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Proximity misconjugation
Friday, April 27, 2007   11:46 AM

Corrected two instances of proximity misconjugation the other day. Stuff like this:

*The pizzas available this coming month at Giovanni's looks delicious.

See how look is grabbing the conjugation from the nearest noun? I don't know about you, but this lazy verb breaks the flow of the sentence sufficiently to be WTF for me. Often sentences with promixity misconjugation are longer than my ridiculous example, but, well, I can still remember that subject from a dozen words ago.

It almost seems like this is the opposite of the dangling modifier problem, which usually occurs when the writer doesn't realize that there's a closer subject for the modifier to latch onto.

I wonder if there's a negative correlation in the occurrence of these two error types. I'll try and remember to look around the next time I get some messy QA editor work.


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