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Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

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by

Elizabeth Wiggs

on 17 September 2012

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Transcript of Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers Umm...what's a modifier?

A modifier is a word that "modifies" a noun or verb. In other words, a modifier is an ADJECTIVE or ADVERB. Adjective (modifies a noun):

the UGLY dog
the PRETTY girl
the FLESH-EATING zombies
the PSYCHOTIC teacher
the EXCRUCIATING homework Adverb (modifies a verb):

to run QUICKLY
to kill zombies EFFECTIVELY
to love WHOLEHEARTEDLY
to live HAPPILY If a modifier is MISPLACED it is modifying the wrong word:

The robber was a tall man with a mustache weighing 160 pounds.

(Did the mustache weigh 160 pounds? That's an INTENSE MUSTACHE, YA'LL.)

The cowboy was thrown by the bull in a leather vest.

(That bull must have looked AWESOME in a leather vest.) Let's fix them:

The robber was a tall man with a mustache weighing 160 pounds.

The robber was a tall man who weighed 160 pounds and had a mustache.

The cowboy was thrown by the bull in a leather vest.

The cowboy in the leather vest was thrown by the bull. A DANGLING modifier means it's just hanging out there not modifying anything properly. Dangling modifiers almost ALWAYS come at the beginning of sentences.

At the age of four, my grandmother taught me to knit.

(Dude, your grandma must have been REALLY young when she had your mom...)

After doing calculus problems for hours, John's foot went to sleep.

(Man...John's foot must be REALLY good at calculus problems.) Let's fix them:

At the age of four, my grandmother taught me to knit.

My grandmother taught me to knit when I was four.


After doing calculus problems for hours, John's foot went to sleep.

John's foot went to sleep after he did calculus problems for hours. Let's practice! Standing on the balcony, the ocean looked so beautiful.

He was staring at the girl by the vending machine wearing dark glasses.

Laughing loudly, the joke pleased the audience. (Some jokes are always good for a laugh)

Oswald and Hilda found the flowers hiking up the mountain.

I found my missing baseball glove cleaning my room.

Don’t try to pat the dog on the porch that is growling.

The smoke alarm went off while cooking my dinner.
Looking out the airplane window, the volcano seemed ready to erupt.

Standing on the dock, the boat didn’t look safe to the sailors.

After a long hot walk, the wonderful shade tree came into view.

While trying to get ready for school, the doorbell rang suddenly.

Reading the book, the characters seemed real to her.

Looking through the telescope, the moon seemed enormous.

Marin watched a radiant sunset climbing a hill.

I found a huge boulder taking a shortcut through the woods. I read that Sara was married in the newspaper. (Maybe Sara is a puppy)

Please take time to look over the brochure that is enclosed with your family.

Flying over the African landscape, the elephant herd looked majestic.

We saw the trapeze artist swinging dangerously through our binoculars.

We tiptoed over the ice in our heavy boots, which had begun to crack.

Cartwheeling head over foot, the spectators gasped at the acrobatic spectacle.

Flying overhead, I saw the geese pass by in a V-formation.

We could see corn growing from our car window.

Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.
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