"by doing that, it..."

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Tue Dec 5 16:51:59 UTC 2006

I am masquerading as a composition teacher, and honestly, I wouldn't
have noticed anything "off" about that construction in a non-academic
writing assignment. I would not have marked it as wordy or as
non-standard. However, I do try to teach the students that the
written language differs from the spoken. Finally, that kind of
structure probably slips under my radar because there are similar
constructions in ON/OI and OE (this is a foggy recollection to me)
where a "...that, that.." or "...that, it.." is used to connect

---Amy (not a member of ADS) West

>Date:    Mon, 4 Dec 2006 08:58:07 -0800
>From:    "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>Subject: "by doing that, it..."
>heard from an interviewee on NPR's Morning Edition, 11/28/06:
>    ... by doing that, it takes away a lot of the...
>quite a few web hits for "by doing that, it" -- ca. 38,700 -- and of
>course more would turn up for VPs other than "do that".
>i have heard composition teachers complain about this "wordy" use of
>    (1) by VP1ing, it VP2s
>where teachers would recommend
>    (2) VP1ing VP2s
>and i sympathize with this reaction.
>the point is that people who use the construction in (1) are trying
>to structure their discourse for their audience.  in a way, it's a
>shame that the construction isn't standard.

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