What Obamacare and Snap Polling Tell Us About Prepositional Phrases


“Alexi Halavazis, 25, also of Herndon, Va., cast his first presidential vote for Obama. He said the reason was Obama’s health care law, which allows him to be covered by his parents’ medical coverage. With ‘Obamacare. I can stay on my parents plant (sic), at least for another year, and it helps my parents because of the pre-existing conditions’ requirement that they cannot be denied health care, Halavazis said.'”

-USA Today

Isn’t it weird how that quotation from Alexi Halavazis ┬ábeginning “Obamacare” is presented up there? I’m not implying anything was taken out of context or otherwise fudged by the reporters (two names are in the article’s byline), but what an awkward way of making it flow with the rest of the narrative.

I presume the reporters asked Mr. Halavazis some version of “Why did you vote for Obama?” and his response was “Obamacare. I can stay…”. But then , by summarizing the quote before actually presenting it, they put themselves in the situation of needing to make the quote a prepositional phrase.

Weirdness ensued.

Is there a better-written alternative to what ended up getting published? These come to mind:

  1. Ditch the summary of the quote, and just put the quote up top. “…vote for Obama, because of ‘Obamacare. I can stay…” This may not be best practices from a journalistic standpoint, and the reporters certainly know more than I do about that sort of thing.
  2. Place “With” inside the quotation mark. Probably not ethical.
  3. Make the period after “Obamacare” a comma. Also maybe not so ethical, though in speech, can’t commas sound like periods sometimes? How full was the stop in his voice after he said “Obamacare.”


Anyway, it’s a quickie article on the biggest content-barrage evening in America. Let’s enjoy our election night parties and not split too many hairs.

On the other hand, gotta love their typo about staying on his “parent’s plant”.

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