Make Your Editor Cry: Almost (but not quite right)

Make Your Editor Cry:  Almost (but not quite right)

The word almost must come immediately before the word or phrase it modifies.

Examples.

She almost donated one-million-dollars to the church.

She donated almost one-million-dollars to the church.

You can clearly see how these two examples communicate very different meanings. The first communicates that she nearly–but possibly did not–donate any funds. The second communicates that she donated funds in the amount of nearly a million dollars.

Examples.

There was almost a riotous reaction when the commissioner announced the election results.

There was an almost riotous reaction when the commissioner announced the election results.

Again, these two examples communicate very different meanings. The first communicates that there was nearly a riot. The second communicates that the reaction was nearly riotous.

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