Eliminating if/then

ELIMINATING UNNECESSARY IF/THEN STATEMENTS

One popular way to complicate a simple expression is to add unnamed people and place them into a confusing and unnecessary cause/effect situation. Readers can be misled into thinking the identities of the players in these dramas are important. In addition, the characters introduce gender and number problems where they don’t belong.

Here’s the simple sentence that does not require an if/then or any anonymous actors:

Teenage drivers are being ticketed for speeding proportionally more often than other drivers.

The Hard Way:

If the driver looks as if he or she might be a teenager, then he or she is more likely to be pulled over and given a ticket for speeding by an officer who thinks he or she might be a youthful driver.

In addition to unnecessarily complicating our simple idea, this sentence is also massively overpopulated with at least one female teenage driver and one male, plus an opinionated officer.

A Valid Objection:
You may say that the new sentence introduces a fresh and useful piece of information about the prejudice of certain traffic officers, and I agree. But the solution is not to place everybody into if/then mayhem.

Instead, if you want to feature the drivers:

Easy way #1:

Teenage drivers are ticketed for speeding by opinionated traffic officers proportionally more often than other drivers.

Easy way #2:

Teenage drivers are victimized by opinionated traffic officers who give them proportionally more speeding tickets than they give other drivers.

Or, if you think the focus of your sentence now features the traffic officers:

Easy way #3:

Opinionated traffic officers ticket teenage drivers for speeding far more often than they do other drivers.

EXAMPLES FROM REAL LIFE

  1. If/then problems: My writing was based on who my audience was and what kind of paper I was writing for. For instance, if my writing was for an editorial, then of course personality was not implemented into its tone. However, if I was writing a Letter to the Editor then tone is instrumental when it comes to establishing my point; it becomes necessary.
  2. Correction for 1: I used a personal tone for appropriate audiences. For instance, I kept my personality out of my editorial writing, but used it to establish tone in my Letter to the Editor.
  3. If/then problems: Creating and shaping ideas are great ways to add uniqueness and purpose to one’s writing, but that’s only the case if his or her writing is inherently good.
  4. Correction for 3: Good writers create and shape unique ideas.
  5. If/then problems: I learned it was much easier to keep my purpose known throughout my writing, as well as the reasoning behind it. Even if it was not necessarily what I agreed with personally, I realized it was vital for my attitude on the paper to be one the audience can familiarize with.
  6. Correction for 5: I learned to defend even positions I personally reject by using clear and obvious reasoning throughout my writing.

THE EXERCISE

Rephrase each of the numbered sentences below to eliminate the unnecessary if/then constructions and the needless cast of characters. As above, the solution to the problem is often to name the category of person who acts out the behavior:

  • youthful drivers instead of drivers who look as if they might be teenagers, or
  • prejudiced officers instead of cops who think that teenagers are more likely to violate the law.
  1. Do your work in the Reply field below this post.
  2. Number your sentences to match the examples.
  3. If you do two versions to feature different agents, use 1A and 1B, for example.
  4. Finish what you can before the end of class.
  5. Complete the exercise before class THU JAN 31.

THE SENTENCES

  1. It’s almost guaranteed that if we continue disregarding our pollution and effects on Global Warming, we’ll see storms like Sandy more than once a year.
  2. If they had realized that the infrastructure of the levees, before Katrina, was outdated, maybe then the city’s people could have prevented such devastation.
  3. The Park Ranger should have been allowed to take the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody if he felt that the citizens in the park were in danger.
  4. The most important idea to consider is the safety of all citizens, and in the case of Leonard Embody, the safety of those in the park that day could have been in jeopardy if it were not for the park ranger, Steve Ward, who smartly and correctly detained him.
  5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even if no one is watching.
  6. If students learn ethical behavior now, then further down the road if they face an ethical dilemma, even if the opportunity of making a dishonest decision presents itself, maybe they’ll think twice about taking that risk.
  7. They clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them, if they needed to resort to such conduct in order to overcome this obstacle.
  8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, even if trading was limited and slow, and it needed to be open for the Street, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
  9. If the parents of a man or woman haven’t voted in their lifetimes, then their child is not as likely to vote than they would be if he or she had been brought up in a household where the parents always vote.
  10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them, which for the most part means that if a citizen is caught with illicit drugs, then they will not be incarcerated.
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About davidbdale

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21 Responses to Eliminating if/then

  1. jpassalacqua says:

    Joseph Passalacqua
    1. It’s almost guaranteed that continued disregard to pollution and its effects on Global Warming will cause storms like Hurricane Sandy to occur more than once a year.
    Nice, but disregard for.

