Assorted Grammatical Problems Exercise (675)

In each sentence, identify and correct the grammatical error.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Hailing from Kentucky, Jim’s songwriting and guitar playing grow out of his deep roots in that place.
Correct : Jim hails from Kentucky, and his songwriting and guitar playing grow out of his deep roots in that place.

This sentence identifies Jim’s songwriting and guitar playing, rather than Jim himself, as hailing from Kentucky.

2.
Original: Elegantly Victorian in costume and demeanor, Smith found their politeness and grace especially unsettling.
Correct : They were elegantly Victorian in costume and demeanor, and Smith found their politeness and grace especially unsettling.

This sentence suggests that Smith is elegantly Victorian in costume and demeanor, but those qualities belong to subjects who are only obliquely referred to; he is merely observing them, and the subjects must be clearly presented as the subject of the sentence.

3.
Original: Whether or not dreams have an evolutionary function is still a matter of speculation.
Correct : Whether dreams have an evolutionary function is still a matter of speculation.

Because "whether" implies contrasting choices, "or not" is superfluous.

4.
Original: These variants can increase a person’s lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer and can also increase the risk of developing other cancers.
Correct : These variants can increase a person’s lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer and can increase the risk of developing other cancers.

"Also" is redundant to "and."

5.
Original: I suspect my childhood experience helped me develop that sensitivity.
Correct : I suspect that my childhood experience helped me develop that sensitivity.

The original version of this sentence is not technically incorrect, but the insertion of "that" is preferable; "I suspect" followed by a noun or pronoun sets up the impression that a person will be called out as the perpetrator of a crime or other injustice, while the more relaxed phrase "I suspect that [noun or pronoun]" signals that the statement to follow is a conjecture rather than an accusation.

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