Fuzzy Sentence Structure

Last week, I heard this on the radio:

She is a former prosecutor and author.

Because of the way the words are arranged, the meaning is fuzzy. Does the adjective “former” modify both “prosecutor” and “author”? Or does it modify “prosectutor” alone? In other words, is the woman who is the subject of this sentence both a former prosecutor and a former author? Or is she a former prosecutor who now writes?

If it’s the latter, a little bit of rearranging would make that clear:

She is an author and a former prosecutor.

Here’s another option:

A former prosecutor, she is now an author.


Tara Treasurefield
Tara’s Writing Studio


About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
This entry was posted in clear thinking, sentence structure, word usage. Bookmark the permalink.

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