Stop Signs for the Reader: The Word Respectively Is As Bad As Former and Latter

An earlier post said that the words former and latter are almost always a stop sign for the reader. An example:

During a lively Fox News discussion with Bud Abbot and Lou Costello over the Mueller Report and the possibility of President Trump’s impeachment, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Donna Brazile agreed that the former was more qualified to discuss national politics than the latter.

Most readers will have to stop and go back to understand that Carlson and Brazile agree that Abbot and not Costello is the one more qualified to discuss national politics.

The word respectively is similar stop sign. Read this Atlantic magazine announcement from editor Jeffrey Goldberg and see if you understand the roles of Sharma and Yager without stopping and rereading:

The Atlantic, I am proud to say, is a talent magnet, and these five journalists are all excellent additions to our growing team,” Goldberg said.

The five editors and writers will contribute to coverage areas that have been growing markedly in the past 12 months. Earlier this month, Goldberg also announced a restructure of his editorial leadership team, promoting LaFrance to executive editor overseeing all of digital, podcasting, and video; and both Swati Sharma and Sarah Yager to managing editors running day-to-day coverage and editorial operations, respectively.

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