Unless the writer or editor pays close attention, a garbled message will leave readers scratching their heads.
A case in point is the sentence below, taken from an opinion piece by two top-level education officials trying to rally support for a bill before the state legislature:
It [the bill] commits to low income youth and their parents in middle school financial aid so they can afford to go to college.
Literally, this sentence says that the parents are in middle school and they need money so that they can afford to go to college.
How to fix it? It seems to me that the most direct approach is to leave the parents out of it. If you have other ideas, I’d be interested in hearing them:
It [the bill] commits the state to provide financial aid to qualified low-income youth in middle school who wish to attend college.
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