I call it a “misconnect.”
I don’t think that’s the technical term for it.
But the concept is: You set the reader up to think you’re talking about one thing, and then you talk about something entirely different.
- As a valued friend of the Mission, I am writing to ask for your prayers and financial support.
“As” tells you that you’re going to get an equivalent, after the comma.
So when you get to “I,” you think back to “As.”
That word, after all — “As” — was the warning signal, like a light that flashes as you approach the train tracks, telling you that the identity of the person who’s being described is the person who’s about to be more fully described.
But in this case, the writer (“I am writing to ask”) isn’t the “valued friend” previewed at the beginning of the sentence.
- As you are a valued friend of the Mission, I am writing to ask….
- As a valued friend of the Mission, you are someone I feel comfortable asking….
As you are a valued friend of EnglishIsAComplicatedLanguage.com, I feel comfortable whining to you this way.
(P.S. Totally unrelated: Check out my charity in the former USSR; we’re doing good work and we need your help.)