20

Is there any mistake in the phrase?

At the Venice Film Festival, Red Sea threw a women in film event that attracted stars like Demi Moore and Kate Hudson.

Source: "Saudi Arabia Chases $64 Billion Hollywood Dream" by Sarah Rappaport, Bloomberg, 7 November 2021

22
  • 11
    The event was about women in film and Red Sea organised it. Try looking up throw a party for a more common variant.
    – mdewey
    Nov 8, 2021 at 13:47
  • 5
    If it helps you have to parse it like "Red Sea threw a (women in film event)..." Nov 8, 2021 at 13:52
  • 10
    The punctuation doesn't help. They could / should have put "scare quotes" around "women in film" to make it more obvious this phrase is being used adjectivally to describe the "event" that the Red Sea festival organisers staged (since the event was intended to promote women in film, it's appropriate that it should attract people like Demi Moore and Kate Hudson). Nov 8, 2021 at 13:56
  • 11
    That is a very poor sentence. "Red Sea held an event on women in film".
    – Lambie
    Nov 8, 2021 at 14:49
  • 7
    It’s almost what’s called a “crash blossom.” When I see the words, “threw a women in,” I get a very different image in mind.
    – Davislor
    Nov 9, 2021 at 2:52

3 Answers 3

66

This is a place where hyphens could help make the meaning clearer:

... Red Sea threw a women-in-film event...

This is because the sentence is treating the three words, "women in film," as if they're a single adjective modifying "event." In these situations, it can help communication to link those words with hyphens; otherwise we might start to parse the individual words on their own as we read. (As I first glanced quickly at this question, my first thought was "Wait, who threw a woman into what?")

But as Lambie notes, a rewrite that reorders the sentence would in this case be even better.

It's also worth noting, "threw" is used here with the meaning given as definition 5 here:

to give by way of entertainment (throw a party)

This use is almost always used with a celebration, so it brings a certain implication that the event was festive. (You would not "throw" an international summit or peace talks or a press conference.) In fact, even for a "festival" event, it's an unusual word choice if the event is long and involved. You "throw" a party, a bash, a shindig, a reception, but not a conference (even Comic-Con), a county fair, a holiday, or even, typically, a "festival." As Lambie also notes, it might be better to choose a more neutral word like "hold," or if the event was indeed a party, to just use that word or a colorful synonym.

16
  • 19
    +1 for recommending proper hyphenation — a little-used skill these days…
    – gidds
    Nov 9, 2021 at 0:15
  • 1
    @gidds I use it all the time - very happy it gets noted. Nov 9, 2021 at 5:02
  • 2
    @AndyBonner that is my inkling as well. Either way the original sentence could certainly have been phrased better. "Red Sea threw an event celebrating women in film..." (Avoiding both scare quotes and the hyphenation)
    – BruceWayne
    Nov 9, 2021 at 18:47
  • 2
    @Joshua I did, but it's almost completely cleared up now, and I've nearly finished the tablets.
    – gidds
    Nov 10, 2021 at 19:42
  • 2
    Rather than just re-ordering the sentence, it should be reworded so that "women in film" is treated as the noun phrase it is, rather than trying to jam it in as an adjective: "threw an event honoring women in film". Nov 10, 2021 at 21:04
15

It would be better written as:

At the Venice Film Festival, Red Sea threw a “Women in Film” event that attracted stars like Demi Moore and Kate Hudson.

I.e. it’s a descriptive title. Without the quotes or capitalization, it runs together and doesn’t make sense. With both, it shouldn’t give anyone pause as to what was meant.

1
  • 10
    Thanks for a great suggestion! I have to note, though, that the capitalization works only if this happened to actually be the title of the event, since this certainly creates the impression that it was. If it wasn't, we could use quote marks without capitalization, though to my mind it's still a bit more confusing than hyphens. Nov 9, 2021 at 18:51
6

It means that they organized an event whose focus was women in film.

2
  • 3
    Thank you for explaining it without erroneously claiming the sentence is somehow flawed. Nov 11, 2021 at 1:38
  • @curiousdannii Doesn't the inability of some people to parse the sentence (and the extra time and effort needed for others who can parse it) count as a flaw (even if not strictly an error)?
    – gidds
    Nov 12, 2021 at 10:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .