Thursday, July 20, 2006

The tin ear reappears

I've written before -- and I'm sure I will again -- about "tin ear" constructions.

Here's one from today:

Modine Manufacturing Co. plans to close its Blythewood plant, laying off 170 workers over the next two years.

The heating and cooling equipment maker also will close a Tennessee plant and build one in Mexico, the company said Thursday.

That second sentence just goes against the way our brains are wired to interpret stories. Try this:

Modine Manufacturing Co. plans to close its Blythewood plant, laying off 170 workers over the next two years.

The heating and cooling equipment maker said Thursday it also will close a Tennessee plant and build one in Mexico., the company said Thursday.

(Put a "that" in after "Thursday" if you think there will be confusion.)

2 Comments:

At 9/19/06, 3:38 AM, Anonymous GeorgeG said...

Well, I just disagree.

Normally, the news should go at the front of the sentence if that is more important than the attribution.

When the speaker is more important than the thing said (rarely), the attribution could go at the front, e.g. —

President Bush announced today that . . . (etc.)

 
At 9/19/06, 11:29 AM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Well, the original two sentences lead with the company, (Modine Manfacturing Co. ... / The heating and cooling eqiupment maker ...) not the action.

I think that is perfectly natural here, and since Modine led the first sentence, the description at the beginning of the second sentence is properly placed. But once you use the description of the company, repeating "the company said" later is not natural to our storytelling ears. It is a journalistic affectation that needs to go away.

 

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