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Misplaced Modifiers

(When writing works like math …)

A modifier is a word or phrase that describes a noun. Modifiers are misplaced when they aren’t positioned immediately before or after the noun they refer to. (Just as in math, sequence matters in writing.)

Examples:

Incorrect: Upon entering the room, the picture offended Larry.

(In this example, Larry is the one who enters the room … not the picture! The clause “upon entering the room” refers to Larry and should be placed next to him so the reader is not confused.)

Correct: Upon entering the room, Larry was offended by the picture.

Incorrect: Flying through the air, the girl was hit by the ball.

Correct: Flying through the air, the ball hit the girl.

(OR …)

The girl was hit by the ball that flew through the air.

 

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