The modify means to describe or change, so a modifier describes or changes the subject to
which it refers. While a modifier may be a single word, such as an adverb or an
adjective, a phrase may also be a modifier.
When a modifier is placed so that it appears to modify the wrong word, it is called a misplaced or dangling modifier. The most common type of mistake is a verbal phrase at the beginning of a sentence that seems to modify the wrong subject. This mistake is often confusing, and sometimes even humorous.
Example of a dangling modifier:
While running across the yard, the leaves got
stuck between my toes.
In the above sentence, the action phrase "running across the yard" unintentionally suggests that the leaves are running. Clearer versions of the sentence would be:
While I was running across the yard, the leaves got stuck between my toes.
While running across the yard, I got leaves stuck between my toes.
Swinging wildly through the trees, the children were delighted by the monkeys.
The children were delighted by the monkeys swinging wildly through the trees.
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