Friday, September 29, 2006

Another example of bad writing

From an AP story of the Colorado shooting that appeared on page 4A of Friday's Eagle (emphasis added):

Morrison selected six girls as hostages and sexually assaulted at least some of them, authorities and witnesses said Thursday.
The story is about the sheriff defending his decision to enter the Colorado high school to capture the man who was holding several girls hostage. One girl ended up dead because of his decision.

It should have been written that he "assualted some of them" not "at least some of them." The "at least" adds doubt and a little bit of absurdity to the story. It makes it sound like the sheriff was justifying his decision because Morrison "assulted at least some of them," but he's not sure.

It would have sounded better if "at least" had been followed by a number, not by "some." To summarize, this is a bad paraphrase.

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