Re: Dangling Modifiers

Subject: Re: Dangling Modifiers
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 11:59:25 -0500

kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com wrote:

>He's got you on two counts:
>1. Grammar (I hate it when somebody knows more about that than me. Or is
>it more than I?)

More than I. (I think you knew that and were just trolling, but I answered anyway.)

>2. Title. He's your boss. In this case he also gets to call on the dreaded
>"because I said so" rule.

That's a dangerous attitude. If you are hired to know more than the boss about clear writing, then you should manage the relationship in such a way that title doesn't matter.

>Out of curiosity, can you give an example? I'm a big proponent of
>conversationally accurate writing when possible, and would like to see
>what your complaint is.

<on topic>I used to parrot the dictum that you should write as you speak. Well, it works for the way _I_ speak, perhaps. But it definitely does not work for the way a lot of people speak. In particular, people who tend to stand and deliver, with PowerPoint slides, in sales presentations, management reviews, and other business environments, use a lot of bloviation (not to mention throat-clearing and hand-waving expressions) that needs to be edited out of their written prose. They really are writing the way they speak, but when you look at the text you realize that they can be effective speakers but lousy writers.</on topic>

>For example, I think prepositions are GREAT things to end sentences with.
>But that's just me.

"That's me" is colloquially correct, even if grammatically incorrect. "That is I" is stilted and is appropriate only in period British drama. As for prepositions, though, grammar (in the modern sense of the syntactic rules that describe how native speakers string words together) has never prohibited using them at the end of a sentence.


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