Tutorials

Tutorial for Mixed Constructions
Back to Tutorials

What are they?

A mixed construction is a sentence containing parts that do not sensibly fit together. It may contain phrases or clauses that do not fit together logically or a subject that does not work grammatically with a predicate.

Rising health care costs decrease health insurance for many people.

(The subject rising health care costs does not work grammatically with the predicate; it does not make grammatical sense to say that “costs decrease health insurance.”)

How to find them

A mixed construction contains phrases or clauses that do not work together logically and that cause confusion in meaning. Look for sentences in which the structure changes midway through the sentence:

The fact that the marathon is twenty-six miles, a length that explains why I never have finished it.

(The sentence begins with a subject, the fact, followed by a dependent clause, that the marathon is twenty-six miles. The sentence needs a predicate to complete the independent clause; instead it includes a noun [a length] and another dependent clause [that explains why I never have finished it]. The independent clause that begins with the fact is never completed.)

Faulty predication is a type of mixed construction that occurs when the subject and predicate in a sentence are not consistent. Read sentences carefully, paying attention to the relationship between the subject and predicate, to find this type of error.

The most valued trait in an employee is a person who is loyal.

(A person cannot be a trait.)

Another common error involves the use of the constructions is when, is where, or the reason is…because.

Faulty

Indigestion is when you cannot digest food.

Faulty

The reason I enjoy horseback riding is because it provides outdoor exercise.

How to correct them

  1. Make sure phrases or clauses work together logically. Rewrite the sentence to eliminate confusion. It often helps to check the words that connect clauses and phrases.

    The fact thatThethe marathon is twenty-six miles, a length that explains why which is whyI never have finished it.

  2. Make subjects and predicates consistent. Pay attention to the meaning of the words you choose and revise any sentence whose subject and predicate are inconsistent.

    The most valued trait in an employee is a person who is loyalloyalty.

  3. Avoid the constructions is when, is where, or the reason is…because.

    Indigestion is when you cannotthe inability to digest food.

    The reason I enjoy horseback riding is because it provides outdoor exercise.

Site Navigation

  1. Home |
  2. Exercises |
  3. Scorecard |
  4. Gradebook |
  5. Tutorials |
  6. Glossary |
  7. Support |
  8. Site Map |
  9. FAQs |
  10. Contact Tech Support
  1. © 2010 Bedford/St. Martin’s