    2. The city testing the infrastructure of the levees could have prevented the devastation of Katrina.
    “The city testing” is awkward. “Testing could have prevented” is fine. Is there an alternative?

    3. The fear of citizens is enough allowance for the park ranger to take the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody.
    “The fear of citizens” sounds as if somebody fears the citizens. “Allowance” never means what you want it to here. You could say “is reason enough.”

    4. Steve Ward smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody for the safety of those in the park.
    Brilliant.

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Very nice.

    6. When given the opportunity of making a dishonest decision, students who have learned ethical behavior will think twice about taking that risk.
    Very nice. I think “the opportunity to make” is better.

    7. Harvard students needing to resort to such conduct in order to overcome their obstacle clearly did not understand what was trying to be taught to them.
    OK, except that nothing tries to be taught.

    8. Silverblatt explained that with trading limited and slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, and open for the Street, “to show that it was there.”
    Very close. Sounds as if the SE needed to be open because of light trading, not despite it.

    9. Children of voters are likely to be voters themselves.
    Beautiful.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them, meaning that when a citizen is caught with illicit drugs, they will not be incarcerated.
    Fine but doesn’t avoid the number conflict between “a citizen” (singular) and “they” (plural).

  2. lebano55 says:

    1. Storms like Sandy will occur more often due to our disregard of pollution and its effects on global warming.
    Beautiful, except “disregard for.”

    2. Paying closer attention to the aging infrastructure of the levees could have prevented such devastation.
    Brilliant.

    3. Allowing the park ranger to take the firearm from Mr. Embody would have been a better choice in the interest of public safety.
    Not the only choice, but a good one, and much clearer than the original!

    4. The most important consideration is the safety of all citizens, and in the case of Leonard Embody, Steve Ward smartly and correctly detained him.
    Really nice. Just one quibble. This permit readers to misunderstand that maybe Mr Embody’s safety was at risk.

    5. People of character know to do the right thing when no one is watching.
    Sweet.

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior now have a better inclination towards thinking twice about risky decisions.
    Love the brevity but hate the “have a better inclination towards thinking” and you’ve replaced dishonesty with riskiness. Are more likely to think twice about? Are less likely to risk being dishonest?

    7. Their conduct regarding the obstacle shows a lack of comprehension concerning what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Love the brevity but “conduct regarding the obstacle” is meaningless.

    8. Silverblatt explained that there was a need to open the stock exchange in order to improve morale by showing that it was there.
    On the right track. Can you also eliminate “there was” and “in order to” whenever possible, please? Silverblatt explained that morale was improved by opening the stock exchange to prove it was there?

    9. If a person’s parents have never voted, he or she is less likely to be a voter.
    Oops. You didn’t eliminate the if/then or the overpopulation.

    10. Portugal will decriminalize many drugs, which will lead to fewer incarcerations.
    Brilliant.

  3. briannewaters3 says:

    1. Continuing to disregard pollution and Global Warming will result in more storms similar to Sandy.
    This is very nice because it offers the chance to avoid the storms by not disregarding global warming.

    2. Realizing the infrastructure of the levees were outdated beforehand would have prevented such devastation.
    Good except the infrastructure is singular, so “infrastructure was.”

    3. The Park Ranger was allowed to take the weapon from Mr. Embody because the citizens of the park were in danger.
    Brilliant.

    4. The Park Ranger smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody thus ensuring the safety of the citizens.
    Beautiful.

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Very nice. Maybe a comma after “character”?

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior now will know the risks of making a dishonest decision.
    Very nice.

    7. Those who needed to resort to such conduct in order to overcome this obstacle clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Just great, but does “needed to” draw a distinction without a difference? We’re interested in those who resorted, whether they “needed to” or not. Could you also cut “in order”?

    8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale.
    This is my favorite version so far.

    9. Children of voters are more likely to vote.
    Superior.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    Lovely.
    Very nice overall, Brianne. 🙂

  4. justinbaker2007 says:

    1. It’s almost guaranteed that while Americans continue to disregard our pollution and effects on Global Warming, citizens will see storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    Very nice, Justin.

    2. Assuming that New Orleans’ citizens had realized that the infrastructure of the levees, before Katrina, was outdated, maybe the citizens could have prevented such devastation.
    I don’t think we can assume that, Justin; the sentence indicates they didn’t know and didn’t prevent the catastrophe because they didn’t know.

    3. The oblivious Park Ranger should have been allowed to take the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody in case that he felt that the citizens in the park were in danger.
    You’re making contradictory claims here, that the ranger didn’t sense the danger (oblivious) and that somehow he might still have felt it?

