The Rules of Separation
How to make sure your words all hang together as they should - because separation can have unfortunate consequences.
Sometimes it's a good idea to play about with the construction of a sentence. Altering the position of a subject and a descriptor can bring a piece of writing to life - but in doing so, it's important to take care that the meaning is not mangled.
One nice little technique is to begin a sentence with an ‘introductory phrase' which relates to the second part of the sentence. For example:
1. As a keen mathematician, this style of research was both enjoyable and rewarding.
2. Used correctly, presentations and speeches can really benefit from Grammar to Go.
A familiar style, right? But both of the sentences above are actually wrong. This is because the subject of the main part of the sentence is different from the one that the introductory phrase describes.
In Example 1, who is the keen mathematician? If it is ‘I' (I am a keen mathematician), the main part of the sentence needs to start with that - like this:
1. As a keen mathematician, I found this style of research both enjoyable and rewarding.
Similarly, in Example 2 the introductory phrase describes Grammar to Go. So that should be what comes immediately after the comma, like this:
2. Used correctly, Grammar to Go can be of real benefit when writing presentations and speeches.
Remember - an introductory phrase introduces the words straight after it!
Over to you - is this right?
3. While reading through his speech for the last time, the fish in the professor's briefcase began to smell.
Does this help or hinder? Are you more or less confused? Let us know - we really want to help. If you're not sure of the answer to no. 3 - send in your answer and we'll let you know.