By verbing, it needs a subject.

By verbing,

Be very worried if your sentence begins with “By any verb ending in -ing.” The odds are about 50/50 you’ll fall into a syntax trap.

The winner:

By justifying the actions of the FBI, Director Comey hopes to assure Americans that their constitutional rights are being respected.

  1. The opening phrase names an action taken by someone.
  2. The person who acted immediately follows.

By naming the actor immediately after the action, the author wrote a good sentence.

The loser:

By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

This sentence fails to identify how our privacy is diminished, or by whom. The only apparent subject for the action is “it.” And we have no idea who or what “it” is.

Revise the sentence in a Reply below either by providing an actor for the action, or by eliminating the dangerous “By phrase” altogether.

 

 

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
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39 Responses to By verbing, it needs a subject.

  1. gamer1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, the FBI is making it inevitable that American citizens will fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  2. rowansonlyjetsfan1comp says:

    By allowing personal privacy to be diminished, citizens allow themselves to fall victim to constitutional abuses.

    Like

  3. munchkin1comp says:

    Original : By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Revised : By diminishing our personal privacy, Director Comey believes it is only a matter of time until Americans fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  4. sionnain1comp says:

    With our personal privacy diminishing, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  5. ipl371comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, the FBI has made us vulnerable to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  6. thestayathomedad1comp says:

    It is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuse when our personal privacy diminishes.

    Like

  7. mazda1comp says:

    By diminishing his personal privacy, Tom Jones will soon fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  8. matteo1comp says:

    Original: By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Rewrite: By diminishing our personal privacy, the FBI has created a situation that will soon cause every American to fall victim to constitutional abuse on every scale.

    Like

  9. tobes1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, constitutional abuses on every scale, we will fall victim to.

    Like

  10. treehugger361comp says:

    It is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if our personal privacy continues to be diminished.

    Like

  11. bukowski1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, the government is turning every American citizen into a victim of constitutional abuse on every scale.

    Like

  12. rhett1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, the FBI are making sure that it is only a matter of time until the people of the United States fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  13. aspiretoinspire1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    It’s only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if we continue to diminish our personal privacy.

    Like

  14. vermster71comp says:

    It is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if the FBI keeps diminishing our personal privacy.

    Like

  15. mazda1comp says:

    By diminishing his personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until Tom Jones falls victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  16. supafreak1comp says:

    Original: By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.
    Revised: By diminishing our personal privacy, the government is making it so that over time we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  17. frozen81comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, we will eventually fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  18. iglesias1comp says:

    Original: By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Rewrite: If the FBI continues to diminish our personal property, America will eventually fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  19. velociraptor1comp says:

    We will fall victims to constitutional abuses if our personal privacy is diminished

    Like

  20. mandragon1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, the FBI leaves us vulnerable to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  21. falooda1comp says:

    We will soon fall victim to constitutional abuses if the FBI continues to diminish our personal privacy.

    Like

  22. ovechkin1comp says:

    It is only a matter of time until Americans fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if the government diminishes our rights.

    Like

  23. giantsfan1comp says:

    There is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses due to the government diminishing our personal privacy.

    Like

  24. garwin1comp says:

    We will soon fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if the government continues to diminish our personal privacy.

    Like

  25. eagles1comp says:

    Personal privacy is diminishing and it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  26. dean1comp says:

    It is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if our personal privacy continues to be diminished.

    Like

  27. bloo1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, the FBI has made us vulnerable to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  28. syntaxattack1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy,Director Comey believes it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale

    Like

  29. kai1comp says:

    We will fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if the FBI continues to diminish our personal privacy.

    Like

  30. Domia abr Wyrda says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    The loss of personal privacy will eventually result in the abuse of constitutional rights on every scale.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. jaime1comp says:

    If our personnal privacy is diminished, we will eventually fall victim to constitutional abuses.

    Like

  32. perry1comp says:

    If the FBI continues to diminish our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  33. sparky1comp says:

    By diminishing our personal privacy, Comey thinks it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Like

  34. greentwinky1comp says:

    We will soon fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale if we continuously allow the FBI to diminish our personal privacy.

    Like

  35. bagofchips1comp says:

    Original: By diminishing our personal privacy, it is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuses on every scale.

    Rewrite: It is only a matter of time until we fall victim to constitutional abuse when our personal privacy diminishes.

    Like

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