    4. The most important idea to consider is the safety of all citizens, and in the case of Leonard Embody, the well-being of those in the park that day could have been in danger had it not been for the park ranger, Steve Ward, who smartly and correctly detained him.
    “had it not been” is a very nice improvement.

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing at all times whether someone is watching or not.
    You’ve added an unnecessary condition. We’re not interested in people who behave when people are watching.

    6. Assuming that students learn ethical behavior now, resultantly further down the road when they face an ethical dilemma, though the opportunity of making a dishonest decision presents itself, maybe that individual would think again about taking that risk.
    We’re interested in students who do learn ethical behavior, so make a claim about them: Students who learn ethical behavior avoid dishonest decisions. Period.

    7. Everybody did not comprehend what Harvard was trying to teach them, conceding that they needed to resort to such conduct in order to overcome this obstacle.
    Do you mean “not everybody comprehended”? What you’re saying is that Nobody did comprehend. Who does the conceding? This is unclear.

    8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, albeit if trading was limited and slow, and it needed to be open for the Street, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    This is OK, but with “albeit” you don’t need “if.” The clearer choice is always: Though trading was limited, the Stock Exchange . . . .

    9. Assuming the parents of a man or woman haven’t voted in their lifetimes, in that event their child is not as likely to vote than they would be supposing he or she had been brought up in a household where the parents always vote.
    You haven’t eliminated the conditional her, Justin; you’ve only rephrased it. Try to create the category of person that interests us: voters. Where do they come from: voting parents! Children of voting parents vote.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them, which for the most part means that in case that a citizen is caught with illicit drugs, subsequently they will not be incarcerated.
    Again, there’s still an implicit if/then here, Justin. “Portugal will decriminalize drugs, so possession will not result in incarceration” eliminates both the if/then and the entire population of the sentence.

  5. kmbuttari says:

    1- Disregarding our pollution will almost guarantee storms like Sandy to occur more than once a year.
    Very nice, except for the unfortunate “guarantee . . . to occur.” You could say “guarantee that storms like Sandy will occur.”

    2- A more up to date infrastructure of the levees could’ve prevented damage from Katrina.
    You may have cut some essential information, but your sentence is very nice. One thing: up-to-date.

    3- The Park Ranger should’ve been able to take Mr. Embody’s guns to make the citizens in the park feel safer.
    Your version is just right. Sadly, the original sentence makes mistakes you couldn’t have avoided. The ranger was in fact allowed. The original author only meant to concur with that ruling.

    4- The Park Ranger, Steve Ward, kept the citizens safe by detaining Leonard Embody.
    Really nice and blissfully brief.

    5- People of character still know to do the right thing when no one is watching.
    “Still know” isn’t as good as “even when” would have been, but this is fine.

    6- Students that learn ethical behavior now will think twice before making an unethical decision later in life.
    Please always use “who” for people, not “that.” Otherwise very nice.

    7- Students didn’t understand what Harvard was trying to teach and resorted to such conduct in order to overcome the obstacle.
    This is acceptable but, because of the “and,” misses the logical connection between lack of understanding and conduct.

    8- Although trading was limited and slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Almost. “for morale to show” seems to mean that the morale demonstrated something.

    9- A child with voting parents is more likely to vote.
    Very nice.

    10- Citizens of Portgal won’t be incarcerated for illicit drugs because of the decriminalization of drugs.
    This is good work, but it demonstrates another grammar problem I’ll address soon, Kevin. Pairing a negative “won’t be incarcerated” with a “because of” creates confusion. Consider this: Citizens won’t be incarcerated because of decriminalization; they’ll be incarcerated for some other reason. See the problem?

  6. kenyahkayy says:

    1. Continuing to disregard our pollution and effects on Global Warming will guarantee more storms like Sandy to occur.
    Very nice, Kenyah, except for the “guarantee storms to occur.” Better would be “will guarantee that more storms like Sandy will occur.”

    2. Realizing that the levees were outdated would have prevented the devastation of Katrina.
    Brilliant. However . . . realizing the danger isn’t eliminating the danger. “Repairing the outdated levees would have prevented the devastation of Katrina.” See? Repairing is WAY more important than realizing.

    3. Out of fear of the citizens’ safety, the Park Ranger should have been allowed to take the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody.
    This is very nice, Kenyah . . . except: “fear of safety” is being afraid of safety. “Fear for their safety” is different, and what you mean.

    4. Steven Ward smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody, ensuring the safety of the citizens.
    Brilliant.

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Excellent (maybe a comma after “character”?).

