struck in the face with a line drive would slow the desire to return to the pitching circle.

 

A few lines later, I came across this sentence:

The batted ball stuck (the girl) in the face breaking a bone near her eye as well as her nose.

This sentence has several problems.  First, the ball STRUCK the girl.  I doubt it actually STUCK to her face. Second, it is usually a good idea to place a comma before an ING phrase that comes after the noun it describes. Third, as written, this sentence makes it sound as if the bone that was broken was near HER EYE AS WELL AS HER NOSE.  Actually, her nose was broken, along with a bone near her eye.  The sentence should read this way:

The batted ball struck (the girl) in the face, breaking her nose as well as a bone near her eye .

I am happy to report that the young lady in this story is now healthy and back on the pitching mound for her school.


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