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In addition to shrinking hours and rising food costs, gas prices are burning up his paycheck as he drives his truck to jobs spread out over hundreds of miles in Southern California.

I sense some exaggeration by the choice of conjunction,as, which makes the sentence sound as if, as he drives his truck the gas prices increase simultaneously. Do you sense it and totally accept this mild exaggeration as it's common?

Thanks in advance!
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Comments  
Hi,

Sounds OK to me.

Clive
I see your point, but I don't think that's the intention. The price of gas may not have risen since his last paycheck, but since his job requires him to drive to many distant job sites, as he drives from one site to another, the money left over from his paycheck rapidly dwindles.
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Avangi, your interpretation makes more sense. Thanks Clive and Avangi!
N2g, I thought you knew my bad habits. I was counting on you to give me time to edit, and not cut me off at the knees. I was typing as fast as I could, but you got me.

I think there's an error in the sentence, but not quite the one you specified.

"Gas prices" is the subject of the sentence, and "as he drives etc." modifies the verb "are burning up." The introductory prepositional phrase "In addition etc." purports to modify the subject, "gas prices," and is therefore stating that shrinking hours and rising food costs are also burning up his paycheck as he drives, which is certainly not the case and shouldn't be the author's intention.

The shrinking hours burn up his figurative paycheck, in the sense that "paycheck" is often used to mean "how much you make per week on average." Business is bad. He gets paid by the hour, and he's been working fewer and fewer hours each week. This has nothing to do with his driving expenses. Neither does the cost of food.

But the three factors work together to put him in a financial bind.

A.
Hi Avangi, I'm sorry but I don't know when you're done replying to a post. Now, that I look back at your previous post, I realize you didn't end it with your initial and I guess that should be an indicator whether you're done or not. If so, I'll check for it next time.

I'm in no position to disagree with a native speaker but your new interpretation confuses me. I see the sentence as two independent clauses, first "In addition to rising food costs and shrinking hours, gas prices are burning up his paycheck", the second "as he drives ...". And I understand it as the three factors, rising food costs, shrinking hours, and gas prices are affecting him financially. The second clause is just giving an example of how one of the factors (in this case and usually the last factor mentioned, gas prices) affecting him. Is this acceptable to you?
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Hi N2g, I was just kidding about the editing. Guess I'll have to learn to use the smiley faces. Please don't hesitate to disagree with me. Many ESL students have learned things I've never thought about.

Okay, you're right, "as he drives etc." is a clause, but I wouldn't say it's independent. IMHO it functions as an adverb, modifying the verb of the main clause, "are burning up" (as I said previously). Sorry I missed that it's a clause, but I think my point is still intact.

Yes, there are three independent factors effecting him financially, and the price of gas is only one of them. Unfortunately, "gas prices" is the subject of the main clause.

This is what the sentence is supposed to say: "Gas prices are burning up his paycheck." Okay?

The problem is, you have a modifying phrase preceding that, and you have a modifying clause following that. The phrase at the beginning modifies the subject, "gas prices." The clause at the end modifies the verb, "are burning up." But, these two modifiers set up an impossible conflict. You can have one, or the other, but not both.

The prepositional phrase at the beginning adds the other two factors to the subject, "gas prices."

Now we have, "Three things are burning up his paycheck." No problem! That makes sense.

Let's back up and take the other route. Forget the cost of food and the shrinking hours. Instead, let's add on the verb modifier, "as he drives, etc." Now we have, "Gas prices are burning up his paycheck as he drives etc." No problem! That makes sense.

But, what happens when we try to add the front modifier and the back modifier at the same time?

Is the cost of food burning up his paycheck as he drives? Heck, no!

Are his shrinking hours burning up his paycheck as he drives? Heck, no!

This doesn't bother you? It sure bothers me. It makes no sense.

Best wishes, - A.
I completely understand your point but I don't think I'm capable of constructing sentences and having to run through extensive analysis like this on the fly at the same time. Thanks, I'll keep trying till the day I die~~Thanks Avangi for the wonderful analysis!

By the way, what's the meaning of "cut me off at my knees"? I can sort of guess but I would like to know the exact meaning so next time I know how to use it.
You write clearly enough when you're expressing your own thoughts. I believe clear thoughts lead to clear writing. What's the impetus behind these ungodly long sentences? Is it some sort of compulsion? Or is someone giving assignments to write the longest possible sentence, using as many phrases and clauses as possible and expressing as many different ideas as possible? Or are these sentences presented in this form as an exercise to be analyzed?

Many of the confused, compound complex, etc., etc. sentences I see could be cleared up and improved if it were allowed to break them into two or three sentences, but I never know if that's permitted.

- A.
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