Monday, June 18, 2007

Place prepositional phrases near the words they modify

Harbrace 25a (2) : Place a modifying prepositional phrase to indicate clearly what the phrase modifies

From the News Sentinel:
"...Vineyard Productions previously made a film called The Witness for the Pequot Indian Nation in East Tennessee, so the area was already was on the company's radar when locations were being scouted...."

In the sentence above, the prepositional phrase "in East Tennessee" modifies "film," and not the Pequot Indian Nation, which is, of course, based in Massachusetts and Connecticut. This is a misplaced modifying prepositional phrase.

Examples in Harbrace:

MISPLACED Arne says that he means to leave the country in the first stanza.
BETTER Arne says in the first stanza that he means to leave the country.

MISPLACED Heated arguments had often occurred over technicalities in the middle of a game.
BETTER Heated arguments over technicalities had often occurred in the middle of a game.

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