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ENG 100

Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers Shifts

Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers

Modifiers should point clearly to the words they modify As a rule, related words should be kept together!

Put limiting modifiers in front of the words they modify
Limiting modifiers = only, even, almost, nearly, just  These should appear in front of a verb only if they modify the verb At first, I couldn’t even touch my toes, much less grasp them.  If they limit the meaning of some other word in the sentence, they should be placed in front of that word.  The cathedral almost took six centuries to complete.

Put limiting modifiers in front of the words they modify

If you just interview chemistry majors, your picture of the student body’s response to the new grading policies will be incomplete.
If you interview just chemistry majors, your picture of the student body’s response to the new grading policies will be incomplete. If you interview just chemistry majors, your picture of the student body’s response to the new grading policies will be incomplete.

Put limiting modifiers in front of the words they modify

In the United States in 1860, not all black southerners were slaves.
In the United States in 1860, all black southerners were not slaves. In the United States in 1860, not all black southerners were slaves.

Place phrases and clauses so that readers can see at a glance what they modify


The soccer player returned to the clinic where he had undergone emergency surgery in 2004 in a limousine sent by Adidas. He had surgery in a limousine??? Traveling in a limousine sent by Adidas, the soccer player returned to the clinic where he had undergone emergency surgery in 2004.

Place phrases and clauses so that readers can see at a glance what they modify

 

 

There are many pictures of comedians who have performed at Gavin’s on the walls. The comedians are performing on the walls? On the walls are many pictures of comedians who have performed at Gavin’s. The robber was described as a six-foot-tall man with a heavy mustache weighing 170 pounds. That’s a heavy mustache!!! The robber was described as a 170-pound, sixfoot-tall man with a heavy mustache.

Place phrases and clauses so that readers can see at a glance what they modify

A squinting modifier leads to ambiguity The exchange students we met for coffee occasionally questioned us about our latest slang. Did they meet occasionally? Or did the questioning happen occasionally? The exchange students we occasionally met for coffee questioned us about our latest slang. The exchange students we met for coffee questioned us occasionally about our latest slang.

Move awkwardly placed modifiers

A sentence should flow from subject to verb to object without lengthy detours along with way Hong Kong, after more than 150 years of British rule, was transferred back to Chinese control in 1997. After more than 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong was transferred back to Chinese control in 1997. After more than 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong was transferred back to Chinese control in 1997.

Avoid awkward split infinitives

Infinitive = to plus base form of a verb (to think) Split infinitive = modifier between to and verb (to carefully balance, to completely understand) When a long word or phrase appears between parts of the infinitive, result is usually awkward If possible, the patient should try to avoid going up and down stairs. The patient should try to if possible avoid going up and down stairs. If possible, the patient should try to avoid going up and down stairs.

Dangling Modifiers

Modifier fails to refer logically to any word in the sentence Opening the window to let out a huge bumblebee, the car swerved into an oncoming truck. The document understood the need for checks and balances? Opening the window to let out a huge bumblebee, Sally lost control and the car swerved into an oncoming truck.

Exercise 12-1
1. The flood nearly displaced The flood displaced nearly 2. Most lions at night hunt for medium-size prey, such as zebra. Most lions hunt at night 3. Several recent studies have encouraged heart patients to more carefully watch their cholesterol levels. Several recent studies have encouraged heart patients to watch their cholesterol levels more carefully.

Exercise 12-1
4. The garden’s centerpiece is a huge sculpture that was carved by three women called Walking in Place. The garden’s centerpiece, called Walking in Place, is a huge sculpture carved by three women. The garden’s centerpiece is a huge sculpture called Walking in Place that was carved by three women. 5. The old Marlboro ads depicted a man on a horse smoking a cigarette.