Letter — Headline was embarrassing

The leading headline of August 2, 2018’s edition of the Trumbull Times contains a misplaced modifier, which should be viewed as most embarrassing: “Democrats debate tolls, police shooting, criminal record at SHU.”

What does the phrase “at SHU” modify? Is the criminal record at SHU or did the debate take place at SHU?

As the text reads it gives the immediate impression that some criminal record at SHU was discussed in the debate. Once we read the article, of course, we clearly understand that it was the criminal record of a candidate which was one of the topics in debate. Therefore “at SHU” should more correctly and logically be placed near the verb “debate.” The debate took place at SHU.

Headline edited: “At SHU Democrats debate tolls, police shooting and a person’s criminal record.” Law, logic and grammar can be pains in the neck, but also very helpful, even necessary.

Msgr. J. James Cuneo