    6. Learning ethical behaviors right now prevents students from making dishonest decisions in the future.
    SO close. Actions can be honest or dishonest, but a dishonest decision isn’t what you mean. It’s not a decision to act dishonestly; it’s a decision that isn’t made honestly. Ethical people avoid dishonest actions.

    7. Resorting to the conduct in order to overcome this obstacle showed that it was misunderstood what Harvard trying to teach.
    Your “it” creates confusion, Kenyah. Cut it. The result is clearer: “showed that what Harvard was trying to teach was misunderstood.”

    8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, and it needed to be open for the street.
    Charming.

    9. Children of voters are more likely to vote.
    Perfect.

    10. Portugal will not legalize but will decriminalize illicit drugs.
    I’m in love.

  7. Rickc1030 says:

    1.) It’s almost guaranteed that by disregarding our pollution and effects on Global Warming, storms like Sandy will happen more than once a year and in more places.
    Very nice, except there’s nobody in your sentence to do the disregarding, Rick, so it sounds as if the storms disregard pollution. Do you hear it? That’s a misplaced modifier.

    2.) The citizens needed to realize that the infrastructure of the levees was outdated before super storm Katrina and could have fixed the levees, preventing such devastation.
    Again, your subject is missing from the second half. It sounds as if the infrastructure could have fixed the levees. Hear it?

    3.) The Park Ranger should take the weapon away from Mr. Embody as soon as he felt that the citizens in the park were in danger.
    Watch your tenses. “Should take” is present, general advice. “As soon as he felt” is past. You might be able to say “should have taken . . . as soon as he felt.”

    4.) The safety of all the citizens that day had been in jeopardy, but thanks to park ranger Steve Ward, Leonard Embody was safely detained.
    This is better. It does not exactly say that Ward did the detaining, but that’s pretty picky of me.

    5.) Raised knowing a sense of right and wrong, we know to do the right thing regardless of who is watching.
    This is interesting. I like “regardless of who is watching,” though it introduces a different idea. However, “knowing a sense” is not logical. We can have a sense or we can know the difference.

    6.) Well educated students who learn ethical behavior now, will think twice later on about making a dishonest decision that would get them into trouble.
    Could you call them “students trained in ethical behavior”? As I said to another student, Rick, dishonest decisions are different from dishonest actions. You want these students to avoid acting dishonestly, not lying to themselves about their choices.

    7.) The students of Harvard University did not understand what the University was teaching them because they were resorting to an illegal conduct in order to overcome an obstacle.
    Because is always a good choice for eliminating if/then.

    8.) Despite that trading was limited and slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale and “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Nice work!

    9.)A child that grows up in a household where the parents vote is more likely to vote come election date when they are old enough, where as a child who grows up in a house where parents do not vote, will not vote.
    Always use “who” for people, not “that,” please. You draw a “more likely” conclusion in one clause, then a “will not vote” conclusion in the other. Your revised sentence is very wordy, Rick.

    10.) Although Portugal has not legalized all drugs, they will decriminalize them, meaning that any citizens caught with said drugs will not be incarcerated for possession.
    OK.

  8. kaileewhiting says:

    1. Since we disregard our pollution and effects on Global Warming, more storms like Sandy will occur more than once a year.
    Very nice.

    2. Realizing that levees’s infrastructure was outdated could have prevented devastation.
    Almost. First, punctuation: levees’ without the second “s” is the correct plural possessive for levee. Then, realizing the problem doesn’t correct the problem.

    3. Knowing the citizens in the park were in danger, the Park Ranger took the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody.
    Yeah, that’s the way I see it!

    4. Steve Ward, park ranger, smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody who posed a risk to the safety of all citizens.
    Well, not all citizens, but certainly those in the park that day.

    5. People of character do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Lovely.

    6. When students who have learned ethical behavior will think twice when a dishonest decision presents itself.
    Lose the “when.” Then ask yourself what a “dishonest” decision is. Is it a decision about acting honestly? Or is it a decision made by lying?

    7. Their conduct clearly showed they did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Nice.

    8. Even though trading was limited and slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Yep.

    9. Children of voters are more likely to vote than non-voters.
    Almost. More likely to vote than children of non-voters certainly. But everybody is more likely to vote than non-voters.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    Love it.
    You’ve certainly got the brevity part down, Kailee! 🙂

  9. smithk53 says:

    1. Continuing to disregard our pollution will make storms like Sandy happened more frequently.
    Beautiful, but you mean “happen,” not “happened.”

    2. Knowing that the infrastructure of the levees was outdated before Katrina would have prevented the cities from such devastation.
    Almost. Knowing there was a problem is step one. Fixing the problem would have prevented the devastation.

