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The Worst Phrase I Never Fixed

Came across this in my copy editing today:

"Taking a leading role in putting a fresh face on this world-famous celebrity mecca ..."

Of the first six words, three are "ing" forms. Yuck, yuck, and yuck. And the utter hollowness of "taking a role in putting" deeply offends my editing sensibilities.

I thought about just chopping off the first five words and starting with "putting." That would make a better sentence, but it would also change the writer's meaning.

So, taking a leading role in holding my nose, I left the phrase untouched.

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You Great Big Meanie, you! I

You Great Big Meanie, you!

I once read an insurance policy that was full of ing's...but that wasn't the worst part. After I got finished diagramming the sentence, it turned out to be nothing but a subordinate clause with no antecedent. The actual text of the policy said NOTHING! It was so skilfully crafted, I think this was intentional.


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That's so wrong

I sometimes see those in articles I'm editing -- sentences that turn out to be just subordinate clauses. But they're clearly mistakes. In an insurance policy, though, it really is quite possible it's deliberate. So wrong.

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One idea

This isn't great either, but you could've changed it to "Leading the way in putting a fresh face on..." One -ing removed.

Huntington Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room

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Well, talk about calling the

Well, talk about calling the kettle black!  You have an ING right in the middle of your first  name!  How can you live with yourself!  :)





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Yeah, that is better.

Still, I worry that dorky marketing copy clients would fuss over the subtle differences. (I've encountered some who can be really silly about the "importance" of their badly worded words.)

Ah, the challenges ...

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let me try

"The first to put a fresh face in this world-famous celebrity mecca ..."
"The one behind the fresh face of this world-famous celibrity mecca..."