Common Stumbling Blocks - Peculiar Constructions - Misused Forms.
Sometimes the beginning of a sentence presents quite a different
grammatical construction from its end. This arises from the fact
probably, that the beginning is lost sight of before the end is reached.
This occurs frequently in long sentences. Thus: "Honesty, integrity and
square-dealing will bring anybody much better through life than the
absence of either." Here the construction is broken at than. The use of
either, only used in referring to one of two, shows that the fact is
forgotten that three qualities and not two are under consideration. Any
one of the three meanings might be intended in the sentence, viz.,
absence of any one quality, absence of any two of the qualities or
absence of the whole three qualities. Either denotes one or the other of
two and should never be applied to any one of more than two. When we fall
into the error of constructing such sentences as above, we should take
them apart and reconstruct them in a different grammatical form.
Thus,--"Honesty, integrity and square-dealing will bring a man much
better through life than a lack of these qualities which are almost
essential to success."
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