Misplaced and dangling modifiers
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Chapter 15. Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers. English Brushup, 3E John Langan. Misplaced Parts. When building a sentence, avoid needless separation of related parts of the sentence.

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Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

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Misplaced and dangling modifiers

Chapter 15

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

English Brushup, 3EJohn Langan


Misplaced parts

Misplaced Parts

  • When building a sentence, avoid needless separation of related parts of the sentence.

    • A misplaced modifier is positioned in a sentence so that it is unclear which word, phrase, or clause is modified.


Misplaced parts1

Modifiers such asalmost, only,just, even, hardly, nearly,andmerely, should be placed immediately before the words they modify.

Example:

My mother only works on Saturdays and Sundays.

This sentence indicates that the mother only works -- she does not eat, sleep, or talk.

Misplaced Parts


Misplaced parts2

Misplaced Parts

We must place the modifier before a different word so the sentence is clearly understood.

Ex.: My mother only works on Saturdays and Sundays.

Revised: My mother works only on Saturdays and Sundays.


Misplaced parts3

Misplaced Parts

Example…..

Her job is to file newspaper

articles about handgun use

in the library.

A modifying

phrase should

clearly indicate

what the phrase

modifies.

Revised…..

Her job in the library is to file newspaper articles about handgun use.


Modifying clauses

Modifying Clauses

Modifying clauses should be

placed near the words they modify.

Revised…..

Before the class

begins, the librarian

explains

how they use the

computer to

do research.

Example…..

The librarian explains

how they use the

computer to do research

before the class

begins.


Dangling modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

A modifier that opens a sentence must be followed immediately by the word it is meant to describe.

Otherwise, the result is a

Dangling Modifier.


Dangling modifiers1

Dangling Modifiers

Here’s an example:

Jumping from limb to limb, the spectators at the zoo were delighted by the monkeys.

(The spectators weren’t jumping, were they?)


Dangling modifiers2

Dangling Modifiers

That’s the trouble with

Your sentences take on an unintended meaning.

Let’s correct the sentence about the monkeys.

Dangling Modifiers :


Dangling modifiers3

Incorrect:

Jumping from limb to limb, the spectators at the zoo were delighted by the monkeys.

Correct:

Jumping from limb to limb, the monkeys delighted the spectators at the zoo.

Dangling Modifiers

How did the sentence change?


Dangling modifiers4

We put the subject right after the opening word group.

Jumping from limb to limb, the delighted the spectators at the zoo.

Dangling Modifiers

monkeys

Can we fix the sentence another way?


Dangling modifiers5

Yes! We can place the subject within the opening word group.

While the were jumping from limb to limb, they delighted the spectators at the zoo.

Dangling Modifiers

monkeys

Let’s review. . .


Correcting dangling modifiers

Correcting Dangling Modifiers

Decide on a logical subject, and do one of the following:

1. Place the subject right after the opening word group.

OR

2. Place the subject within the opening word group.


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