If you are one of my three regular readers, you may have noticed by now that I tend to rant about things people have done that they shouldn’t have. Like this, from a radio commercial:
“…[people put their identity at risk] just by writing a check, using a credit card, or an ATM.”
Now, it really shouldn’t be that difficult for a (supposedly) professional copy writer to come up with a list format that actually works. This one doesn’t. Let’s slice this up into three statements, using each of the three phrases. That’s supposed to work.
“…[people put their identity at risk] just by writing a check.” Ok, no problem.
“…[people put their identity at risk] just by using a credit card. That works, too.
“…[people put their identity at risk] just by an ATM.” Hmm, no verb. In other words, it’s not a sentence.
Now, if all three phrases needed the same verb, you could list the verb once, and then your phrases, thus:
“…[people put their identity at risk] just by using a credit card, a debit card, or an ATM.”
Since we seldom say that someone is “using” a check (although I suppose they are), the copy writer could have done this:
“…[people put their identity at risk] just by writing a check, or using a credit card or an ATM.”
But the commercial, as aired, sounds ignorant and does nothing at all except undermine the credibility of the advertiser.
SLAP! Don’t do that!
By the way:
Since ATM stands for “automated teller machine,” it is incorrect to say “ATM machine.” And while we’re on the subject, a “PIN number” would be a “personal identification number number.”
By the other way:
First person to email me and request it gets 1) a free signed copy of either of my books (your choice), and 2) your name in lights right here. Well, your name in pixels. I don’t think I know how to do lights here. But I will list your name and the title of the book you choose in a comment here, so that the other two readers know they missed their chance.