Comparison of two sentences - feedback needed
Thread poster: Hector Zedonivich
Oct 17, 2012

A single comment from Mr Orban's spokesman, Peter Szijjarto, that the allegations were "ridiculous", was not followed up by the party as a whole.

When a committee of the Budapest Semmelweis University issued its 1,157-page report last week, Fidesz simply declared the matter "closed", while the Christian Democrats (KDNP), their junior partner in government, issued a much more strident attack on the president's critics, our correspondent says.

Prime Minister Orban would only say last Friday that the president should make up his own mind.

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The last sentence is incorrect, I believe.

To write the words 'last Friday' without commas is incorrect.

Prime Minister Orban would only say ,last Friday, that the president should make up his own mind.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Orban would only say that the president should make up his own mind.

Both of the above sentences are fine.
Do you think the original sentence is correct?


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Peter Ross  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 17:17
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...
Spoken Stream Oct 19, 2012

The first sentence is perfectly OK. It represents an unbroken stream of natural speech, rather than a meticulous written style, and perfectly suitable for journalese.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The two alternatives are easier to read Oct 19, 2012

If the whole sentence is in quotes, then so be it, that is what a person said.

Still, a journalist would do well to choose one of the other two sentences. I had to read the original twice to understand it properly.

I would go for
Last Friday, Prime Minister Orban would only say that the president should make up his own mind.

I can see why the commas are left out in the original. They seem to make unnecessarily heavy breaks in the sentence when inserted.

Last Friday, however, Prime Minister Orban would only say that the president should make up his own mind.

Is the however too heavy as well? I feel it probably is.

But last Friday, Prime Minister Orban would only say that the president should make up his own mind.

There are lots of possibilities, but journalists do not alway have time to polish their prose before sending it off.



[Edited at 2012-10-19 10:57 GMT]


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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:17
German to English
+ ...
I would change it Oct 19, 2012

In particular, I would switch "only say" to "say only".

Prime Minister Orban would say only that the president should make up his own mind.

Then "last Friday" has to be placed either at the beginning of the sentence or somewhere where it will not be ambiguous.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Orban would say only that the president should make up his own mind. (better, in my opinion)

Prime Minister Orban would say last Friday only that the president should make up his own mind. (possible, but not as smooth)


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Hector Zedonivich
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the answers. Oct 19, 2012

Thanks for the answers.

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Comparison of two sentences - feedback needed

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