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I'm facing a great challenge in writing a sentence, and am also having trouble breaking the sentence down on a technical level to make it relevant to a Stack Exchange post.

The sentence version I've arrived on is as follows:

At the request of Bob, a peer of mine, Alice, had written a letter to a group where Alice and I are members, The Letter Writers Association of America.

Is this sentence syntactically correct? I feel like it's awkwardly worded, and happens to be the opening sentence to a very important letter, which is why I'm focused on resolving the issue.

Here's are a few alternate versions that I have come up with:

A peer of mine, Alice, had written a letter to a group where she and I are members, The Letter Writers Association of America, at the request of Bob. .

Alice, a peer of mine, had written a letter to a group where she and I are members, The Letter Writers Association of America, at the request of Bob.

I'd rather lead with information about Bob, as the reader will know who Bob is, rather than lead with information about Alice.

I believe the issues are as follows:

  1. I am unsure whether or not the sentence structure is correct. Is it correct?

  2. How do I deal with conveying the information that Alice is related to Bob, and that I am related to Alice via our membership the Letter Writers Association of America effective?

[Update]

Here is a new structure in reaction to comments below:

I recently came across valuable information via a peer group where I'm a member, The Letter Writes Associatation of America. A peer of mine, Alice Williams, shared this information at the request of Bob Jones.

This expresses that source of the information, my relation to Alice, and Alice's relation to Bob. It seems to have less strength/impact, but it gets the job done. I feel like the second sentence is very weak and short. What do you think? Again, the reader only knows Bob Jones.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Mitch, choster, Hellion, curiousdannii Jun 3 '17 at 5:46

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  • 5
    It's horribly ambiguous. Is Bob or Alice the "peer of mine"? – Peter Shor May 30 '17 at 11:53
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    Yeah it's a garden-path sentence, and I went down the wrong path, and so will every reader I'd expect. – RegDwigнt May 30 '17 at 12:01
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    I think you need to get your priorities straight. What is it that you actually want to say. Right now you're trying to say seven different things at once, and I'd hazard a guess that only one or two of them are actually of any importance at all. Throw away half the words. Then throw away half of what's left. Then if you're convinced you've thrown out too much, write a second sentence. Done. – RegDwigнt May 30 '17 at 12:03
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it looks like general "writing advice", not a query regarding a specific usage point. – FumbleFingers May 30 '17 at 12:19
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    In a comment above, you say that "Bob is the person who 'had written a letter ... .'" but this conflicts with my reading of all of your other versions (i.e: that Alice had done the writing). If it is Alice who wrote, and if she's your peer for more reasons than just being in the same group (and you think it's important to imply that fact by including "a peer of mine"), I'd change "At the request of Bob" to "At Bob's request"="At Bob's request, Alice, a peer of mine, had written a letter to The Letter Writers Association of America, of which she and I are [both] members." – Papa Poule May 30 '17 at 13:39
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Would this work for you?

At Bob's request, my colleague Alice wrote a letter to The Letter Writers Association of America, of which Alice and I are both members.

I like colleague rather than peer -- I'm assuming you work together in some fashion (not necessarily at a job, but in some way related to this) rather than just being people who both write letters.

By changing the structure to my colleague/peer Alice instead of one of my peers, Alice, you lose the ambiguity as to whom the peerage applies.

I like of which rather than where, but that's probably just because I'm a pretentious twit.

  • 1
    Totally feasible! I ended up splitting it into two sentences explaining how I came upon the info and how it was shared. It was the mist nature sounding structure I could come up with. Thank you for your reply! – mbrownnyc May 30 '17 at 18:51

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