Sunday, October 7, 2018

How to improve writing (no. 77)

A Washington Post headline, now online:

Kavanaugh arrives wounded, as is the Supreme Court’s image
The verb that should follow is is does, not is: Kavanaugh arrives, as does, &c. But the Supreme Court isn’t arriving. A sentence that might make the problem clearer: The guitarist Otis Rush played left-handed, as was Albert King.

If the Post isn’t revising, I am. Possible improvements:
Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court, both now wounded

A wounded justice joins a wounded Supreme Court

A wounded justice — and a wounded Court
I think it goes without saying that the wounds are metaphorical: there’s no need to make reference to the Supreme Court’s “image.” Another possible revision — oh, forget it, there’s no way to make this news better.

11:00 p.m.: The Post headline has changed: “Bitter partisan battle wounded Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court he’s joined.”

Related reading
All OCA “How to improve writing” posts (Pinboard)

[This post is no. 77 in a series, dedicated to improving stray bits of public prose.]

comments: 2

Fresca said...

I see it as an ad ("now comes in fruit flavors").

"The Supreme Court. Now comes in Wounded!"

Michael Leddy said...

That’s great!