3 More Sentences Lacking One Word to Be Correct
Often, when readers stumble on a faultily constructed sentence, the obstacle is merely one seemingly inconsequential word—or, more accurately, the omission of what is actually an essential component of the sentence. In each example below, one missing word throws off the sentence. Discussion and a revision point the way to a coherent statement.
1. Management’s assumptions about markets, customers, competition, technology, regulatory and other external factors are fundamentals that shape the organization’s strategy.
This sentence is constructed as if regulatory and “other external factors” are distinct list items, but they are actually part of the same unit—regulatory and “other external” each modifies factors, so the sentence must be slightly reorganized to reflect that fact: “Management’s assumptions about markets, customers, competition, technology, and regulatory and other external factors are fundamentals that shape the organization’s strategy.”
2. What has worked in the past can and will change by the season, day, or even the hour.
The article the before season can carry the weight of all three nouns that follow it (“What has worked in the past can and will change by the season, day, or even hour”), but the sentence flows better if each noun is assigned its own article: “What has worked in the past can and will change by the season, the day, or even the hour.” Revising the sentence to reflect one alternative or the other is necessary, because if all three nouns do not share one article, day must, like the others, have its own.
3. The above list is not intended to be all-inclusive or suggest that companies not take advantage of resources.
The sentence syntax dictates that what precedes or and what follows it be equivalent, so each phrase should be preceded by the infinitive to; otherwise, the implication is that the reader is to understand that the equivalents are “be all-inclusive” and “be suggest”: “The above list is not intended to be all-inclusive or to suggest that companies not take advantage of resources.”
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