Writing for Business

Jan 13 2009   7:02PM GMT

Writing for Business — modifier placement

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?

The code __________________________.
a. needs to be rewritten badly
b. badly needs to be rewritten

Answer: b

Explanation: Badly is taken to modify whatever word it’s closest to. In this example, if you say the code needs to be rewritten badly, that means it needs to be rewritten and that the rewrite must be a bad one.

On the other hand, by placing badly right next to needs, the reader understands that the need for a rewrite is extreme. (It is likely to be understood that an improvement over the original is desired.)

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