Friday, February 27, 2009

In all, not the best place for the comma

At 2:15 a.m., I couldn't understand this sentence from A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson:
In all, the internal turmoil particles within the cloud pick up electrical charges.
After a few moments I mentally moved the comma:
In all the internal turmoil, particles within the cloud pick up electrical charges.
Only Bryson and his editor know whose choice it was to (unintentionally) misplace the comma, given the sentence's meaning. It makes it read like a bad foreign language translation.

And so to bed. Again.

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