    3. The park ranger took the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody because he felt that the citizens in the park were in danger.
    Beautiful.

    4. Steve Ward, the park ranger, kept all the citizens in the park safe when he detained Mr. Embody.
    That’s really nice and a good brevity lesson.

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Beautiful.

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior now will think twice and make better decisions when faced with ethical dilemmas further down the road.
    Much better.

    7. Students who needed to resort to such conduct clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Very nice!

    8. Although trading was slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale.
    Wow. Love it.

    9. Children whose parents voted regularly are more likely to vote.
    Brilliant.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    Yep. Good work!
    Nice work overall, Kirsten.

  10. clarkn92 says:

    1. Disregarding pollution and effects on Global Warming will result in storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    One indication of clean writing is a sentence that makes its point in a single breath, without punctuation. This sentence does not look back even once. Nice.

    2. Realizing the infrastructure of the levees ahead of time, could have prevented devastation.
    No comma required. But it’s meaningless to say “realizing the infrastructure.” Recognizing and correcting the vulnerability of the infrastructure is what was required.

    3. The Park Ranger should have taken the weapon away from Mr. Embody to ensure the citizens safety in the park.
    Well-structured sentence! However, you mean citizens plural and “their safety” makes it possessive, so “to ensure the citizens’ safety.”

    4. Steve Ward smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody to ensure the safety of the citizens in the park.
    Just right!

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Perfect. Maybe a comma after “character.”

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior now will think twice about making an unethical decision later in life.
    Very nice!

    7. The students did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them when they resulted to such conduct.
    Your “when they resulted” is wrong twice. First, you mean “resorted”; second, the phrase is misplaced. Harvard tried to teach them first. Then they didn’t understand. Then they resorted. So the sequence you want is: “Students who didn’t understand what Harvard tried to teach them resorted to this behavior.”

    8. Silverblatt explained that the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, “to show that it was there”.
    Beautiful, but keep your period inside the quotes ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS. “to show that it was there.”

    9. Children of parents who vote are more likely to vote.
    Brilliant. Just a thought: “Children of parents” is redundant, so why not: “Children of voters are more likely to vote”? (Notice, question marks do not ALWAYS go inside the quotes, only periods and commas. In this case, the material inside the quotes is not a question, but the overall sentence is.)

    10. A citizen will not be incarcerated when caught with illicit drugs.
    Brilliant, except you mean Portuguese citizens.

  11. adkins70 says:

    1. Continued disregard for our pollution and effects on Global Warming will yield storms like Sandy more than annually.
    “Continued disregard” is brilliant.

    2. Awareness of the levees’ outdated infrastructure would have prevented devastation.
    Not quite. Awareness is just step one. Prevention requires updating the infrastructure.

    3. The Park Ranger rightfully confiscated Embody’s weapon to save the citizens.
    Brilliant.

    4. Steve Ward’s detaining of Leonard Embody saved the citizens in the park.
    Saved them is a little too brief.

    5. People of character know to always do the right thing.
    Beautiful.

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior think twice about ethical dilemmas.
    Uh-huh.

    7. Their conduct was a result of not understanding what Harvard intended to teach them.
    Boo-yeah.

    8. Regardless of trade’s status, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale and “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Love the effort, not the result, of “regardless of trade’s status.”

    9. Voters’ voting habits reflect their parents’.
    Do you mean, children vote or don’t vote as their parents did?

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs, but will not incarcerate those caught with drugs.
    Love it.
    Very strong overall, Brent.

  12. mmiddleton1 says:

    1. It’s almost guaranteed we’ll see storms like Sandy more than once a year if we continue our pollution and effects on Global Warming.
    You haven’t eliminated the if/then, Mike.

    2. If the city updated the levees, before Katrina, maybe they would of prevented such devastation.
    You haven’t eliminated the if/then. The verb tense you want is “had updated the levees.” The grammatical phrase is “would have prevented,” not “would of prevented.”

    3. The danger of citizens in the park allows the Park Ranger to take weapons away from Mr. Embody.
    You mean “the danger to citizens in the park,” Mike; otherwise, the citizens are the danger. And you mean “allowed,” not “allows,” because you can’t have a general rule about Mr. Embody.

    4. The safety of citizens was assured by Steve Ward who correctly detained Leonard Embody.
    Nice.

    5. As people of character, we know to do the right thing even if no one is watching.
    You didn’t eliminate the if/then.

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior will think twice about taking a risk when faced with an ethical dilemma.
    OK, but taking what sort of risk?

    7. Having to resort to such conduct to overcome the obstacle, the students clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Nice. A well-placed modifier.

