The Inside Write Stuff – where you place a participial phrase makes a difference

A careful lawyer carefully locates participial phrases, because its position can change sentence rhythm, shift emphasis, create sentence variety, and link to the next sentence.

(1) Wanting to delay the closing past its fiscal year end, Big Company cancelled two meetings and left behind its key decision maker from the negotiating session.

(2) Big Company, wanting to delay the closing past its fiscal year end, cancelled two meetings and left behind its key decision maker from the negotiating session.

(3) Big Company cancelled two meetings and left behind its key decision maker from the negotiating session, wanting to delay the closing past its fiscal year end.

In (1), the lawyer puts stress on the reason for Big Company’s foot shuffling. (2) makes the reader pause twice and emphasizes Big Company and the cancellations. Variation (3) has an almost ironic tone to its added-on explanation for the delay.

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