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“Including” trips up the best

Including from, including on, including in, including at … .

Enough already. What I wanna know is: including what?

Spare the word and spoil the sentence


Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.


Even otherwise top-notch writers resort to the thoroughly awkward combination of including followed by a preposition. Here’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Leonard Pitts Jr., syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald: Writing about the kidnapping of 300 school girls in Nigeria, he asks if pressure by prominent persons will spur the Nigerian government to “take the abduction more seriously and to accept international help – including from the U.S.”

What ever happened to the word that in such situations? Including demands pairing with a noun or pronoun, not a preposition. How much smoother this phrase would sound: “accept international help – including that from the U.S.”

Less is more

An example of the including from phrase that initially seems difficult to correct, but, on second consideration, is easily fixed, was in a New York Times report on the fighting in Iraq. The story said “an Iraqi army counteroffensive had driven militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, from the center of Tikrit, including from government buildings as well as from major roads.” Why is from necessary? “from the center of Tikrit, including government buildings and (why as well as?) major roads.

Including on is another common combination. The Associated Press, reporting on an arrest for murder, wrote that “Davis racked up a slew of arrests over the years, including on charges of robbery, burglary and battery.” Much better: “a slew of arrests over the years, including some on charges of robbery, burglary and battery.”

Making it work


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry


Occasionally a little improvisation is in order. Secretary of State John Kerry, writing an editorial piece about a need for visas for Afghanistan allies, lamented “unconscionably long processing times for applicants, including on background checks conducted by other U.S. agencies.” Here’s a way to remove the awkwardness: “unconscionably long processing times for applicants, including waiting periods for background checks conducted by other U.S. agencies.”

An Associated Press report has House Majority Leader Eric Cantor losing in the June primary election and says his supporters met resistance from “tea party enthusiasts, including in Cantor’s home district.” Writing “including those in Cantor’s home district” rectifies the need for a noun or pronoun.


Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor


A little logic, please

We can’t leave out at. An investment report says, “I have met with Compugen’s senior management several times over the years, including at the Chairman’s home in Jerusalem.” (Note the upper case C in chairman. Well, I suppose the guy’s job merits a capital letter, even if he doesn’t deserve the outsized salary corporate board chairmen get these days.) That sentence is really clumsy, with including at illogically referring to several times. It needs revamping: “several times over the years, at locations including the Chairman’s home in Jerusalem.”

Inclusion

inclusion

Would you like to belong to an exclusive club without having a lot of money? It’s easy. Use a noun or pronoun after including.

#AssociatedPress #MiamiHerald #EricCantor #LeonardPittsJr #NewYorkTimes #JohnKerry

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