A modifier should be placed next to the word it describes.
Note how the placement of the modifier creates different possible meanings:
Note how different placement of the word only creates a difference in meaning between these two sentences.
Sentence A means that the shopper did not buy any ties.
Sentence B means that the shopper visited only the tie department.
A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is improperly separated from the word it describes. Sentences with misplaced modifiers often sound awkward, confusing, or downright illogical.
Some frequently misplaced single words are
almost even exactly hardly just merely nearly only scarcely simply
The logical meaning of this sentence is not that the vendor almost sold all of her pottery, but that she sold almost all of her pottery.
Therefore, almost correctly belongs next to all.
As written, this sentence means that children were served on paper plates.
On paper plates is misplaced.
Correctly written, the sentence means that hamburgers were served, on paper plates.
As written, this sentence means that the car is carrying a briefcase. Carrying a briefcase is misplaced.
Correctly written, the sentence means that the man is carrying a briefcase.
As written, this sentence means that the store was broken..
Correctly written, the sentence means that the toy was broken.
As written, the sentence means that I forgot my keys after I got home.
A squinting modifier is a modifier misplaced so that it may describe two situations.
The sentence above is unclear.
Does it mean that I told my son when the game was over?
Does it mean that I would play with him when the game was over?
An awkward separation creates a confusing meaning.
As written, this sentence separates the auxiliary verb from the main verb, creating an awkward gap.
A dangling modifier is "dangling" because its placement gives it nothing to modify.
In many cases, the dangling modifier appears at the beginning of a sentence, although it can also come at the end. Sometimes the error occurs because the sentence fails to specify anything to which the modifier can refer. At other times the dangling modifier is placed next to the wrong noun or noun substitute: a noun that it does not modify.
Dangling modifiers may appear in a variety of forms.
In this sentence, the modifier passing the building is positioned next to the broken window.
The resulting meaning is that "the broken window" is "passing the building," clearly not the
In this sentence, the modifier once revised and corrected is positioned next to I, suggesting that "I" have been "revised and corrected."
In this sentence, the modifier after roasting for three hours is positioned next to we, meaning that "we" have been "roasting for three hours."
In this sentence, the modifier to walk a high wire is positioned next to a pole. As a result, the sentence means that "a pole" can walk "a high wire."
In this sentence, the modifier when just six years old is positioned next to my grandmother, suggesting that my six year old grandmother taught me ballet.
to repair dangling modifiers – two options:
1. Create a word for the modifier to describe. Place it next to the modifier.
(Sometimes you will need to invent a subject.)
With the modifier next to my paper, the sentence clearly means that "my paper" was "corrected and rewritten."
With the modifier next to an acrobat, the sentence clearly means that "an acrobat" can "walk a high wire."
2. Rewrite the modifier (phrase) as an adverbial clause, thus eliminating the need for an immediate word to modify.
With its own subject, "was revised and corrected" clearly refers to "my paper."
With its own subject, "was just six years old" clearly refers to "I."
Now the clause clearly shows that "we" have "roasted the turkey."