Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Prevents exercise and avoiding smoking, too?

This sentence today from an AP dispatch:

Lean meat as part of a balanced diet can prevent chronic disease, along with exercise and avoiding smoking, said Shalene McNeill, dietitian for the beef group.

Would be a lot clearer if "along with" was replaced with "as can."

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2 Comments:

At 3/25/09, 12:21 PM, Blogger Larry said...

It would have a different meaning if one used your phrase, wouldn't it? Using "along with" says that in combination they can prevent chrnoic disease. Using your "as can" says that any of the three individually would prevent the disease.
Isn't this just a throw-away quote, anyway? I'll bet I heard the same line thousands of times from the mouths of industry reps. And besides, it doesn't say anything. Using the qualifier "can" commits the speaker to nothing. Tell me something earth shattering, like "will."

 
At 3/25/09, 1:14 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Then, under your suggestion, it should be restructured to Lean meat as part of a balanced diet, along with exercise and avoiding smoking, can prevent chronic disease, said Shalene McNeill, dietitian for the beef group.

However, I think mine maintains the same sense. (I'd actually put can help prevent.)

The way it was originally structured, "prevent" actually can be seen to work on the "along with" phrase.

Either way it's a poorly structured sentence that should be untangled.

 

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