By Claire Kehrwald Cook
The fundamental advisor for all writers. With over seven hundred examples of unique and edited sentences, this e-book offers information regarding modifying innovations, grammar, and utilization for each author from the scholar to the broadcast writer
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Additional resources for The MLA's Line by Line, How to Edit Your Own Writing
Sometimes you can simply delete the subject and verb. These sentences show the expendable words in brackets: There are at least two larger opportunities [that exist] in this area. ) The result is an organization [that is] uniquely tailored to its customer base. Those [who are] invited to participate on the panel pay their own travel expenses. Montaque, [which is located] in the far northwest corner of the state, is the best place for sighting blue herons. Sometimes you have to substitute a word or two for the three or four you eliminate.
For example: Critics have raised doubts about attempts to interpret Kleist's response precisely because his skeptical statements obscure his thoughts. Following an infinitive and preceding an adverbial clause, precisely can modify either. Are the attempts to interpret precisely, or are the doubts precisely because? If precisely should modify interpret, you might consider putting it before or after that word, but it would either split the infinitive or disrupt the sentence flow—awkward solutions FAULTY CONNECTIONS best avoided.
The following sentence includes a split infinitive that careful stylists would avoid and another that they would accept, at least if the only alternative were to transpose the adverb: To properly assess the situation, you have to carefully weigh planned improvements against anticipated results. Putting properly after situation improves the sentence, but if you take carefully out of the infinitive, where can you put it? It modifies weigh. Placed after the infinitive, it would seem to modify planned; before the to, it would sound unnatural; after improvements, it would separate word groups that belong together; and at the end of the sentence, it PUTTING MODIFIERS IN THEIR PLACES 23 would be too remote from the verb it modifies.