Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Confusing Sentence Fragments

Some sentence fragments are all right. Some even have drama and as such are used for emphasis. But some are simply incorrect and confusing, as in the following paragraph:

"This museum is geared to the preservation of the history of the Native Peoples of the Plains. Magnificent displays and art exhibits make this a jewel. Ceremonial dance schedule and youth hostel reservations. Open winter Thurs-Sat noon-5 pm, Sun 1p-5-; summer Wed-Sat 11a-6p, Sun 1-5p. Adults $3.00, youth $1.50; 9151 I-40 East."

The sentences that contain schedule and price information are fragments and they're fine--we expect those sorts of sentence fragments in travel brochures. But the sentence "Ceremonial dance schedule and youth hostel reservations" leaves us wondering about those things. And why are those even in the same sentence fragment, much less the same sentence, unless the sentence told where visitors could find out what they needed to know about those things at the visitors' center, i.e. The Visitors' Center has information about other activities and facilities, including the ceremonial dance schedule and youth hostel room reservation instructions.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, we need to get someone to look over our work to see if there is anything that will confuse the reader and, if there is, correct it. Clear communication is important!

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