the misplaced or dangling modifier problem n.
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The misplaced or dangling modifier problem. Modifiers are words, phrases or clauses that add to the meaning of your sentence. Examples of modifiers: One-word modifier: Safeway suggested changes. Safeway suggested radical changes. A modifier phrase:

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modifiers are words phrases or clauses that add to the meaning of your sentence
Modifiers are words, phrases or clauses that add to the meaning of your sentence

Examples of modifiers:

  • One-word modifier:

Safeway suggested changes.

Safeway suggested radical changes.

  • A modifier phrase:

Safeway, the Chicago based insurance company, suggested changes.

Safeway, the Chicago based insurance company, suggested changes in its health insurance policy.

  • A modifier clause:

When the fiscal year ended with a deficit, Safeway suggested changes.

EN112 BMCC Melis

modifiers work best when they are closest to the word they modify
Modifiers work best when they are closest to the word they modify
  • When the fiscal year ended with a deficit, Safeway, the Chicago based insurance company, suggested radical changes in its health insurance policy.
  • In its health insurance policy, Safeway, the Chicago based insurance company, suggested radical changes when the fiscal year ended with a deficit.

EN112 BMCC Melis

one word modifiers only hardly almost etc radically change meaning when they are moved
One-word modifiers (“only,” “hardly” “almost” etc.) radically change meaning when they are moved

COMPARE:

I paid almost $5,000 for the car repair.

I almost paid $5,000 for the car repair.

Only John wears a tuxedo in the office.

John wears only a tuxedo in the office.

John wears a tuxedo only in the office.

John wears his only tuxedo in the office.

EN112 BMCC Melis

when modifiers are misplaced the sentence does not communicate its intended meaning
When modifiers are misplaced, the sentence does not communicate its intended meaning
  • Ann walked the dog wearing high heels.
  • Wearing high heals, Ann walked the dog.
  • The man kept an eye on the toddler, sitting on a bench and smoking a cigar.
  • Sitting on a bench and smoking a cigar, the man kept an eye on the toddler.

EN112 BMCC Melis

which modifier is placed correctly
Which modifier is placed correctly?
  • Pregnant and tired looking, the old man gave his seat to the young woman.
  • The old man gave his seat to the pregnant and tired looking young woman.
  • Dressed in white satin, the father walked the bride down the aisle.
  • The father walked the bride, who was dressed in white satin, down the aisle.
  • Dressed in white satin, the bride was walked down the isle by her father.

EN112 BMCC Melis