What’s including what?

A colleague was wondering about a sentence of the type “Borgop Company’s commitment to environmental responsibility is wide-ranging, including [assorted things].” It didn’t sound quite right to her but she couldn’t put her finger on the reason.

My take is that it’s because a set of things “including” specified things is a plural, whereas commitment is a mass object. If it were a collective, it would work:

Margaret’s doll collection is wide-ranging, including seventeen from China, eighty-six from Scotland, and at least two from Las Vegas.

And as a plural it would work (though it might seem to suggest that the individual objects travel a lot):

Margaret’s dolls are wide-ranging, including seventeen from China, eighty-six from Scotland, and at least two from Las Vegas.

But as a mass object, and an abstract at that, it’s problematic:

Margaret’s interest in dolls is wide-ranging, including seventeen from China, eighty-six from Scotland, and at least two from Las Vegas.

Also, some people might find it odd to say a commitment is wide-ranging.

5 responses to “What’s including what?

  1. Brian Hitchcock

    I would put a semicolon after “wide-ranging”, and continue “; it includes xxxx,…”

  2. Redundant comes to mind here. Including is already contained in wide-ranging. Elaborate on wide-ranging, but certainly not by saying, including, again.

  3. I really struggle with including followed by an adverb or, especially, and adverbial phrase, as is “We held several meetings, including in Miramar and Seatoun”. I’ve picked an example that’s hard to fix here — often you can make it sound better (I’m scared to say more correct) by inserting a pronoun: “Several of the meetings, including in Miramar in Seatoun, failed to attract a quorum” — here I would just insert “those” before the first “in”.Come to think of it, I don’t like anything that isn’t nominal (or pronominal, immediately after such “includings”; “including by doing x” bugs me just as much, and also calls for a rewrite rather than a tweak. Is this a grammar point

  4. …or just a really ugly mannerism?

    • I do think including is overused, though I don’t chafe at its extended uses perhaps as much as you do. It seems to be a word in the process of expanding its ambit. Which means we may be able to influence it in our small ways. So it merits some thought…

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