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Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Putting misplaces and dangling modifiers in their place.
by

Kara Beal

on 5 August 2013

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Transcript of Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced and
Dangling Modifiers

Examples
Rapping the pencil on the edge of the desk, the fourth cause of the French Revolution would not come to mind.
Misplaced Modifiers
Misplaceed Modifiers
Dangling Modifiers
More Examples
In this case the French Revolution is rapping the pencil on the desk. It is a dangling modifier. You could correct this scentence like this,
"Rapping the pencil on the desk, Rodney could not remember the fourth cause of the French Revolution."
Dangling modifiers are when the writer explains everything then makes the focus on something else entirely and the sentence doesn’t read well.
Misplaced modifiers are when you place the describing word(s) far from the word it’s supposed to describe.
I was told that I had been awarded the scholarship by my professor.
In this sentence, the writer is saying that the subject was told that he had his professer award him a scholarship. To fix this sentece you could revise it and say,
"I was told by my professor that I had been awarded the scholarship ."
"Emma Sue was delighted when Mr. Nguyen returned her perfect calculus test with an ear-to-ear grin."
In this case Emma Sue's calculus test has an ear-to-ear grin, which does not make sense. It should be corrected as,
"With an ear-to-ear grin, Mr. Nguyen returned the perfect calculus test, which delighted Emma Sue."
Dangling Modifiers
"Scrubbing the tile grout with bleach and an old toothbrush, the mildew stains began to fade."
With this sentence there is no target noun for the sentence to describe. If you added a name you would fix the problem and the sentence would look like this,
"As Michael scrubbed the tile grout with bleach and an old toothbrush, the mildew stains began to fade."
"Attached to the email, Charlotte sent her boyfriend Byron another photographic self-portrait with eerie red eyes."
This sentence says that Charlotte was attached to the email, not the self-portrait. To fix this you could re-arrange the sentence like,
" Charlotte emailed her boyfriend Byron another photographic self-portrait with eerie red eyes."
"Struggling with the tight jeans, the zipper would not budge."
If anyone didn't notice, this sentence does not contain a noun telling you who was struggling with the tight jeans.
"Struggling with the tight jeans, Chris could not budge the zipper."
Adding a name tells you who is having the wardrobe malfunction.
a word or phrase that qualifies a word, phrase, or clause
adds detail or description to a sentence
Modifiers are...?
Types of Modifiers
adjectives (modify nouns and pronouns) e.g. the BEST singer
adverbs (modify verbs) e.g. they sang BEAUTIFULLY
modifier phrases (modify an action or an actor) e.g. ALWAYS LOOKING IN THE MIRROR, Jennifer was known to be vain.
Even after their conversation lessons, One Direction could not understand the accent utilized by their Canadian fans easily.
ANSWER/EXPLANATION:
Does One Direction not understand the accent easily, or do their fans use it easily?

Revision:
Even after their conversation lessons, One Direction could not easily understand the accent utilized by their Canadian fans.
By accident, Zach poked a little girl with his finger in the eye.
Answer/Explanation:
"in the eye" is poorly positioned

Revision: By accident, Zach poked the little girl in the eye with his finger.
I heard that my husband intended to surprise me with VIP meet and greet tickets for the Areosmith concert while I was outside our bedroom door.
Answer/Explanation:
"While I was outside our bedroom door" is poorly positioned

Revision: While I was outside our bedroom door, I heard that my husband intended to surprise me with VIP meet and greet tickets for the Areosmith concert.
Raised in Dublin, Ireland, it is natural to miss seeing leprechauns roaming the streets.
The introductory phrase is meant to modify a person, but no one is mentioned in the sentence. The connection is illogical because "it" was not raised in Dublin, Ireland.

Revision: Raised in Dublin, Ireland, Nial often misses seeing leprechauns roaming the streets.
Cramped and stuffy, Mrs. Beal could not wait to get off the Cyr bus.
Answer/Explanation:
Mrs. Beal could not wait to get off the cramped and stuffy tour bus.

"cramped and stuffy" was moved to a position that clearly identifies what it is modifying
YOUR TURN!
Modifiers are like teenagers: they fall in love with whatever they're next to. Make sure they're next to something they ought to modify!

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I'll hate going out in the storm!
But if you'll really hold me tight,
All the way home I'll be warm!*
If this hypothetical you is going to hold the singer all the way to keep him/her warm, why are they kissing goodnight
In this case, the phrase "all the way home" seems to modify "but if you'll really hold me tight" when in fact it modifies "I'll be warm." However, placed in the middle of both sentences, listeners are unsure which it modifies.
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