The Handbook of Good English by Edward D. Johnson

By Edward D. Johnson

Now considerably revised and up to date, this crucial advisor is prepared in an easy-to-follow, topical sort that takes readers from the principles governing simple sentence constitution to tools of attaining powerful expression.

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Example text

But not, rather than: antithetical constructions not parallel Antithetical constructions are used to state that something is true of one thing but untrue of another. He liked sailing and swimming but not to walk on the beach is faulty parallelism; to walk should be changed to walking. When the untrue item is given first, but not becomes not . . but, and errors of parallelism can occur in the same way they do in correlative constructions, discussed earlier in this rule: He has not gone swimming but sailing omits a desirable repetition of gone, He has gone not swimming but gone sailing undesirably repeats gone, and so on.

But not, rather than: antithetical constructions not parallel Antithetical constructions are used to state that something is true of one thing but untrue of another. He liked sailing and swimming but not to walk on the beach is faulty parallelism; to walk should be changed to walking. When the untrue item is given first, but not becomes not . . but, and errors of parallelism can occur in the same way they do in correlative constructions, discussed earlier in this rule: He has not gone swimming but sailing omits a desirable repetition of gone, He has gone not swimming but gone sailing undesirably repeats gone, and so on.

Nevertheless they are annoying, and text that contains many opportunities for misreading can be profoundly irritating; somewhere below the level of consciousness, our comprehension is continually backing out of blind alleys. The word that is often omitted in such constructions as / believe I'll go home and He said I could stay. These omissions are fine, but sometimes when that is left out it is not clear where it belongs. The expectation is falsely high earnings will be reported could mean either The expectation is that falsely high earnings will be reported or The expectation is falsely high that earnings will be reported.

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