|Grammatically Correct 1/31/06
A weekly grammar tip created by Academic Center Peer Writing Tutors.
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
|Avoiding Faulty Predication
by David Felts
By avoiding faulty predication, a writer can ensure a piece of writing is clearer and sentences have strong logical connections that allow the reader to easily grasp the intended meaning.
So what is faulty predication?
Faulty predication occurs when the subject and the predicate of a sentence do not logically connect. Here are a couple of examples:
Faulty: One of the books I read believes in seeking atonement. [A person, not a thing, believes.]
Revised: The author of a book I read believes in seeking atonement.
Faulty: An example of abuse is a parent, especially a parent hitting a child. [It is the hitting, not the parent, that is an example of abuse.]
Revised: An example of abuse is a parent's hitting a child.
Though this type of faulty predication is hard to spot, you might try reading each sentence by itself and looking for logical connections. Also, consider having somebody else read the writing and see if this person becomes confused by certain sentences. Here are some more constructions of faulty predication that are easier to spot.
Faulty predication can also be found in an illogical use of is-when, is-where, and the-reason-is-because constructions. Here are some examples:
Faulty: An interview is when a formal meeting of two or more people and contains a conversation.
Revised: An interview is a formal meeting of two or more people is in person and contains a conversation.
Faulty: Jailing a man is where he is put in jail or prison.
Revised: Jailing a man is putting him in jail or prison.
Faulty: The reason Scott did not show up is because his mother was sick.
Revised: Scott did not show up because his mother was sick. Or The reason Scott did not show up was his mother’s sickness.
These types of faulty predication are easier to spot because you only need to look for is-when, is-where, and the-reason-is-because constructions and check to see if they make sense.
|Recommended Grammar Website of the Week
by David Felts
Along with our own website, www.uhv.edu/ac, we are recommending the following site: 11 Rules of Writing. This concise website covers 11 rules of writing and provides links to each rule to explain. Visit 11 Rules of Writing at http://www.junketstudies.com/rulesofw/.
|Test Your Knowledge
by David Felts
Test your understanding by correcting the following sentences.
1. Exiling a person is where that person is cast out of a group or community.
2. The reason she didn’t go to the store is because she had class.
3. A logical fallacy is when a person uses incorrect reasoning.
4. The paper I read for my class conceived a new theory.
1. Exiling a person is casting that person out of a group or community.
2. She didn’t go to the store because she had class.
3. A logical fallacy occurs when a person uses incorrect reasoning.
4. The author of the paper I read for my class conceived a new theory.
[Note that these answers may differ from yours, and yours may still be correct. Just remember to check to make sure the predicate describes the subject of the sentence in a logical way.]
Comments about this newsletter should be directed to Summer Leibensperger, email@example.com.