Incongruity takes many forms, all of them resulting from illogical relationships between parts of a sentence. Common incongruities are inaccurate predication or comparison; careless shifting in person, number, tense, point of view, or construction; and mixed or inappropriate metaphor. Some examples:
1. An example of the wrath of God is when he destroys Sodom.
[Incongruous predication. In this kind of sentence the verb to be works as an equal sign (=). An example does not equal a when clause. Correction: God's destruction of Sodom displays His wrath.]
2. I like a small college because I can get to know the professors better.
[Incomplete comparison: better than what else, where else, or who or whom else?]
3. My high school physics course was fortunately just as hard as college.
[Incongruous comparison: a single course cannot be compared with college.]
4. What I found most surprising in college was that you can have a conference with your professors any time you want one.
[Shift in person: if you begin with I, stick with it. Better:...that I can have a conference with my professors....]
5. Although the government allows eighteen-year-olds to vote, they refuse to trust them with liquor.
[Shift in number: a collective noun [such as government, class, nation, family, team, or committee) may be considered as either singular or plural, but it must be treated consistently.]
6. The story of Huckleberry Finn centers around the river.
[Incongruous metaphor. The center, whether of a circle or of a story, cannot be "around" anything else. "Centers upon" or "revolves around" are both more logical, although both are somewhat overused.]
7. Both Jane Eyre and Macbeth differ in their degrees of unselfishness and their willingness to accept their fates.
[Incongruous because of redundancy: if A differs from B, B naturally differs from A. Therefore, Both is redundant. Better: Jane Eyre and Macbeth differ....]
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