Week 6AvoidingMisplaced and Dangling ModifiersMisplaced ModifiersA 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. ExampleThe example above suggests that a gold manowns a watch.Misplaced modifiers can usually be corrected by movingthe modifier to a more sensible place in the sentence, generally next to the word it modifies. ExampleNow it is the watch that is gold.There are several kinds of misplaced modifiers:1. Misplaced adjectivesare incorrectly separated from the nouns they modify and almost always distort the intended meaning.Example 1Correct the error by placing the adjectivenext to the noun it modifies.Corrected
Example 2CorrectedSentences like these are common in everyday speech and ordinarily cause their listeners no trouble. However,they are quite imprecise and, therefore,should have NO place in your writing.2. Placement of adverbs can also change meaning in sentences.For example, the sentences below illustrate how the placement of just can change the sentence's meaning.::
Each of these sentences says something logical but quite different, and its correctness depends upon what thewriter has in mind.Often, misplacinganadverbnot only alters the intended meaning, but also creates a sentence whose meaning is highly unlikely or completely ridiculous.This sentence, for example, suggests that we broughta lunch slowly:To repair the meaning, move the adverb slowly so that it is nearate.Watch out for adverbs such as only, just, nearly, merely, and almost. They are often misplaced and cause an unintended meaning.This sentence, for example, means that I onlycontributedthe money:Repaired, however, the sentence means that I contributed only $10.00.Like adjectives, adverbs are commonly misplaced in everyday speech, and may not cause listeners difficulty. However, such sentences are quite imprecise and, therefore, should have NO place in your writing.3.Misplaced phrases may cause a sentence to sound awkward and may create a meaning that does not make sense.The problem sentences below contain misplaced phrasesthat modify the wrong nouns. To fix the errors and clarify the meaning, put the phrases next tothe noun they are supposed to modify.
Example 1 (a buyer with leather seats?)CorrectedExample 2 (a corner smoking pipes?)CorrectedExample 3 (a house made of barbed wire?)Corrected
4.Misplaced clauses may cause a sentence to sound awkward and may create a meaning that does not make sense.