In the statement of the issues on appeal, every ground of appeal ought to be so distinctly stated that the reviewing court may at once see the point which it is called upon to decide without having to “grope in the dark” to ascertain the precise point at issue.
I regularly read Thy Will Be Done for spiritual inspiration. Today that wonderful blog also provided a little writing lesson. Today’s post included this sentence:
We might accept the Savior as the one who helps, but we’re afraid to mention his name and remain silent.
That last clause, “remain silent,” is ambiguous, or at least can cause a miscue. Does it mean that we remain silent, or that we’re afraid to remain silent? From the context, we can figure out that the former is what the writer means. But for expository prose, a sentence that can be figured out isn’t as good as a sentence that doesn’t need figuring out. To eliminate the need to figure out this sentence, we need to add only one word and one punctuation mark:
We might accept the Savior as the one who helps, but we’re afraid to mention his name, and we remain silent.
Notice what we’re doing here. We use parallel structure to put “remain silent” on the same level as “are afraid.”
Every now and then, I’ll make a boo-boo on this blog. Gentle readers have let me know, for example, when I’ve confused its with it’s, or then with than. Stuff like that happens when you work without an editor, as every blogger does. John McIntyre explains why slips like that happen and how to keep them in proper perspective. So if you spot a slip like that on this blog, please do point it out in a comment or an e-mail, and I’ll fix it with gratitude and without taking offense.