Usage Exercise (562)

For each sentence, revise a word or phrase to clarify meaning.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: A service in Maryland drives around 4,000 people over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge every year.
Correct : A service in Maryland drives about 4,000 people over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge every year.

Because "drives around" is a colloquial prepositional phrase often used to describe being in a car, the reader may initially understand the two words to mean that people are being "driven around," and the use of both "around" and "over" in the sentence may also confuse readers into thinking that "over" is being used in place of "more than." Therefore, it’s better to use "about," rather than "around," to mean "approximately."

2.
Original: The drop in sales revenue for the company included a 2.6 percent drop in the United States, where people are increasingly heading to places that market their food as more wholesome.
Correct : The drop in sales revenue for the company included a 2.6 percent decrease in the United States, where people are increasingly heading to places that market their food as more wholesome.

Avoid distracting repetition of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and adverbs; in this case, the use of "drop" twice calls undue attention to the word.

3.
Original: A ten-foot fence will be strung across the border to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country.
Correct : A ten-foot fence will be strung along the border to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country.

The fence will presumably not straddle the border at a single point but will rather follow it from one point to another, so "along," not across, is the proper preposition.

4.
Original: I never imagined that a newfound sense of independence would shine through my daughter as blatantly as it did.
Correct : I never imagined that a newfound sense of independence would shine through my daughter as clearly as it did.

"Blatantly" is a pejorative word, suggesting an egregiously obvious act, rather than something readily noticeable but benign.

5.
Original: The Christianity of today is ripe with paganism of the old age.
Correct : The Christianity of today is rife with paganism of the old age.

The sense of "ripe" meaning "full" (as in a reference to the mature state of fruit) is sometimes, as here, used incorrectly in place of "rife," a fairly rare word meaning "abounding," "common," or "prevalent" but with a negative connotation.

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