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Section 6.11.1

Interrupted Sentence Structure

Placing a modifier between the subject and the verb orbetween the verb and the direct object can weaken thestructure of the sentence and make the sentence difficult to interpret. Ingeneral, the longer and more complicated the modifier, the more it weakens thesentence. Although you can often get away with interrupting the structure of thesentence with a short (one-word) modifier, adding a longer modifier significantlyworsens the sentence.


Weak

The heron, egret, and stork colonies in Everglades National Park that onceeach contained tens of thousands of birds whose bustling extravagance helpedinspire the founding in 1905 of the National Association of Audubon Societies(later the National Audubon Society) have shrunk by 95 percent since the1930s.

Improved

The bird colonies in Everglades National Park once each contained tens ofthousands of birds whose bustling extravagance helped inspire the founding in1905 of the National Association of Audubon Societies (later the National AudubonSociety). These colonies of herons, egrets, and storks have shrunk by 95 percentsince the 1930s.

--Norman Boucher, "Back to the Everglades," Technology Review(modified)


If possible, avoid placing a modifier between the verb and the direct object.


Weak

Inventors unlocked more than a century ago the secretsof turning the sun's rays into mechanical power.

Improved

Inventors unlocked the secrets of turning the sun's rays into mechanicalpower more than a century ago.

Improved

More than a century ago, inventors unlocked the secretsof turning the sun's rays into mechanical power.

--Charles Smith, "Revisiting Solar Power's Past," TechnologyReview


If possible, avoid splitting an infinitive with a modifier placed between to and the verb.


Weak

The ability to assemble structures at the atomic scale will require thedevelopment of molecular assemblers: tiny, programmable robots able toprecisely provide positional chemical bonding.

Improved

The ability to assemble structures at the atomic scale will require thedevelopment of molecular assemblers: tiny, programmable robots able toprovide precise positional chemical bonding.

--Kai Wu, "Prometheus Returns" SciTech Magazine


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## Interrupted Sentence Structure ##
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