"Far too few of [Texas's] high-school graduates are actually prepared to go to college," [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan told Bloomberg's Al Hunt. " feel very, very badly [read bad] for the children there.
"With a linking verb such as is, feels, seems, or tastes, the predicate adjective bad is required, not the adverbial complement badly . . . ." Garner 81.
A Few Maybachs Isn't (read Aren't) Enough. (Jump headline, Wall Street Journal (wsj.com), August 8, 2011)
But a decade after Evans' [read Evans's] draft-night snub . . . . (From the same article)
"To form a singular possessive, add -'s to most singular nouns -- even those ending in -s, -ss, and -x (hence Jones's, Nichols's, witness's, Vitex's)." Garner 624. In fairness, journalism stylebooks typically favor Evans'. In this, journalism stylebooks are wrong.
Such political recognition is the beginning of the American system correcting [read American system's correcting] its mistakes. (Editorial, "A Downgrade Awakening," Wall Street Journal (wsj.com), August 9, 2011)
This is an old rule, all but dead, but let's salute it here. Correcting its mistakes is a gerund phrase -- a noun form constructed on the verb correct. If this had been an ordinary noun, we would all agree that the possessive case was appropriate: the American system's constitutional design. Since the gerund phrase operates as a noun, it also requires -- in theory, though rarely in practice -- the possessive case.
ERCOT officials have been reluctant to allow wholesale power prices to surge for significant periods of time [read for significant periods], however, in part because of the backlash against past spikes. (Tom Fowler, "More woes loom for electric grid," Houston Chronicle (chron.com), August 25, 2011)
Garner classifies this under verbosity. "Period of time is usualy unnecessary in place of either period or time." (Garner 599). I call it redundancy because period in this context means a portion or interval of time. So significant period of time translates as significant portion or interval of time of time.
And while we're on this sentence, some editor should have asked, "What kind of backlash?" Public backlash?
"Far too few of [Texas's] high-school graduates are actually prepared to go to college," [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan told Bloomberg's Al Hunt. " feel very, very badly [read bad; omit very, very] for the children there.
"This intensifier [very], which functions both as an adjective and an adverb, surfaces repeatedly in flabby writing. In almost every context in which it appears, its omission would result in at most a negligible loss." Garner 816.
THREE THINGS are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin (Proverbs 30:18-19 (ESV).