modification problems


Despite my total lack of reasonable native speaker intuitions, I really think the author of this webpage screwed up. Jeff Benedict recently published the book The Mormon Way of Doing Business. Let's look past all the problems we have with such an idea and head right to this paragraph:

What do the CEOs of JetBlue Airways, Dell Computers, Delloite & Touche, and Madison Square Garden have in common with the CFO of American Express and the former Dean of Harvard Business School? As shown in this one-of-a-kind business book, they are all devout Mormons. They rarely work Sundays, come home for dinner, and do chores around the house. Yet, they compete very successfully against workaholics who routinely put in seventy to eighty hour weeks.
(emphasis added)

Does that sentence not seem to imply that all three things are done infrequently? I guess the "and" conjunction might tilt things the other way (it'd be "or" if all were truly modified). Surely the author wants to highlight that they do come home for dinner and do do chores around the house (he fails to mention that all men also have stay-at-home wives, but that's beside the point here). There's at least some ambiguity going on here and people who read quickly online might get the wrong idea. Unless he's suggesting that Mormons don't work Sundays, are chauvinists and are successful business men. That'd be a more interesting book, don't you think?


Petra said...

For once, I agree with you on all points. Savor it while it lasts.

Anonymous said...

You think too much. I understood what he meant when I read it.

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