Number Contest Winner

The winner is Dina Roberts. You can get to know her at her blog, Let Them Eat Corn. Congratulations, Dina!

Here is the sentence that needed work:

In his office, there was a fax machine, two four-drawer file cabinets, and an old tangerine-colored iMac.

And this is how Dina fixed it:

In his office, there were a fax machine, two four-drawer file cabinets, and an old tangerine-colored Mac.

Dina changed the singular verb was to the plural verb were, because the subject is plural (fax machine, two four-drawer file cabinets, and an old tangerine-colored iMac.

When the subject follows the verb in a sentence, and it’s difficult to see what’s what, reversing the order often helps:

A fax machine, two four-drawer file cabinets, and an old tangerine-colored Mac was in his office.

Sounds funny, doesn’t it? That’s because with the subject first, it’s glaringly obvious that it’s plural and needs a plural verb.

Dina also made another change:

I changed iMac to Mac because in the Mac world, Macs are already older than iMacs.

That’s fine, but I’d leave it alone. Specificity gives writing substance and creates a visual image–in this case, the very specific visual image of an old tangerine-colored iMac.

And if the only tangerine-colored Macs are iMacs, that’s all the more reason to let iMac stand.

Cheers,
Tara Treasurefield
Tara’s Writing Studio

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
This entry was posted in parts of speech, plural, singular, subject, verb. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Number Contest Winner

  1. little sister says:

    Well I sit humbled AND honored, Tara! Thanks!

    I also have a wordpress blog and will be sure to add you to my blogroll. I look forward to reading more tips and participating in more contests!

    Dina

  2. 123clear says:

    Thank you, Dina.

    Tara

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