Prepositions, Verbs and Meaning

I was momentarily tripped up yesterday while reading this excellent piece in the Los Angeles Times about how Mideast reform activists are trying to use social networks as organizing tools. Does this line confuse you, too?

OR IS IT JUST ME? Egyptian activists, for example, have called for rallies and strikes on Internet social networks over the last year, but they have no galvanizing personality and are too disorganized to pose a threat to the police state controlled by President Hosni Mubarak.

I had to linger for a few seconds on have called for rallies and strikes on Internet social networks. It took me a few beats to realize the activists weren’t calling for action on the networks, but that they were using the networks to call for action. Rearranging a few words and substituting a verb (used) for a preposition (on) would have made things much clearer.

TRY THIS OUT: Egyptian activists, for example, have used Internet social networks to call for rallies and strikes over the last year, but they have no galvanizing personality and are too disorganized to pose a threat to the police state controlled by President Hosni Mubarak.

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Comments
One Response to “Prepositions, Verbs and Meaning”
  1. Pat says:

    I read it the same way you did. Confusing.

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