    8. Silverblatt explained that the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale.
    Very nice!

    9. A person is less likely to vote if their parents have never voted.
    Didn’t eliminate the if/then. Also contains a number disagreement. “A person” is singular; “their parents” is plural. Can’t happen.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    Good.

  13. cdisarcina says:

    1. It’s almost guaranteed that continued pollution and effects on Global Warming, will result in storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    Very nice. Lose the comma.

    2. Had New Orleans kept their infrastructure of the levees up to date then the city’s people would have been protected from Katrina’s devastation.
    This disguises the if/then instead of eliminating it (the “then” is still there), but it’s an improvement, particularly in the prescription for repairs, not merely awareness of vulnerability.

    3. The Park Ranger should take away semi-automatic weapons from Mr. Embody if he felt that the citizens in the park were in danger.
    Tenses are a problem here. “Should take” is a present general recommendation while “if he felt” is past. Also, the if/then is still here.

    4. The park ranger, Steve Ward, smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody, ensuring the safety of all citizens.
    Nice, though not of course all citizens, only the citizens in the park that day.

    5. As people of character we know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    Nice.

    6. Students with ethical behavior will think twice about making dishonest decisions.
    Good except for the question about what constitutes a dishonest decision. I think you mean deciding to be dishonest.

    7. Harvard’s ambiguous instructions resulted in students cheating to overcome this obstacle.
    Clever.

    8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, when trading was limited and slow, and it needed to be open for the Street, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    The “when trading was limited” makes an odd suggestion.

    9. Children raised by non-voters are not likely to vote.
    Perfect.

    10. Portuguese citizens will not be incarcerated if they’re caught with illicit drugs.
    Doesn’t eliminate the if/then. It’s way better, but still . . . .
    Some very nice work, Chris.

  14. jodidziedzic says:

    1) Disregarding our pollution and effects on Global Warming will lead to seeing storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    Since there’s nobody in your sentence to do the seeing, Jodi, your sentence is better off without the word. “…will lead to storms like Sandy” is fine without it.

    2) Realizing the outdatedness of the levees would have prevented such devastation.
    Clever, but realizing it doesn’t fix it. A better revision is: updating the levees would have prevented such devastation.

    3) In fear for the danger of the citizens in the park, the Park Ranger took the semi-automatic weapon from Mr. Embody.
    Instead of the awkward “in fear for the danger of the citizens,” why not: “To protect the safety of the citizens”?

    4) By smartly and correctly detaining Leonard Embody, park ranger Steve Ward ensured the safety for the citizens of the park; the most important idea to consider.
    Two little things, Jodi: “ensured the safety of the citizens; also, you don’t need a semicolon.

    5) Even when no one is watching, as people of character we know to do the right thing.
    Lovely.

    6) Students who learn the ethical behavior now, will in the future, think twice about taking the risk of being dishonest.
    “The risk of being dishonest” is a much better fix than “a dishonest decision” or a “dishonest risk.” Good work. Lose the second comma.

    7) Resorting to such conduct to overcome this obstacle proved that they did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Brilliant. The “proved” is perfect.

    8) Although trading was limited and slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open to the street for morale and, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Perfect except lose the second comma.

    9) Children from a household of parents who have never voted are less likely to vote.
    Very nice except for the awkward “a household of parents.”

    10) Portugal will not incarcerate a citizen that is caught with illicit drugs.
    Please use “who” for people, Jodi, not “that.”
    Some very nice work here!

  15. primav01 says:

    Dan Primavera- Corrections
    1. It’s guaranteed that if we continue disregarding Global Warming, we’ll see terrible storms more often.
    Very nice, except that it doesn’t eliminate the if/then!

    2. If they had realized that the infrastructure was outdated, the city could have prevented such devastation.
    True, but again does not eliminate the if/then.

    3. The Park Ranger should be allowed to take a semi-automatic weapon away from citizens in the park.
    In fact he is, and does, if it violates the law; sadly, this one didn’t. However, you did eliminate the if/then!

    4. The most important idea to consider is the safety of all citizens in the park.
    Nice and brief!

    5. People of character do the right thing when no one is watching.
    Beautiful.

    6. If students learn ethical behavior early in life, maybe they’ll think twice about taking large risks.
    Let me help you here, Dan. You seem to be missing the point of the assignment. Not IF students learn . . . they. Instead, create the category of person who does learn the behavior: Students who learn ethical behavior early in life think twice about risking unethical behavior later. See the difference?

    7. They did not understand what was learned at Harvard if they needed to cheating.
    Again, NOT if they needed to cheat. Create that category about which you can make a clear, non-conditional claim: The cheaters did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.

