As part of a job application process, I will soon be writing a test in written communications proficiency. I’ve been studying by reading through the ultimate guide in such things: Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Despite being fifty years old, this book is a timeless classic. However, one example stopped me short:
As a mother of five, with another on the way, my ironing board is always up.
I had to stop and puzzle out the meaning of the sentence after my first reading. Her ironing board is always up – does that mean folded up? Because that’s the state of my ironing board. Finally, I figured it out. The speaker means Because I have five children and another on the way, my ironing board is always in use. I am always ironing.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA, oh William Strunk, you were a funny man.