Hi here is a sentence in my personal statement for grad school, and I am not sure which expression I should choose.

As a research assistant for professor X, my objective was to do...


As a research assistant for professor X, I aimed to do...

Is there anything wrong about the Subject of the first expression?

Thank you very much in advance for your kind help!


The first sentence suffers from a "dangling modifier", which is frowned upon in formal English. In that case, you should choose the second sentence.

You can reword the first sentence though: "My objective as a research assistant was to..."

However, for good writing practices, people prefer to see what you have actually done and not what you were assigned to do.

When you say "my objective was," you're not actually saying what you did.

When you say "I aimed," you are stating your actual actions.

On top of that, I'd get rid of "aimed" entirely, which is in essence a synonym for "tried." Instead of saying what you tried to do, say what you actually accomplished. This is a big mistake people make when making resumes and personal statements.

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    If I understand the OP correctly, the OP worried that As a research assistant for professor X, my objective was to do... might be a case of a dangling modifier, and some people may consider this incorrect. – Damkerng T. Dec 14 '16 at 5:45
  • Thanks a million! You clear all my doubts! Not only for the dangling modifier, but also for the concept of saying my accomplishments. Thanks, for both of you @DamkerngT. – sparrow Dec 14 '16 at 12:37

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