Misplaced Modifiers

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Grammar and other Writing topics.

What is a misplaced modifier?

Misplaced Modifiers

A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is mistakenly separated from the word it is supposed to describe. As a result, the sentence is awkward, confusing, illogical, and sometimes humorous.

A misplaced modifier can be corrected by moving the modifier to a more sensible place in the sentence, usually next to the word it describes.

Examples:

1. Misplaced: Mary almost read every book in the library. (This means she contemplated reading every book but didn't.)
Correct: Mary read almost every book in the library. (This means she read most, but not all, of the books.)

2. Misplaced: Fred kept a black book of all the girls he had dated in his desk. (This means that Fred dated girls while in his desk.)
Correct: Fred kept in his desk a black book of all the girls he had dated. (This means Fred kept the black book in his desk.)

3. Misplaced: I showed my dog to the veterinarian with the fleas. (This means the veterinarian has fleas.)
Correct: I showed my dog with the fleas to the veterinarian. (This means the dog has fleas.)

4. Misplaced: The fans were told at midnight the concert would begin. (This means the announcement came at midnight. The start time of the concert is ambiguous.)
Correct: The fans were told the concert would begin at midnight. (This means the concert would start at midnight.)

5. Misplaced: Jane only ate bread for dinner. (This means that all Jane did with the bread was eat it; she did not knead the dough or bake it in the oven.)
Correct: Jane ate only bread for dinner. (This means Jane ate bread for dinner and nothing else.)

   

Comments

Nobody has commented on this tip yet. Be the first.



Name:


URL: (optional)


Comment:


Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Writing Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!


Guru Spotlight
Heidi Splete