Similar, but no cigar

“The league will follow a similar structure as the original XFL did in 2001.”

Oh my. Where to begin?

  1. In the context of the article from which I plucked this gem, it’s clear the author did not simply leave out a crucial comma. He did not intend to say, “The league will follow a similar structure, as the original XFL did in 2001.” He did, in fact, intend to say that the league will follow a structure similar to the one followed by the XFL in 2001. But he said it a bit clumsily, didn’t he?
  2. To “follow a similar structure as” is bad English. Why? Because two things can be similar, or they can be similar to each other, but nothing can ever be similar as something else.
  3. Even if the author had written, “The league will follow a similar structure to the original XFL,” I would gripe — because the phrase “similar to” should stick together whenever possible. You get a smoother flow from “The league will follow a structure similar to the original,” etc.
  4. “Did.” By the time we get to “did” in this sentence, we’ve already hit so many potholes, I’m crabby.

Kindly rewrite and get back to me.

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