Fun Examples

I’ve come across a few passages that are just too much fun to include as a normal example. I mean no offense to the authors of these sentences. But I believe these examples have left more than one person scratching his head.

Five tissues–brain, kidney, liver, spleen, and a subcutaneously transplanted, x-ray-induced insulinoma (6)–were dissected from four individual male New England Deaconess Hospital rats provided by William Chick, quick-frozen, and stored at -70C.

Poor Mr. Chick!

Here’s an example from our very own graduate school in a guide explaining what to include in your doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis.

I. …
J. …
K. The Biography (PhD only-students doing a Master Thesis do not include)

In this instruction, using a hyphen instead of an em-dash causes the sentence to say something very different from what is intended. Incidentally, the example above about Mr. Chick correctly uses the double-hyphen (–) to indicate the em-dash. Especially there, considering the hyphens within the em-dash parenthetic. Further reading: my focus article on hyphen vs. dash.

Just to show how these principles apply outside of scientific writing, here is some text I recently recieved on an advertisement from a bank (can you parse this in one read?):

Existing BANK Members who register for the BANK Realty Rewards Program prior to contacting a BANK agent, in our direct service areas, or a BANK referred brokerage firm in other areas or entering into a listing and/or buyer agency agreement with a BANK agent or referred brokerage firm receive a 1/2% of the sales price closing cost credit when buying a home and/or a 5.5% listing fee when selling a home.

That’s not going to move a lot of homes…

More examples (they may not be funny)