Modifiers

Two sentences from ESPN.com today:

Ronnie Brown rushed for 907 yards last season as a rookie.

and

Enter to win Chris Mortensen at your draft as your personal advisor and a 42-inch hdtv.

This isn’t an isolated event. I’ve noticed quite a few of these dangling or misplaced or ambiguous or whatever they are modifiers lately, not only on ESPN but in the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and even some of the articles I’ve been reading. And while I’m usually a pretty go-with-the-flow fellow as far as language change is concerned, and while in most cases you can figure out what the sentence means (nobody thinks they’re going to plug Mort into the wall and argue about where to connect the Tivo) … this still bugs me.

I guess it’s time for a “crotchety” category.

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2 Responses to Modifiers

  1. erich says:

    I actually don’t see any problem with the first example. The second, though, is practically unintelligible. Especially out of context, it’s damn near impossible for me to parse.

  2. cbd says:

    I’d prefer “as a rookie” be at the start of the sentence.

    The second example isn’t much better in context (a Flash ad).

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