On clumsy over-long sentences with far too much tangential detail, between commas, unnecessarily included.

This sentence, which appeared in a popular TV guide magazine, describing the final of last night’s Euro 2012 football tournament, between Italy and Spain, held in Kiev, which is in the Ukraine, next to Poland, is one of, the, clumsiest, sentences, I’ve ever seen, in, a, prin,ted mag,a,zine.

Look:

After 23 days of competition, consisting of 30 matches, just two teams remain from the 16 that had aspirations of not only competing in the conclusion of the tournament held in Poland and Ukraine, but of triumphing.

I’m assuming that the objective of the sentence is to emphasise the importance of the match: having played 30 matches over 23 days, only 2 teams remain.

This is not an unusual concept for a knock-out tournament.

The final of Wimbeldon could be similarly described*, a conclusion to a tournament consisting of a lot of matches.

I feel the need to rewrite this sentence:

After 23 days of competition, consisting of 30 matches,

becomes

 After 23 days and 30 matches,

and

just two teams remain from the 16

becomes

just two teams remain of the 16

and

that had aspirations of not only competing in the conclusion of the tournament held in Poland and Ukraine, but of triumphing.

becomes

 that made it as far as Poland and Ukraine.

So,

After 23 days of competition, consisting of 30 matches, just two teams remain from the 16 that had aspirations of not only completing in the conclusion of the tournament held in Poland and Ukraine, but of triumphing.

becomes …

After 23 days and 30 matches, just two teams remain of the 16 that made it as far as Poland and Ukraine.

 

Whiny Footnote

* Why do Wimbledon insist on not playing on the middle Sunday? If they need a day off to keep some wriggle-room in case of rain, take the Monday. The days when they have been forced to open on the Sunday have been some of the best days in the tournament’s history!

Sunday is also the day when most people are off work and able to watch!

Sometimes traditions are lovely, sometimes they are pointless, sometimes – as in this case – they are counter-productive.

 

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