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Apparently, the text in bold of following sentence uses either inconsistent or incorrect punctuation/sentence formation:

The designer envisions the game's fundamental elements: the settings, characters, and plots that make each game unique, and is thus a primary force behind a video game.

When I first saw it and even after two or three rounds of evaluation, I still struggle to see any inaccuracy or inconsistency. Any ideas as to why this is the case?

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    What is "a primary force" in that sentence referring to? The designer himself, or something in that list? – Andrew Leach Sep 3 '16 at 14:17
  • @Andrew Leach The "primary force" refers to the game designer's ability to envision the various elements (as listed in the sentence) of the game that he's about to design. – user98937 Sep 3 '16 at 14:19
  • That may be what you would like the primary force to refer to -- but it doesn't. You can't just plop a phrase in your sentence and have it relate to something unsaid in some sort of Zen way. – aparente001 Sep 4 '16 at 3:38
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As "and is thus a primary force behind a video game." appears to be a continuation of "The designer envisions the game's fundamental elements", the latter is a sentence fragment.

Never use a colon after a sentence fragment.

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/colons

An alternative might be:

The designer envisions the game's fundamental elements – the settings, characters, and plots that make each game unique – and is thus a primary force behind a video game.

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  • The alternative you proposed is actually perfectly correct, apparently – user98937 Sep 3 '16 at 14:25
  • How do you know? Do you have some software checking it?! – Řídící Sep 3 '16 at 14:26
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    ^ The question I posted comes from a practice paper of an exam I'm preparing for. The alternative proposed above is the correct answer, according to the solution sheet. – user98937 Sep 3 '16 at 14:31
  • @user98937 I'm still having the same trouble to which Andrew Leach referred. That is, who is the "primary force"? I'm not clear. Is it "the designer"? Or is it what the designer "envisions"? Whichever way I don't believe it makes grammatical sense. Were I writing it I think I would put a full stop afterunique, and make the final clause into a separate sentence with an identified subject. – WS2 Sep 3 '16 at 14:41
  • @WS2 'is' refers to something singular. That leaves the designer (or unlikely: the/each game). Everything else is plural. – Řídící Sep 3 '16 at 14:44

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