While browsing stack exchange web sites I'm coming across sentences like this: As a group unfamiliar with RPGs, how do I encourage my players to read the rulebook?

Or this: As a Senior Developer, both of you are correct. It's finding the balance that you must work towards.

In my native language such usage of "As a 'someone'" is incorrect. But my native language is not English.

I can understand when someone says "As a senior developer, I have a lot of development experience" Here is I am a developer and I have the experience. This makes sense. In the examples above, it's not the senior developer who is "both correct" and it's not the group who wants to encourage reading. Because of that these usages sound wrong to me.

Are they in fact correct?

  • 2
    You are correct. These are what are called "dangling modifiers" and are deprecated in formal writing. – StoneyB Jun 11 '15 at 10:31

You should read "as a [jobdescription]" as a shortened form of "as someone in the role/position of a [jobdescription]" or "speaking from the position of a [jobdescription]".

This construction allows to utter a statement that is consistent with one aspect of your self, while it may disagree with another one. Of course you can use it to point out you experience ("as a senior developer"), but that is only an additional aspect.

Consider this example:

As a mother, I want to spend as much time as possible with my baby, but as a wife I know that time alone with my husband is important for our mariage.

  • No, these cases work, too. Read the first as "As a member of a group unfamiliar with..., I wonder how to encourage...", the second as "Speaking from my viewpoint/experience as a senior developer, I think that..." The ways how this "as a X" constructions work are quite versatile. – Stephie Jun 11 '15 at 10:03
  • And they never mean "I am a X", they mean "assuming the position of X". – Stephie Jun 11 '15 at 10:05
  • Note though, that there is no "member" in the first example. Just "group". Your comments and edits helped. Thank you. – Andrew Savinykh Jun 11 '15 at 10:26
  • The "member" is implied in the "I" of the second clause. – Stephie Jun 11 '15 at 10:27

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