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I came across the following sentence in a game app's description:

You can hit several at a time by lining up enemies on a single arc with Piercing strikes.

I am confused about the meaning of the sentence because of the ambiguity of the phrase "with Piercing strikes."

Does the sentence mean that the Piercing strikes are instrumental in the lining up of enemies? Is there a problem with the quoted sentence?

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    I think it's just a poorly written sentence. I read it as "When enemies are lined up on a single arc, you can use piercing strikes to hit several [of them] at a time." Piercing strikes must be a method of dealing with them, not a utility to line them up. But it's very unclear. May 2, 2021 at 19:42
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    As you say, it’s ambiguous. I’d guess it’s a misplaced modifier, but only because “piercing strikes” sounds more like something you would hit enemies with than like a crowd-control power. If so, it would be preferable to write, “You can hit several at a time with piercing strikes by ....”
    – Davislor
    May 2, 2021 at 22:08

1 Answer 1

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You can hit several at a time by lining up enemies on a single arc with Piercing strikes.

If this is a game involving hitting or striking enemies, then the example seems to have a misplaced-modifier problem.

We could say

You can hit several at a time with Piercing strikes by lining up enemies on a single arc.

The following could be better, with a clear antecedent and pronoun pair.

You can hit several enemies at a time with Piercing strikes by lining them up on a single arc.

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