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# Non Essential Modifiers

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Intern
Joined: 25 Dec 2018
Posts: 15
Location: India
Schools: ISB '20
GPA: 4
WE: Programming (Computer Software)

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29 Mar 2019, 12:43
2
While structuring a sentence, does the non-essential modifiers effect sentence structure?

To get to his house,Jim biked along an old dirt road,which cut through the woods.
Jim biked along an old dirt road,which cut through the woods,to get to his house.
Jim biked along an old dirt road,to get to his house,which cut through the woods.

How can we differentiate which sentence is correct?

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Manager
Joined: 21 Jul 2018
Posts: 111
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Social Entrepreneurship

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29 Mar 2019, 18:15
1
Quote:
While structuring a sentence, does the non-essential modifiers effect sentence structure?

To get to his house, Jim biked along an old dirt road,which cut through the woods.
Jim biked along an old dirt road,which cut through the woods,to get to his house.
Jim biked along an old dirt road, to get to his house,which cut through the woods.

How can we differentiate which sentence is correct?

I'll take a shot at this. Yes, placement of non-essential modifiers affect overall meaning. In the first example:

To get to his house, Jim biked along an old dirt road, which cut through the woods.
"Which" properly refers to the "road." The "which" clause tells us that the extra description is not necessary to the overall sentence meaning.

Jim biked along an old dirt road, which cut through the woods, to get to his house.
"Which" properly refers to the "road" again. The difference between this sentence and the one before is pretty minor. If I had to take a shot at the difference, I'd say that this sentence emphasises the action of biking...whereas the first example seems to stress the first clause: "to get to his house." You'd have to see option A to determine what the crux of the sentence is and whether or not the (non) essential phrase can actually be eliminated and still have the sentence maintain its integrity.

Jim biked along an old dirt road, to get to his house, which cut through the woods.
This sentence alters the meaning. "Which" generally refers to the closest preceding main noun. In this version, "which" seems to be referring to "house." Can a house be cutting through the woods? Not really.

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Non Essential Modifiers   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2019, 18:15
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