For example:

Incorrect: "In summer, monsoon and in winter..."

Correct: "In summer, monsoon and winter..."

Similarly, I've been told to correct this sentence:

"My objections are, first, the injustice of decision; and second, that it is unconstitutional"

I think the correct form would be like:

"My objections are, first, the injustice of decision; and second, it is unconstitutional"

But still it doesn't sound fully right. Am I missing something?

  • I find your sentences unclear. Do you mean to express that your objections are (the injustice of the decision) and (that the decision is unconstitutional)? – Davo Aug 18 '17 at 18:58
  • Side note: It should be, "the injustice of THE decision". You need an article. (I presume you're talking about a specific decision.) – Jay Aug 18 '17 at 20:50
  • I find "In summer, monsoon and in winter..." to be quite acceptable. The word "monsoon" isn't usually used as a season in the same way that "spring" or "autumn" are, and I would say "In summer, during the monsoon, and in winter..." – James K Aug 18 '17 at 21:03

Punctuation conventions can vary, but if you're going to use and there's really no need for the semi-colon:

My objections are, first, the injustice of the decision, and second, its unconstitutionality.

For stylistic reasons, you'd want two noun-phrases, as above, rather than a noun-phrase and a clause, as you had it: the injustice of decision ... it is unconstitutional

  • why can't we add a "the" before decision? If the speaker is talking about unconstitutionality, they are probably referring to a particular decision – Sid Aug 18 '17 at 20:31
  • Isn't that a list - first, second - and, therefore, a colon would be in place after 'are' as it is in Rob's version below? And since there are only two objections, might it be possible to leave out Oxford comma, so that the phrase would be My objections are: first, the injustice of the decision and second, its unconstitutionality? – Michael Login Aug 18 '17 at 23:17
  • As I said, punctuation conventions vary. In the past 100 years you could probably find that sentence punctuated in six different ways. It is not really a grammatical issue. I punctuated as I think makes most sense. first is set off by commas, and for the sake of consistency, I've set off and second by commas as well. The main stylistic issue is the parallelism of the items in the enumeration. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 19 '17 at 1:25
  • I see no need for a list to begin with. That's really just claptrap: I object to the injustice of the decision and to its unconstitutionality. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 19 '17 at 1:27

If the speaker is referring to a particular decision, such as the result of a court case, a native English speaker would expect a definite article: the decision.

In addition, the parallelism is awkward. I would rephrase thus:

My objections are: first, that the decision is unjust, and second, that it is unconstitutional.

Now the parallel clauses go "X is Y, and also X is Z".


Ditto Rob, but let me add some additional comments.

The problem with your original version is that you are shifting parts of speech: You go from "injustice", a noun, to "unconstitutional", an adjective. To make it work they should both be the same part of speech.

Rob's solution is what I would probably do: "My objections are that the decision is unjust and that it is unconstitutional." Make them both adjectives.

You could also make them both nouns: "My objections are the injustice of the decision and its unconstitutionality." But I don't like that as much, because (a) "unconstitutionality" is a longer and more awkward word, and (b) it puts the subject "decision", in between the two attributes. I think a parallelism is usually more clear if it's in the form "X is A and B" then "the A of X and the B". Putting it in the middle breaks the rhythm.

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