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Hide the kids! Triclops spotted in the suburbs!

Mose was reading his newspaper one day last week when he was suddenly attacked by a dreaded triple redundancy, which leapt from the sports section and lunged for Moses' throat.

Of course, Mose has dealt with such creatures before. And this was a familiar beast: the common “reason-why-because” triclops. Mose grabbed the monster by the vowels and twisted them violently until the syntax burst. The paper absorbed most of the mess.

But Mose thought of the many unsuspecting readers – oh, the innocent children! – who might not have been aware they were being infected by such a grotesque grammatical virus. Here's what it looked like:

Part of the reason why Cutler excelled with Marshall was because the Broncos' offensive line kept him on his feet.

Any of those three words could have worked in a more concisely written sentence, but we don't need all three. In order of decreasing length, that sentence could have said:

1) Part of the reason Cutler excelled with Marshall was that the Broncos' offensive line kept him on his feet.

2) Cutler excelled with Marshall in part because the Broncos' offensive line kept him on his feet.

3) Why did Cutler excel with Marshall? The Broncos' offensive line kept him on his feet.

Of course, the him and his, in this construction, seem to refer to Marshall, the latter male person named in that sentence. But the writer intended to have Cutler as the antecedent. Better to replace the him with “the quarterback.”

4) Why did Cutler excel with Marshall? The Broncos' offensive line kept the quarterback on his feet.

Those triclops are out there. Don't say Mose didn't warn you.

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