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Misplaced Modifiers

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Cori Palladino

on 17 February 2016

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Transcript of Misplaced Modifiers

Misplaced Modifiers
What are they?

• A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is improperly separated from the word it modifies / describes.

• Because of the separation, sentences with this error often sound awkward, ridiculous, or confusing. Furthermore, they can be downright illogical.

Example #1

Read the following sentence and tell me what you notice:

On her way home, Jan found a gold man's watch.
The example above suggests that a
gold man

owns a watch.

The word
is the misplaced modifier.

Now let's correct the sentence!

On her way home, Jan found a man's gold watch.
Now it is the watch that is gold.

Misplaced modifiers can usually be corrected by moving the modifier next to the word it modifies.
There are several kinds of misplaced modifiers:

Misplaced Adjectives
Misplaced Adverbs
Misplaced Phrases
Misplaced Clauses
Misplaced adjectives are separated from the nouns they modify and almost always distort the intended meaning.

Let's look at an example!
Example #1

The child ate a cold dish of cereal for breakfast this morning.

Can you spot the problem?
Correct the error by placing the adjective next to the noun it modifies.

The child ate a dish of
cold cereal
for breakfast this morning.
Example #2

The torn student's book lay on the desk.

Can you correct this?
The student's torn book lay on the desk.
Placement of adverbs can also change meaning in sentences. Let's take a look at these three sentences:

John was picked to host the program. (Only John)
2. John was
picked to host the program. (Picked now)
3. John was picked
to host the program. (only the program)

Each sentence says something logical, but quite different.

Sometimes misplacing an adverb will result in a ridiculous sentence. Correct the following sentence by moving the misplaced modifier:

We ate the lunch that we brought slowly.

Click here for more practice!

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