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What's so hard about parallel construction?

I
'm always trying to make this point, and I never can come up with a good example. But one day, as I was typing away on the ol' Pentium, I heard CNN in the background:
There are reports that the boy was beaten, molested and is now a drug addict.
That's a classic example. Let's break it down. Yes, I know what the anchorperson was trying to say, but she didn't succeed. There are two ways of reading the sentence, and neither makes sense. To wit:
Reading 1:
  • The boy was beaten.
  • The boy was molested.
  • The boy was is now a drug addict

    Reading 2:

  • The boy was beaten.
  • The boy molested.
  • The boy is now a drug addict.
  • Are you with me? Either "was" applies to each item in the series, or it applies only to the first one, the one it was directly attached to. You can't have it both ways; you can't have it apply to a bunch of items in the series and then change the rules in the middle. There are usually two ways to fix a problem like this, and the first one is no doubt resisted by many because they think "and" can't occur more than once in a sentence:
    The boy was beaten and molested and is now a drug addict.
    The other method also involves some repetition. People are lazy, and that would explain why most of them would rather mutilate the language than repeat the word "was":
    The boy was beaten, was molested and is now a drug addict.


    Now what?

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