Find What's Weak, and Make a Tweak

Rob Kyff on

Sentences, like radios, often require fine-tuning. Misplaced modifiers, ambiguous pronoun references and faulty parallelism can create static. How would you tweak each of these sentences to make its signal clear and strong? (One sentence contains no errors.)

1. Thousands of contestants, hoping to find wealth, adventure or to gain fame, try out for reality TV shows each year.

2. No matter what you think of the cellphone, you can't deny that they're convenient.

3. Despite declining audiences, evening news programs have and will continue to be influential in shaping public opinion.

4. Relying on political call-in programs to raise ratings, profits for AM radio stations have soared.

5. The argument between Joe and him, which lasted nearly five minutes, was broadcast in its entirety.


6. Many people scorn cellphones as annoying and intrusive, and their pervasiveness can't be denied.

7. After sitting in a chair all morning during Zoom conferences, I began to question its value.

Problems and Possible Revisions:

1. The phrase "to gain fame" is not parallel with other items in the phrase that begins with "hoping." Tweak: Thousands of contestants, hoping to find wealth, adventure or fame, audition for reality TV shows each year.


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