Sunday, May 04, 2014

Dangling participle of the month

The description of one of the entries in the 2014 National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery caught my eye. Its final sentence reads:

"Shot during the last few weeks of the season, the boys went onto win the EFL final."

In its earlier days, the New Yorker would regularly have a field day with this kind of thing, running them in order to fill space at the end of articles (in the days before electronic typesetting, it wasn't so easy to adjust the text of an article, fiddle with the size of cartoons, add or subtract incidental illustrations, etc, in order to get the the text of a story to end at the very bottom of the page).

The editors would almost invariably follow them with an arch and/or witty one-liner. In this case, mine would be something like: "Sometimes motivational speeches just aren't enough."

As for the exhibition, we are agreed that the portrait of Reg Mombassa should have won.

(And furthermore: there is a difference between "onto" (which it says) and "on to" (which it should have said). End of sermon.)