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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Criminal Sentence 70: Another Lovely Misplaced Modifier

From an article about a famous person diagnosed with cancer:

"Benefiting from early detection through a doctor-ordered MRI, the cancer is not life-threatening."

I don't think the cancer is benefiting from early detection (if the cancer had feelings, it would probably be sad to be thwarted). Rather, it is the person who is benefiting:

"She has benefited from early detection through a doctor-ordered MRI, so the cancer is not life-threatening."

I have two other gripes about this sentence: "life-threatening" does not need a hyphen, and "detection" is a nominalization. Anyone want to try to reword it? It could be one or two sentences.


S. Cunningham said...

Her cancer, detected at an early stage by a doctor-ordered MRI, is not life-threatening.

I'd strike "doctor-ordered" from the sentence, unless the article about a doctor who did something out of the ordinary by ordering that particular MRI.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

I would not use the hyphen in life-threatening, and I would perhaps try to use active voice instead of passive. Want to try again?

Sarah Cunningham said...

A doctor-ordered MRI detected her cancer at an early stage, and found that it was not life threatening.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Sarah, I think that is pretty succinct, but I wouldn't use a comma before "and."
Good job!

Anonymous said...

The MRI detected the cancer early enough to prevent it from becoming life threatening.