More examples of modifier-heavy, subject-light sentences

I forgot that the most egregious ones in my collection were hiding in my iPhone notes!

  1. During this field experience, it was the first time I saw an autistic support classroom in action.
  2. In Ms. X’s classroom, she teaches math and reading.
  3. When observing the speech therapist and teacher, they would show just how dedicated they are to their jobs.

Sentence 3 illustrates another hazard of not revising such sentences (a hazard far worse than loose structure and wordiness): some of these  modifiers, however innocently they start out, can end up as danglers.

One thought on “More examples of modifier-heavy, subject-light sentences

  1. Sentence 2 could work if it had been previously established that the writer was referring to an aide that comes into Ms. X’s classroom to teach.

    Yeah, I didn’t think so. 😎

    These and the previous set, to my eye, are showing the perils of pronouns. (Sort of like the Perils of Pauline, but not quite so cliffhanger-y.) In each case, rather than use a direct subject for the sentences, the subject is referred to only obliquely. And the result only rises from the swamps of ungrammaticality* to the level of “clunky” when the writer gets lucky.

    There’s a virtue in the simple, declarative sentence that seems too often lost on both naive writers and their teachers.

    * Today, my prose shall be purple. I’d prefer it be teal, but that seems out of reach, alas.


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