Professional Style


March 2012
Spot the Error

In defiance of his mother’s warning not to ruin his dinner, the preschooler gobbled down a chocolate chip cookie and then tucked another three cookies into his pocket.

I have a math question for you: How many cookies did the child take? Three, four, six …? It may seem as though the preschooler snatched a total of four cookies; however, based on the wording of the sentence, he really got away with six. The problem stems from the word another. Another means more of the same. So, when the child pocketed “another three cookies,” he was adding three to his previous three … more of the same.

The sentence can be corrected by replacing “another three cookies” with either “three more cookies” or “three additional cookies.”

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