MODIFIERS. What are Modifiers?. Modifiers are words or phrases that give a bit more information about a subject being described. Modifiers help make writing more vivid and interesting to read. BUT: There are some things to look out for when using them…. Modifier Placement.
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What are Modifiers? • Modifiers are words or phrases that give a bit more information about a subject being described. • Modifiers help make writing more vivid and interesting to read. • BUT: There are some things to look out for when using them…
Modifier Placement • Position the modifier close to the word it modifies: • Incorrect: “Nixon told reporters that he planned to get out of politics after he lost the 1962 Election.” • Correct: “After Nixon lost the 1962 election, he told reporters that he planned to get out of politics.” • Incorrect: “I told my friend Michelle that I was planning to get a dog last Christmas.” • Correct: “Last Christmas I told my friend Michelle that I was planning to get a dog.”
Limiting Modifierschange the degree of something. Words like almost, just, only, barely, and even. • Incorrect: “The city almost spent $20 million on the new stadium.” • Correct: “The city spent almost $20 million on the new stadium” • Incorrect: “She only goes to school on Wednesdays.” • Correct: “She goes to school only on Wednesdays.”
Disruptive Modifiers • If a modifier is placed in the middle of a thought, it can be distracting: • Incorrect: “My hair is, after blow-drying, very frizzy.” • Correct: “After blow-drying, my hair is very frizzy.”
MOVE THE MODIFIERS THAT UNNECESSARILY SPLIT AN INFINITIVE • Don’t place a modifier between the to and the verb of an infinitive. EX: Split: I hope to almost equal my last years income. Revised: I hope that I will earn almost as much as I did last year. Split: The teacher expected the students to fairly quickly finish the quiz. Revised: The teacher expected the students to finish the quiz fairly quickly.
REVISE DANGLING MODIFIERS • Dangling modifiers are words that modify nothing in particular in the rest of the sentence. • Dangling modifiers frequently appear at the beginnings or ends of sentence. EX: Dangling: Driving nonstop, Raleigh is located two hours south of Jacksonville. Revised: Driving nonstop from Jacksonville, you can reach Raleigh in two hours.
To revise a dangling modifier, often you need to add a subject that the modifier clearly refers to. EX: Reluctantly, the hound was given away to a neighbor. Reluctantly, our family gave away the hound to a neighbor. As a young boy, his grandmother told stories of her years as a country school teacher. When he was a young boy, his grandmother told stories of her years as a country school teacher.