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"Many of the owners of the solutions mentioned in the bullet points above pay royalties to the original collectors of the data."

That sentence gets a flag in MS office 2010 as a Fragment. To me, it sounds bumpy, but is grammatically correct. Am I wrong?

  • 3
    Please don't ever take MS Word’s abilities to recognise sentences (or anything else in the realm of grammar) too seriously. It is a ton of code applying a limited set of rules without having any actual understanding, and most of the time, its conclusions are wrong. There is nothing grammatically wrong with your sentence, though it is perhaps not very well put together, stylistically (see Catmium’s answer). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 28 '13 at 14:06
  • Office probably can't find the verb pay, parsing it as an adjectival phrase above pay royalties. I think you're right. It's grammatical (you could diagram the sentence), but it's definitely awkward. – JLG Sep 28 '13 at 14:08
  • You should be thanking the parser for alerting you in any case. The sentence should be "parsable" by your reader, right? Being grammatical is not enough. – Kris Sep 28 '13 at 15:07
  • Best advice: turn off all grammar checkers. Permanently. They are useless and almost always wrong. – John Lawler Sep 28 '13 at 17:25
  • Thanks for the input. I do, however, believe that grammar checkers may do for grammar what spelling checkers is doing for spelling. I am sure the feedback on the grammar checker is invaluable to the producer. So, I think experts and novices alike should utilize them, and provide their 2 cents worth of feedback to the developers of the product. – sirwoetang Sep 29 '13 at 14:07
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The sentence is not fragmented; it's just too complicated for the Word grammar engin to parse. In addition to the previous suggestoins, consider

The solutions' owners pay royalties to the data collectors

Context should make clear which solutions, which owners, and which data collectors, and you still get to keep the passive voice.

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It's quite bad.

of the of the in the to the

Instead, consider:

[In many cases,] the data's original collectors are paid royalties by the owners of the aforementioned solutions.

or

those who originally collected the data are paid royalties by the owners of the aforementioned solutions.

or

the owners of the aforementioned solutions pay royalties to those who originally collected the data.

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    Why 'aforementioned', which is to my ear quite as bad? Why not simply 'those'? Or 'the bulleted solutions'? – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 28 '13 at 15:33
  • It's not bad at all. It's just verbose and complex. Not good writing, certainly, but it's perfectly grammatical. – John Lawler Sep 28 '13 at 17:27

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