Prepositional Phrase, Adverbial Phrase

Heard on the radio:

In a startling announcement, the New York Mint plans to release a limited number of $100 union silver coins to the public.

There’s only one thing wrong with this sentence: it doesn’t make sense.

The openingĀ  prepositional phrase, “In a startling announcement,” modifies the infinitive “to release.” By specifying where the mint will release the silver coins, this prepositional phrase is also an adverbial phrase. That’s fine. Prepositional phrases often double as adverbial phrases.

The problem is that there is no way to release silver coins in a startling announcement. You might release them in a bank, a restaurant, or even a drugstore, but definitely not in a startling announcement.

Here are two ways to make this sentence logical:

In a startling announcement, the New York Mint divulged plans to release a limited number of $100 union silver coins to the public.

See? Now “in a startling announcement” modifies “divulged.” It is logical to divulge plans in a startling announcement.

Here’s another option:

Recently, the director of the New York Mint made the startling announcement that the mint plans to release a limited number of $100 union silver coins to the public.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase “At a recent press conference” doubles as an adverbial phrase. It modifies the verb “made” and tells readers where the director made the startling announcement. It is logical to make an announcement (startling or not) at a press conference.

Cheers,

Tara Treasurefield
Tara’s Writing Studio

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
This entry was posted in clear thinking, parts of speech, preposition. Bookmark the permalink.

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