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The original sentence:

It is recognition of compassion’s part that leads the upholders of capital punishment to accuse the abolitionists of sentimentality in being more sorry for the murderer than for his victim.

My questions are:

  1. Which one does "in being more sorry..." modify, "the abolitionists" or "sentimentality"? I would pick "the abolitionists."

  2. Is it also fine to drop the preposition "in" before "being more sorry" as a state of being?

It is recognition of compassion’s part that leads the upholders of capital punishment to accuse the abolitionists of sentimentality being more sorry for the murderer than for his victim.

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Good (a.k.a. tough) question(s)!

  1. I agree that the modification is to the abolitionists. One way to test that is to rearrange as something like:

It is recognition of compassion’s part that leads the upholders of capital punishment to accuse the abolitionists, in being more sorry for the murderer than for his victim, of sentimentality.

  1. Possible, but a bit risky. Dropping the “in” makes your first question even more relevant. I suspect most readers would still conclude that the meaning was as before, but I reckon omitting the “in” just dials up the dissonance a tad. That might be lessened by instead of simply removing the “in”, it were replaced,by a comma, but I still prefer the original form.

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