Squinting Modifier - is the gramamr in this sentence correct?


According to grammar check, there is a squinting modifier in this sentence. It states that the modifier "from The City Foundation" may be a defining clause in your sentence and is therefore a squinting modifier.

I don't think "from The City Foundation" is a modifier. However, the sentence does seem slightly akwardly phrased. Does anyone know of a better way I can phrase this?

See example:

The conference organizers will use all of the donations received from The City Foundation to provide an informative and accommodating conference for the attendees from our student chapters across Canada.
asked Jan 12 '13 at 19:38 John Miller New member

1 answer


“From the City Foundation” modifies donations.  It tells us which donations you are talking about.  A squinting modifier is one that is in the middle of the sentence and might belong to either what is before it or after it.  The software doesn’t understand the words, it looks for patterns. 


When you have a long sentence with a lot of prepositions and no commas, it can get a bit confusing.  The word right after the City Foundation is to. One common pattern could look like this: they will use all of the donations received, from these to those, for that purpose. 


The software might also be confused because “the” should not be capitalized.  Even though the organization is named “The City Foundation”, we don’t capitalize “the” when written in the sentence. 


Is the City Foundation making multiple donations to the conference organizers?  I suspect that individuals are making donations to the City Foundation, then that organization is making one contribution to the conference.  If that is true, then received from should be replaced with received through


Is the point of the sentence to explain what the donations will be used for, in order to increase donations?  A conference, by nature, should be informative and accommodating. Does the ordinary need to be included in this sentence?  Is there something special that this money will provide?  Perhaps the conference won’t happen without this money. Maybe adults pay their own way, and the donations pay for students to attend for free.  Is the City Foundation looking for donations from people across Canada or just from the city?  If the latter, does the reader need to know that it will help students across Canada or just students?  Do we need to be told that conference organizers will use the money to organize the conference?  When you have a long sentence with lots of prepositional phrases, these questions will help determine if everything is needed in the sentence or if a second sentence is required.


Your sentence basically tells us this:
Donations made through the City Foundation will be used to provide a conference.  Students from chapters across Canada will attend.


Instead, tell them something they want to know.
Donations made through the City Foundation will provide student conference attendees with the opportunity to learn and network alongside leading industry professionals. 


I know you didn’t ask for general writing suggestions, but I’ve been stuck at home sick (and bored).  Hope it helps.

link answered Jan 12 '13 at 23:40 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Sorry you're sick, Patty. I hope it's not the flu.

Lewis NeidhardtJan 12 '13 at 23:46

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