misplaced modifiers n.
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Misplaced Modifiers. What is a misplaced modifier?. A misplaced modifier is a word, clause or phrase that is misplaced in the sentence so that it does not describe what the writer wanted to describe. Example #1. Sam screamed at the barking dog in his underwear.

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what is a misplaced modifier
What is a misplaced modifier?
  • A misplaced modifier is a word, clause or phrase that is misplaced in the sentence so that it does not describe what the writer wanted to describe.
example 1
Example #1
  • Sam screamed at the barking dog in his underwear.

What is wrong with this sentence?

slide4

…It appears as though the dog is wearing underwear.

Sam screamed at the barking dog in his underwear.

  • The modifier “in his underwear” is meant to describe/modify SAM, not the dog. However, because “in his underwear” is placed near “the dog” it appears as though the dog is being modified.
how do you correct this
How do you correct this?
  • To fix this error, you must always place the modifier as close as possible to the word or phrase it is modifying.
  • Therefore …

Sam, in his underwear, screamed at the barking dog.

OR

In his underwear, Sam screamed at the barking dog.

modifier placement
Modifier Placement:
  • The placement of a modifier in a sentence can change the entire meaning of a sentence.
  • Example:
    • Only John carried his books to class.
    • John carried his books only to class.
which is the correct sentence
Which is the correct sentence?
  • A) Sitting on the top shelf of the refrigerator, Brittany saw her mom’s beautiful birthday cake.
  • B) Brittany, sitting on the top shelf of the refrigerator, saw her mom’s beautiful birthday cake.
  • C) Brittany saw her mom’s beautiful birthday cake sitting on the top shelf of the the refrigerator.
answer
Answer:
  • “C” is the correct answer.
  • “sitting on the top shelf of the refrigerator” modifies the birthday cake – not Brittany.
what is a dangling modifier
What is a dangling modifier?
  • A modifying word or phrase is said to “dangle” if it has no word to modify.
  • *Note: These are sometimes hard to notice because our brains sometimes supply the missing word.
example 11
Example #1
  • While smoking a pipe, my cat curled up next to me.
  • Did the cat smoke the pipe? Obviously not, but the sentence doesn’t identify who smoked the pipe.
how do you correct this1
How do you correct this?
  • You must re-write the sentence and supply the subject and sometimes additional words.
    • Corrected Example:

While I was smoking my pipe, my cat curled up next to me.

example 2
Example #2
  • Climbing a mountain, a rock hit Jim’s head.
    • What is wrong with this sentence?
slide14

…it looks as though the rock was climbing the mountain because it is missing a subject.

  • Corrected example:
    • While Jim was climbing a mountain, a rock hit his head.