    8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Nice!

    9. A child of a parent who has voted is more likely to vote in their lifetime.
    The problem here is that the child is singular while “their lifetime” is plural. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to use plural nouns: Children of parents who vote are more likely to vote.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them, allowing citizens to not worry about jail time.
    This doesn’t say what you want it to say, Dan. Not worrying about jail time is QUITE DIFFERENT from not serving jail time. Which will Portugal eliminate? So: Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them, eliminating jail time as a sentence for possession(?). That might be the clearest, and it doesn’t require you to name the possessors in any way; you can avoid calling them convicts since they won’t be convicted of crimes if possession isn’t criminal. Etc. Clean is good especially when it avoids all such ancillary problems.

  16. tbrody92 says:

    1. Disregarding our pollution and effects on Global Warming will guarantee storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    Very nice, Taylor.

    2. The city’s people could have prevented such devastation by keeping track of the age and infrastructure of the levees.
    Well, that and actually repairing them. 🙂

    3. The Park Ranger rightfully took the weapon from Mr. Embody to keep the citizens safe.
    Nice and brief! 🙂

    4. Steve Ward smartly and correctly detained Mr. Embody to keep the citizens in the park safe.
    Very nice!

    5. Even when no one is watching, as people of character we know to do the right thing.
    Perfect.

    6. Students learning ethical behavior now will think twice before making a dishonest decision.
    I’m not sure what a dishonest decision is, but otherwise fine.

    7. Resorting to such conduct to overcome this obstacle is proof that they clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    One good edit after another, Taylor.

    8. The Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale, even if trading was limited and slow, “to show that it was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Well, was trading limited? You could say so more clearly with: “for morale, even though trading was limited . . . . “

    9. A child raised by parents who vote will likely vote.
    Oh, yeah.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    That’s enough for me!

  17. anthonymatias97 says:

    1. Continuing to disregard pollution and effects on Global Warming will result in more storms similar to Sandy.
    Yep.

    2. Realizing the outdated infrastructure of the levees could have prevented the devastation caused by Katrina.
    But realizing isn’t sufficient; actually repairing the infrastructure is required.

    3. The park ranger took the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody because he felt that the citizens in the park were in danger.
    Nice but to make clear what endangered them, try: from Mr. Embody who, he felt, was endangering citizens in the park.

    4. Steve Ward smartly and correctly detained Leonard Embody for the safety of the citizens in the park.
    Very nice.

    5. People of character know to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
    I love it.

    6. Students who learn ethical behavior now will think twice before making a dishonest decision.
    I don’t know what a dishonest decision is, but otherwise this is fine.

    7. Resorting to the conduct in order to overcome this obstacle showed that they misunderstood what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Try also to eliminate “in order to,” Tony. Here the fix is simple.

    8. Although trading was slow, the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale.
    Said Silverblatt.

    9. Children of voters are more likely to vote than children of non-voters.
    Beautiful.

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    Good, but some mention of jail time (or no jail time) wouldn’t hurt.

  18. billykluge says:

    1. Disregarding our pollution and effects on Global Warming will bring more storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    2. The city’s people could have prevented such devastation had they realized that the infrastructure of the levees were outdates before Katrina.
    3. Had he felt the citizens in the park were in danger, the park ranger should have been allowed to take the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr.Embody.
    4. The park ranger, Steve Ward, smartly detained Leonard Embody, keeping those in the park that day safe.
    5. People of character know to do the right thing at all times.
    6. Presented with the opportunity of making a dishonest decision, students previously taught ethical behavior will think twice about the situation before taking that risk.
    7. Feeling the need to resort to such conduct in order to overcome this obstacle, they clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    8. Although trading was limited and slow the Stock Exchange needed to be open for moral.
    9. Children of parents that don’t vote are less likely to vote than children of parents that do vote.
    10. In Portugal a citizen that is caught with illicit drugs will not be incarcerated due to decriminalization of the drugs.

  19. billykluge says:

    1. Disregarding our pollution and effects on Global Warming will bring more storms like Sandy more than once a year.
    This is fine, Billy, and eliminates the if/then; the more . . . more is awkward.

    2. The city’s people could have prevented such devastation had they realized that the infrastructure of the levees were outdated before Katrina.
    This is very nice except infrastructure is singular, so the verb should be was outdated.

    3. Had he felt the citizens in the park were in danger, the park ranger should have been allowed to take the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr.Embody.
    This technically eliminates if/then, but only technically. The “had he felt” still translates as “if he had felt.”

