Squinting Modifiers

SQUINTING MODIFIERS

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. Note the modifier “after ten years” could describe the mystery being solved or the portrait. It is not clear. Rearranging the sentence so that the modifying phrase goes right next to the word it modifies is the solution.

Revision

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 the sentences.

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.

TIP: Always put the modifier (adjectives or adverbs) next to the words they modify.

For more help with squinting modifiers please see the following websites:

http://owlet.letu.edu/grammarlinks/modifiers/modifier2d.html

or

http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/squinterm.htm

See below for answers:

Answers:

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

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

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

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