Hello, I read a sentence and it didn't read clear to me. Can you tell me if this is bad English? 'Troh is the fiancee of Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.' When the sentence uses the word 'who' it is not clear which person the 'after the who' is referring to. Just was wondering, is this bad English, and is the only way to correct this to break it up into 2 sentences?
The sentence is what I would call context dependent. It reads like it was taken from a larger body of text. Yes, it is not what I would call text book grammar. I get the feeling it is from a news article or blog. Rarely are they written in text book grammar for a large variety of reasons.
There are a couple of clues to tell me the person the "who" is related to. First is the physical location of the "who" following the name of the first person with Ebola tells me it refers back to that person directly. Second would be the larger context of the paragraph from which it came. Is the context of the paragraph about Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan?
In text book grammar it might look like the following 'Troh is the fiancÚ of Thomas Eric Duncan. He was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States". The sentence written in that fashion, wording, punctuation, and grammar would be more text book.
Newspaper articles and blogs etc. tend to write more like a conversation being spoken than a text book that will face peer review or an editorial review.
All that to say yes it could have been written in two sentences,but, it depends on the nature of the publication it was written and the intended audience.
Think of this. All forms of communication depend on culture, context, intended impact, and target audience. Written is the hardest because it is separated from physical cues like body language, tone, eye contact, etc. Thus, in writing we need to be very precise and clear with what we write.
Best Wishes for your life,
Mr James Turner Teacher Retired