Author Topic: among them was  (Read 5674 times)

royljc

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among them was
« on: December 29, 2010, 07:00:07 PM »
Hi, Joe,

I am not sure the following sentence, "A great many people came that day to express their solicitude, among them was the wise man." is correct. The reason I think it may be wrong is that the "among them" phrase is supposed to indicate "A great many people" not "solicitude".

Therefore, I think the following sentences "A great many people came that day to express their solicitude. Among them was the wise man." may be better.

Am I wrong on this? Please help.

Joe Carillo

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Re: among them was
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 08:32:42 PM »
“A great many people came that day to express their solicitude, among them was the wise man.”

The original construction above is actually a run-on or fused sentence—a comma splice, in fact—because a comma is inadequate for punctuating the two clauses. You are therefore correct in spinning off the clause “among them was the wise man” as another sentence; it makes the statement much clearer. But this construction would be advisable only if the statement is a stand-alone sentence—meaning that it’s not followed by another sentence as part of an exposition or narrative. In such situations, spinning off a modifying clause as another sentence could disrupt the flow of the exposition or narrative.

A simpler fix is to replace the comma with a semicolon: “A great many people came that day to express their solicitude; among them was the wise man.” But there’s a much better construction and stylistic alternative than this: converting the clause “among them was the wise man” into an absolute phrase modifying the noun phrase “a great many people,” as follows: “"A great many people, among them the wise man, came that day to express their solicitude.” This way, no problems of continuity arise because every idea in the original statement is contained in the same sentence. Another sentence can then be added to the statement without any disruption in the flow of the exposition or narrative.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 06:59:12 AM by Joe Carillo »

royljc

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Re: among them was
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 06:47:17 AM »
Thank you Joe for your prompt and clear explanations! It makes a lot of sense now.