Usage and Grammar

Q. I often have to edit sentences with dangling modifiers—for example, “As a valued supporter, I am pleased to invite you . . .” My go-to improvement is to add you into the sentence: “As you are a valued supporter, I am pleased to invite you . . .” That is, until today, I got back feedback from a higher-up that said it had to be changed, because “you can’t change the subject of the sentence from you to I.” Now I’m really confused! Is that a legitimate critique? Should I just rework the entire sentence? Thanks!

A. Although the higher-up botched the grammar critique (you didn’t change the subject of the sentence; it was always I), it’s clear that your editing was rejected, so yes, you need to try again. For instance, you could move the offending phrase elsewhere (“I am happy to invite you, a valued supporter, . . .”) or make it declarative (“You are a valued supporter, and I am happy to invite you . . .”). If your higher-up just can’t part with the opening phrase, explain that you would be happy to reword but can’t think of a more efficient way to eliminate the dangling modifier. Using the term “dangling modifier” is often enough to frighten someone who doesn’t know grammar into complying.