Parallelism

 

Q:

Is this sentence grammatically correct? If so, how would it be interpreted?

A weak Euro can hurt the region's economy, as well as the American.

Shouldn't there be parallelism?

Vera Mello
vcqm@ruralsp.com.br

A:

Yes, the sentence is really ambiguous, and even funny as it is presented! A strict interpretation of the sentence could mean that the economy of the region can be hurt, and also the American can be hurt. At first glance, it seems that "the American" is a person, but that can't be what the writer intended to say.

The sentence should contain parallel elements, of course. Here are some alternative ways to construct the sentence so that it is clear as to what, not whom, can be hurt:

A weak Euro can hurt the region's economy as well as America's [or, America's economy].

A weak Euro can hurt the economy of this region as well as that of America.

A weak Euro can hurt the economies of both this region and of America.

A weak Euro can hurt not only the economy of this region, but also that [or, the economy] of America.

All these sentences can also be passive. As an example, the first sentence is transformed into the passive as follows:

The region's economy, as well as America's, can be hurt by a weak Euro.

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