The other evening, I came across this sentence and got stuck on the questions it raised for me. It’s a good example of how asking a sentence to do too much work can interrupt the reader’s flow:
A middle-aged man came through the crowded room and Marsha introduced me to the owner, who led us outside.
Who is the middle-aged man? Is he the owner? Apparently, since there doesn’t appear to be any other reason to mention him, so no harm done; except that it would be better if the questions didn’t arise in the first place. Here are a couple of alternatives. Note that both of them divide the work into two sentences, instead of leaving it all to one:
The owner, a middle-aged man, came through the crowded room to greet us. Marsha introduced me to him, and he led us outside.
A middle aged man who turned out to be the owner came through the crowded room. Marsha introduced me to him, and he led us outside.
Questions and comments welcome.