Smith and Jones

Pen mightier than the sword 2x1

Here at The Public Sentence, one of our youngest enthusiasts gave us an idea for a grammatically correct English sentence with an identical word repeated numerous times. What do you think?

The story is set in a teaching session called “Writing excellent PowerPoint presentations.” And the test question is, “What is wrong with the design of the following slide for a PowerPoint display?”

The teacher explains that a brand-new business called Smith and Jones Clothing Emporium has had a new sign made. But unfortunately the signwriters made a mistake resulting in a rare example of a sentence with five identical words in it. The problem with the sign is described on the PowerPoint slide:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 6.02.24 am

So, the question is, what is wrong with that PowerPoint slide? And the answer is …

If you follow the Chicago Manual of Style, you might say:

The problem is obvious. The word spacing is wrong. The last sentence looks irregular because of all the different spaces. The problem is that the spaces between ‘“Smith”’ and ‘and’ and ‘and’ and ‘“and”’ and ‘“and”’ and ‘and’ and ‘and’ and ‘“and”’ and ‘“and”’ and ‘and’ and ‘and’ and ‘“Jones”’ are all different sizes.

Or, if you follow the Publication Manual of the APA, you might say the following:

The problem is obvious. The word spacing is wrong. The last sentence looks irregular because of all the different spaces. The problem is that the spaces between ‘Smith’ and and and and and ‘and’ and ‘and’ and and and and and ‘and’ and ‘and’ and and and and and ‘Jones’ are all different sizes.

And yes, you are right if you are thinking that someone possessed of time and a grammatical disease of some sort could revise this page in such a way as to use it as an example that produces a sentence with a pedantic abundance of ands in a row. How many, I have no idea. Between 60 and 80 I intuit. (It would be called “Writing excellent web pages about writing excellent Powerpoint presentations.”) A challenge indeed!

©ThePublicSentence.com

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.