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Move your modifier!. A Lesson in Misplaced Modifiers. Misplaced Modifier?. A fancy definition from Purdue OWL: “ A modifier is a word or phrase that adds detail or description to a sentence.”

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Move your modifier

Move your modifier!

A Lesson in Misplaced Modifiers


Misplaced modifier
Misplaced Modifier?

  • A fancy definition from Purdue OWL:

    • “A modifier is a word or phrase that adds detail or description to a sentence.”

    • “Misplaced modifiers occur when the subject of the modifier is unclear because the modifier is poorly placed.”


What does this mean

What does this mean??


Basically
Basically…

  • A modifier is a word or phrase that is supposed to describe a certain word or phrase within a sentence.

  • A misplaced modifier is a specific descriptor word or phrase that is improperly separated from the word or phrase it is supposed to describe.


What do they do
What do they do?

  • They make sentences convey ulterior meanings.

  • They can create:

    • Misunderstandings

    • Awkward sentences

    • Illogical sentences

    • A good belly laugh because some are just plain silly! 

  • Back to the seriousness….


Some awesome awkward examples
Some Awesome Awkward examples! 

(Benner)

This is implying that Jan found a watch owned by a gold man…

Hmm…a gold man…

How silly is that?!


(Benner)

In this situation, Jan found a watch that was constructed of gold and made specifically for a man to wear.

This was a case in which the misplaced modifier was the improper use of an adjective.

Misplaced modifiers can be:

-Adjectives

-Adverbs

-Phrases

-Clauses


Misplaced adverbs
Misplaced Adverbs

This can often create

sentences with

very unlikely

or ridiculous

outcomes.

We may never know what John was meant to do because of the misplacement of this adverb.

(Benner)


Misplaced phrases
Misplaced Phrases:

These make sentences sound awkward and, more often than not, do not make sense

(Benner)

Nobody wants to live in a house made of barbed wire. OUCH!


Misplaced clauses
Misplaced Clauses

Misplaced clauses can also make sentences sound awkward whilst creating incomprehensible meaning.

  • In the case of nouns we bring you the case of the “buttered woman”


OH no! When are the essays being returned??Was it on a Monday the students were informed by the teacher?

OR

Were they informed that the essays are going to be returned on a Monday?


Although misplaced modifiers can be humorous and accidentally make us unintentional comedians, they should ALWAYS be avoided within your writing.

This helps avoid many misunderstandings in the long run.

Modifiers can be corrected be rearranging words, inserting new words, rewording the sentence, or a combination of the three.


In this case…Mother doesn’t accidentally make us unintentional comedians, they should ALWAYS be avoided within your writing. always know best.

She has been outwitted by her son who, according to her, is eating a fancy hotdog.


Activity time
Activity Time! accidentally make us unintentional comedians, they should ALWAYS be avoided within your writing.

  • Individually, pick one of the following sentences that contain a misplaced modifier. Draw an image portraying the events of the statement. Be sure to include the sentence you chose at the top of the page. Circle or underline the misplaced modifier and then please write the correct version at the bottom of your page. The image should be in the middle of the paper. Get creative! 

    • The woman walked the dog in purple suede cowboy boots.

    • Jack and Sally found the flowers hiking up the mountain.

    • We could see corn growing from our car window.

    • I sent a poster to Sam rolled in a tube.

    • That man bought a rare painting of an Indian with the briefcase.

    • The robber was about 30 years old, Caucasian, five foot ten inches, with wavy hair weighing about 200 pounds.

    • The young girl was walking the dog in a green jacket.


Benner, Margaret L. accidentally make us unintentional comedians, they should ALWAYS be avoided within your writing. Self Teaching Unit: Avoiding Misplaced and Dangling Modifers. 2000. Towson University. December 2013. <http://www.towson.edu/ows/moduledangling.htm>. Web.

“Examples of Misplaced Modifiers.” YourDictionary,n.d. December 2013. <http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-misplaced-modifiers.html>. Web.

Wells, Jaclyn M. 1.2: Modifiers. Ed. Allen Brizee. March 2013. The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue. December 2013. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/1/36/>.


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