So instead of doing something productive, I'll pick on someone.
The NBA held its draft lottery yesterday, and the Minnesota Timberwolves landed the third pick. This is good for them, because it means they didn't have their usual bad luck and drop a few spots. There will be a number of good players to choose from at the third pick (though only two are considered real prizes--and won't be available at the third pick). A group of Timberwolves fans are circulating a petition to encourage the team to draft O.J. Mayo, a guard from USC who's had some issues recently.
I can't argue against their preference for Mayo--even though the Wolves already have about 37 players best suited for shooting guard, where Mayo seems most comfortable--but I have to mock one of the sentences in the petition:
We are not threatening anyone and this should not be considered one.I suppose at some point of my life I'd have read that sentence, thought something there was mildly screwy, and then moved on, but I can't get it out of my head this time.
The problem is with the "one" at the end of the sentence. Structurally, that word is meant to point out one out of a group of count nouns earlier in the sentence. The only two nouns appearing before "one," though, are "We" and "anyone." To see if either of these make sense, we can modify "one" with the other nouns:
We are not threatening anyone and this should not be considered one of we.No. That doesn't make any sense. How about the other noun?
We are not threatening anyone and this should not be considered one of anyone.Again, no. What the writer clearly meant was this:
We are not threatening anyone and this should not be considered a threat.Redundant, but at least now it's a sentence in English. The problem is that the word "one" can't refer to a verb, and it won't do the work of nominalizing a verb just to make the sentence sensible.
There. I've purged my inner pedant for the moment. I should be free of it for twenty minutes or so.