3 Examples of Interpolated Coordination

By Mark Nichol - 2 minute read

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When a phrase provides comparative or correlative information to supplement information appearing in the main clause of a sentence, it must be integrated into the sentence without disrupting the syntax. In each of the following sentences, this integration is flawed. Discussions following the examples explain the problem, and revisions demonstrate the solution.

1. Understanding interrelated impacts may be as important, if not more so, than managing individual risks.

When incorporating interpolated coordination into a sentence, always test the insertion to confirm that the sentence is correctly constructed by temporarily omitting the parenthesis. If the main clause is not syntactically valid, revise the sentence so that it is. Here, “. . . as important . . . than . . .” reveals a flaw. The conjunction as must follow important, and than must be incorporated into the parenthesis: “Understanding interrelated impacts may be as important as, if not more so than, managing individual risks.” (Better yet, replace so with a reiteration of important.)

2. This recognition owes mostly to the waterway’s status as one of, if not the largest creeks hosting Coho salmon in the state.

In this case, the parenthesis has no closing punctuation, but no matter where a second comma is inserted, the sentence does not work, because “if not” must follow, not precede, “the largest creeks,” and the notion must be reiterated within the parenthesis, as shown here: “This recognition owes mostly to the waterway’s status as one of the largest creeks, if not the largest, hosting Coho salmon in the state.”

3. Our team made a trip to discuss and educate the client on the software application and provide insights for its implementation.

This sentence does not work as constructed because, without parenthetical punctuation, the reader reads “Our team made a trip to discuss . . . on the software application. . . .” To resolve the problem, treat “and educate the client on” as an interjection, as shown in this revision: “Our team made a trip to discuss, and educate the client on, the software application and provide insights for its implementation.


2 Responses to “3 Examples of Interpolated Coordination”

  • Richard Wheeler

    I see that I used “predicate clause” incorrectly. I should have looked it up before hitting Post.

  • Richard Wheeler

    Thank you for this. Great examples.

    I struggled with the third example. It has another layer of problems.

    1. Alongside “educate” and “provide insights,” “discuss” seems superfluous.
    2. Three predicates joined by “and” comprise a run-on sentence.
    3. Because the parenthetical clause interrupts the sentence, “to” does not distribute to “educate” and “provide.”(*) This compounds the lack of parallelism between the predicate clauses.

    I would rewrite the sentence, “Our team made a trip to educate the client on the software application and to provide insights for its implementation.”

    *Is there a grammatical term analogous to algebra’s “distributive property?”

    a * (b + c) = a * b + a * c
    to {discuss and educate} = to discuss and to educate

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