Archive for April 2010

Modifiers Part Two

April 14, 2010

Characteristics of Dangling Modifiers

They most frequently appear at the beginning of sentences (often as introductory phrases or clauses) but can also appear at the end.

The experiment was a failure, not having studied the lab manual.

Possible Revision

They failed the experiment, not having studied the lab manual.


Related to dangling modifiers, squinting modifiers occur when the word modified is not clear or could be more than one word. These problems can usually be solved by rearranging the elements already present in the sentence.

Squinting modifier

The mystery has been solved after ten years of the missing portrait.


After ten years, the mystery of the portrait has been solved.

Lesson Exercise

Correct these sentences by shifting a modifier in each, or, if necessary, by rewriting.

1.  Your salesman told me that there was no provision for replacing damaged merchandise in the contract.

2. Jennifer sat waiting for her boyfriend to park the car, in a slinky red dress with a plunging neckline.

3. Diane Arbus took pictures of subjects other photographers would not consider with her camera.

4. The counter clerk at the soda fountain brought the sundae to the eager young boy covered in chocolate sauce.

5. I jumped from bed and watched the car rip through the large picture window in my underwear.

To be continued…