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You can do whatever you are thinking of using a nested table for using CSS and clean markup.

— From "Programming the Mobile Web" by Maximiliano Firtman.

I do understand the general sense of the sentence, which is: you should use CSS and clean markup. But it appears to me that there is a typo in this sentence and it has to be:

You can do whatever you are thinking of by using CSS and clean markup for using a nested table.

Is my assumption correct? If not, can someone construe the meaning of the sentence?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You need to make a mental pause after the for. The sentence means:

  • Don't use a nested table for whatever it is you want to do; use CSS and clean markup instead.
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Can't we say that a comma is missing after for? – Noah Jun 25 '12 at 15:44
The OP's extract is a good example of a garden path sentence; you don't realise you have been led astray until you get to the end of it. But I don't think it is best fixed with a comma. This may be more apparent if we look at a simpler version of the same construction: You can make a webpage, using Dreamweaver. I can't quite explain to my own satisfaction why this doesn't work for me, and may submit this as a question in its own right. – Shoe Jun 25 '12 at 18:03

The basic sentence structure is "You can do X using Y", where X is "whatever you are thinking of using a nested table for" and Y is "CSS and clean markup"

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I would assume the author inserted a silent comma in their head after the "for" and forgot to write it:

You can do whatever you are thinking of using a nested table for, using CSS and clean markup.

Which still doesn't scan nicely to me. I would personally write it as

"You can use CSS and clean markup to achieve anything you can do with a nested table"

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The author wanted to say that one could do things in web programming using CSS and Clean Markup like <div> instead of messing it up by using nested table tags . So the sentence formation should have been

You can do whatever you are thing of using CSS and clean Markup instead of nested table


You can do whatever you are thing of using a nested table, by using CSS and clean MarkUp.

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thing is most definitely the wrong word. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 26 '12 at 9:11
I am sure i am not, i am a software engineer therefore i can be sure that it is what author actually wanted to convey. Developing a webpage using nested table tags gets messy so it is advised to use clean html tags and css for developing it – Shashank gaur Jun 27 '12 at 10:00

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