    4. The park ranger, Steve Ward, smartly detained Leonard Embody, keeping those in the park that day safe.
    Very nice.

    5. People of character know to do the right thing at all times.
    Good and brief!

    6. Presented with the opportunity of making a dishonest decision, students previously taught ethical behavior will think twice about the situation before taking that risk.
    This does a good job of creating that category “students previously taught.”

    7. Feeling the need to resort to such conduct in order to overcome this obstacle, they clearly did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Really very nice.

    8. Although trading was limited and slow the Stock Exchange needed to be open for morale.
    Love it.

    9. Children of parents that don’t vote are less likely to vote than children of parents that do vote.
    Please always use “who” for people; not “that.” Otherwise good work.

    10. In Portugal a citizen that is caught with illicit drugs will not be incarcerated due to decriminalization of the drugs.
    “Not because” constructions can always be misunderstood, Billy. For example: your sentence might mean citizens will be incarcerated, but not because of decriminalization.

  20. kovnat77 says:

    1. By disregarding our pollution and its effects on global warming, we have ensured hurricanes such as Sandy to occur more than once a year.
    Very nice, but please substitute “such as Sandy will occur.”

    2. The people of Louisiana failed to keep the levee infrastructure up to date, and so were unable to prevent Katrina’s destruction.
    I love that you’ve focused on the upkeep instead of the awareness, Sammy.

    3. The park ranger took the semi-automatic weapon away from Mr. Embody, feeling that the safety of the citizens in the park were in danger.
    He probably did feel this way, but it’s dangerous to start interpreting, much safer to say: from Mr. Embody to protect the citizens in the park from danger.

    4. Steve Ward, an excellent park ranger, knew that the safety of the people always came first; and so detained Leonard Embody at the first sign of possible danger.
    Couple things: You can and probably should say safety always comes first; your “and so” eliminates the need for a semicolon; how does the first sign of possible danger differ from the first sign of danger? 🙂

    5. As people of character, we know to do the right thing, especially when no on else is watching.
    Nice twist!

    6. By learning ethical behavior at a young age, it will help people to make ethical decisions when presented with dishonest opportunities later on in life.
    Seek and destroy all versions of this “By learning . . . it” construction, Sammy, forever and always. Keep the essential “Learning will help”; eliminate the rest. OK?

    7. The students did not understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    I love this version. It does, however, leave out quite a bit.

    8. The stock exchange needed to be open for morale, regardless of limited or slow trading, “it needed to show it was there.” Silverblatt explained.
    I can’t tell from your sentence whether trading was in fact limited or slow. Also, you’ve written a run-on.

    9. A child is more likely to vote after having watched their parents do so time and again.
    This is a good explanation, but it makes the crucial error of pairing the singular “child” with the plural “their” parents, which is an important motive for eliminating the if/then.

    10. Portugal does not wish to legalize all drugs, instead they have chosen to decriminalize them.
    Here’s another number problem, Sammy. You treat Portugal as singular—”does not wish”—the first time, then as plural—”they have chosen—the second time. Also, your instead needs a semicolon, as in “…all drugs; instead, they….” OK? 🙂

  21. oconne92 says:

    1. By continuing to disregard pollution and Global Warming it’s likely we’ll see more Storms like Sandy.
    These “By” clauses make trouble, Rory. Yours turns “it” into something that disregards pollution, whereas “we” should be doing that. “By disregarding pollution, we ensure that storms like Sandy . . . .” See?

    2. If they realized the levees were outdated then city’s people could have prevented such devastation.
    You haven’t eliminated the if/then here, Rory.

    3. If the Park Ranger felt that the citizens in the park were in danger he should have taken the semi-automatic weapon from Mr. Embody.
    Have you somehow misunderstood the assignment?

    4. Steve Ward the park ranger saved the citizens from the lunatic, Leonard Embody.
    Nice.

    5. People of character do the right thing even if no one is watching.
    Still an “if” here, but this is better.

    6. If a student learns ethical behavior when they are young, then when faced with an ethical dilemma they’ll think twice about taking the risk.
    Hey. One reason we eliminate if/then is to avoid these problems of gender and overpopulation. You still have an if/then, plus a singular student referred to twice in the plural as “these” and “they.” Try again, please.

    7. They didn’t understand what Harvard was trying to teach them.
    Good. Leaves out details, but what’s left is nicely said.

    8. Even if trading was limited and slow the Stock Exchange needed to be open, “to show that is was there,” Silverblatt explained.
    Didn’t eliminate the “even if.”

    9. Children of voters are likely to vote.
    Spectacular! 🙂

    10. Portugal will not legalize all drugs but will decriminalize them.
    Excellent.

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