I just came across this in revising, and thought it was a good example of avoiding a problem. Here it is:
She handed him the snowcone and left him to return to the ballgame.
Minor, minor, minor! But who returned to the ballgame? Did she leave him (allow him, let go of him so he could go to the ballgame), or did she LEAVE him behind (go back to the ballgame herself)?
It's just one of those constructions that confuses, and shouldn't. So I just edited out the "him" which caused the confusion, and voila! It works, and it's clear that she's the one who went back to the ballgame:
She handed him the snowcone and left to return to the ballgame.
This is the sort of dangerous decision editors have to make. I mean, it's not all fun and games, doing a line edit.
But there is a teachable point here (there always is). Writers should be conscious of the misconceptions caused by sentence construction. Stay in contact with your own meaning there, and make sure that the sentence says that and only that. (Ambiguity is great, but not about which character went back to the ballgame. Be ambiguous about emotion, about theme, about values... but not about character motion.:)
I'm wondering if-- this is such a trivial sentence. But I'm wondering if we make the action slightly different...
She grabbed the snowcone from him and left him to return to the ballgame.
Hmm. No, it's still not clear who went back to the ballgame.
Read consciously, and revise to refine meaning. And it's ALL important. Every sentence. Well, really, it is. Every unintentionally ambiguous sentence detracts from the deliberate ambiguity of more important sentences. Your reader needs to trust you-- needs to believe that THIS ambiguity means something and isn't just an accident.