Poor Lawrence

“Lawrence, as one of our long-time sponsors, I was hoping I could bring you a humble request.”

Who’s the sponsor? Lawrence? Or the writer? If Lawrence is actually a long-time sponsor, he’s not getting proper credit for his generosity.

I think this sentence was intended to say:

  • “Lawrence, because you are one of our long-time sponsors, I was hoping I could bring you a humble request.”

OR:

  • “Lawrence, as one of our long-time sponsors, you might be open to this humble request.”

The culprit here is the damnable little word as. Once you unleash it as a preposition — meaning, more or less, “in the role of” — as starts connecting things, whether you want them connected or not.

In this case, because as has been deployed, one of our long-time sponsors is equated to whatever comes immediately after the comma — in this case, I.

This kind of “misconnect” is common, but you can avoid such a potentially embarrassing error — by going on HIGH ALERT the moment you write as. If you can substitute “In the role of” for “as” and the sentence still says what you want it to say, you’re OK. If it doesn’t say what you intended, it’s time to kiss your as good-bye.

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