This is both wrong and awkward

It doesn’t take a grammatical wiz kid to know that this sentence on the Yahoo! front page is both wrong and awkward:

It illustrates a common error, though in a way that is so egregious we all can spot it, even if we can’t quite describe it. The problem is the correlative conjunction.

A correlative conjunction is a pair of words that joins words, phrases, and clauses that are usually parallel, that is, they’re similar in length and grammatical form. That means that it joins two nouns or two phrases or two verbs. That sort of thing. One of the most common correlative conjunctions is both…and, and that’s what the writer used. And got wrong.

One way to correct the grammatical goof — and shorten the sentence (always a good thing) — is to eliminate the word both:

… edges out New York as the top Christmas and New Year’s locale

If writer really, really wanted to include the word both (perhaps to emphasize there are two holidays), then this would be the correct form:

… edges out New York as both the top Christmas and the top New Year’s locale

It’s correct, but wordy and repetitive. Yet another alternative is shorter, more direct, and joins the two holidays with the correlative conjunction:

… edges out New York as the top locale for both Christmas and New Year’s

What do you think?

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