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Author Topic: Correcting media’s improper uses of the conjunction “as”  (Read 129 times)
Joe Carillo
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« on: October 26, 2017, 11:30:50 PM »

Last Monday (October 23, 2017), in my retrospective on “Doing battle with the recurrent misuse of the conjunction ‘as’”, I called attention to the frequent misuse of that conjunction in news reporting and grammatically dissected one such misuse by the news website of a major TV network. For greater mastery of “as” usage, I then asked readers to analyze and correct three other instances of serious misuse of that conjunction by various media outlets.


IT GREATLY HELPS TO THINK OF “AS” AS A LINKING WORD TO INTRODUCE
THE REASON FOR OR THE CAUSE OF AN ACTION


I now would like to bring closure to that review of “as” usage by giving my own analysis of the flawed English of those sentences, and I hope that my grammatical fixes can bring about an even clearer understanding of how “as” works as a conjunction.

(1) Major Metro Manila daily: “The rainy season began this week as the country went through the shortest dry season this year because of the La Niña phenomenon.”

The sentence above misuses “as” as a coordinating conjunction, making it wrongly appear that the rainy season and the shortest dry season occurred simultaneously. The reality, though, is that those two events came one after the other, and to yield that sense, what’s needed is the subordinating conjunction “after” linking the subordinate clause to the main clause. Structurally, therefore, that sentence shouldn’t be a compound sentence linked by “as” but a complex sentence linked by “after,” as follows:

“The rainy season began this week after the country went through the shortest dry season this year because of the La Niña phenomenon."

(2) News website of another major TV network: “Tragedy struck on Holy Thursday as two people drowned and another one went missing in a river in Oriental Mindoro.”

The sentence above conveys the wrong sense that the Holy Thursday tragedy was separate and distinct from the Oriental Mindoro drownings. The fact, however, is that the tragedy was the outcome and the drownings were its causes, a sense that the coordinating conjunction “as” couldn’t possibly evoke. The semantically correct function word for that sense is the subordinating conjunction “when.” Indeed, structurally, that sentence shouldn’t be a compound sentence but a complex sentence, with “tragedy struck on Holy Thursday” as the main clause and “two people drowned and another one went missing in a river in Oriental Mindoro” as the subordinate or dependent clause, as follows:

“MANILA, Philippines – Tragedy struck on Holy Thursday when two people drowned and another one went missing in a river in Oriental Mindoro.”

(3) Another Metro Manila daily: “Camiguin province continues to experience an economic boom as the provincial government is eyeing close to P300 million in investments next year, officials said Thursday.”

The sentence above gives the absurd impression that the provincial government’s “eyeing close to P300 million in investments next year” is the cause of Camiguin’s being able to experience a continuing economic boom. On the contrary, the provincial government’s expectation of more investments next year is more logically the result of Camiguin’s continued economic boom. The sentence will yield this correct sense if “as” is replaced by “so” preceded by a comma, and the word “more” is added after “P300 million” in the subordinate clause, as follows:

“Camiguin province continues to experience an economic boom, so the provincial government is eyeing close to P300 million more in investments next year, officials said Thursday.”

It can be argued, though, that the provincial government’s expectation of more investments next year isn’t a direct result of the economic boom but simply a reaction or response to that economic boom—something that, of course, can be verified with the Camiguin provincial government. If the latter is the case, then that sentence needs to use the preposition “with” instead of the conjunction “so” to yield the correct sense:

“Camiguin province continues to experience an economic boom, with the provincial government eyeing close to P300 million more in investments next year, officials said Thursday.”

This ends our review of the proper uses of the conjunction “as.” (2011)

This essay, 760th of the series, first appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the October 8, 2011 issue of The Manila Times, © 2011 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 12:25:11 AM by Joe Carillo » Logged

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