The following excerpt is from my book, "Netiquette IQ . . ." which is discussed in detail below. Modifiers can contribute significantly to email clarity. The
It would be possible to have an entire book dedicated to the different categories of grammatical ambiguities. Many people are not able to define these. Moreover, many would be hard-pressed even to specifically identify them. But most would feel awkwardness or need to reread sentences where these mistakes occur.
The category of “identifiers” will be briefly addressed here to assist email composers in minimizing ambiguity and increasing clarity. There are four specific types of these, which will be addressed in this section.
1. Misplaced leading modifiers
2. Misplaced trailing modifiers
3. Serial modifiers
4. Dangling participle
For the purpose of brevity a brief definition and correct/incorrect examples follow:
1. A leading modifier is any word or words that come before the word they modify; usually, directly before.
Correct: Wearing the red uniform, the player was visible from far away.
Incorrect: Wearing the red uniform, I was able to view the player from far away.
2. Serial modifier—This term defines a word or group of words describing more than one person, place, or thing.
Correct: All males/females less than 12 years old must be accompanied by their parent.
Incorrect: All males and females less than 12 years old must be accompanied by their parents.
3. Trailing modifier—this is the opposite of a leading modifier in regard to its placement in a sentence.
Correct: The one I saw score the goal was the player wearing the red uniform.
4. Dangling participle—This term probably was the most used and least understood of all. Essentially, dangling participles are modifiers that, by their placement, do not relate to the noun they should be modifying, as evidenced below.
Correct: Arriving at the game, I saw my favorite player wearing the red uniform.
Incorrect: Arriving at the game wearing a red uniform was my favorite player.
Whoever can gauge and set a consistently appropriate tone in electronic communication will have a tremendous influence on the outcome. The greater this attention and practice are, the more successful the communications and the better the atmosphere will be.
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Additionally, I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services. Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.
Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology market.