To the editor:
In the May 15 Deseret News, I turned with interest to an editorial entitled "Must improve use of three R's." Having read half way through the first sentence, I could see that this editor must, indeed, improve his writing.The subject of the verb in the first sentence is the gerund "having" plus the object of the gerund and number of modifiers. Since the subject, having, is singular, a singular verb, has, should have been used with it.
In the next to the last paragraph, the writer misplaces the modifier "only" by putting it before the verb read when it should modify the elementary school level. The modifier "only" tends to emphasize the word or phrase it immediately precedes.
In my business English class this morning, I wrote these two questionable sentences on the board just as they appeared in the editorial. My better students spotted the errors in a matter of seconds. If first year community college students can achieve this state of awareness about the appropriate use of the language, your editors can also.
Linda M. Cunningham
Salt Lake Community College