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This or the?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gomer, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Simple editing question: A writer uses a certain phrase I'm not sure is correct, so I edit it every time he uses it. I don't want to make an issue out of it (he uses it a lot) so I'd rather get some advice here first.

    Example: Bob Dungleberry excels at underhanded free throws. This 23-year-old Flin Flon product...

    The problem I have is with the word "this." I want to change it to "the."

    Should I leave it or should I change it? And yes, I know the one word is the least of his problems, and mine, yada yada yada.
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Unless he's the only 23-year-old Flin Flon product, I'd go with "a." This reads awkward, but it's not wrong.

    "The" is wrong unless he's alone.
  3. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Hmm, looks like I needed to write more. Here's the exact thing he wrote (people and places changed) before I edited it:

    A little stumble wasn’t going to spoil Bobby Figgins' day.
    During the South Zone high school cross-country running championships held Wednesday at Appletree Park, this 17-year-old Blue Bay High School student was in a first place battle with Westside's Don Bridgeman for first in the senior boys’ division.

    I don't think "a" works there, thus why I'm asking whether it's "this" or "the."
  4. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    "This" just sounds weird.
  5. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    That's what I thought! But is it wrong?
  6. ETN814

    ETN814 Member

    I would use 'the'. This doesn't work seem to work.
  7. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    A little teleprompter malfunction wasn’t going to spoil Barack Obama's day.
    During the campaign appearance held Wednesday at Appletree Park, this President of the United States ...

    Gack. Go with "the".
  8. littlehurt98

    littlehurt98 Member

    I personally have written something along the lines of....."the 6-foot-4 freshman quarterback threw for three touchdowns......." I hope I haven't been wrong all this time. Never considered using "this" because well, it sounds weird.
  9. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    I actually edited out the phrase completely before posting here.

    The sentence in question now reads:

    During the South Zone high school cross-country running championships held Wednesday at Appletree Park, Blue Bay High's Figgins was in a first place battle with Westside's Don Bridgeman in the senior boys division.

    As far as I'm concerned, leave the age detail for somewhere else and make the bridge more readable.
  10. joeggernaut

    joeggernaut Member

    I agree. This just sounds awkward. I've never read anything like that.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    FWIW, that construction is taboo in some circles (call The Adjective Noun because you are lumping all the adjectives together -- age, hometown, height, class, school, whatever, and grinding them into a noun).

    Personally, I hate seeing "the 17-year-old Doe" instead of just "Doe, 17."
  12. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Bad analogy. He IS the only President of the United States. :D :D

    Yeah, write around it if at all possible.
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