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A Misplaced Modifier can make you an Accidental Comedian

Updated on March 10, 2015

“A misplaced modifier can make you an accidental comedian” How true is that?

You’ve probably heard the term modifiers in English Grammar quite often, a modifier can be a phrase, clause or even a word that acts as an adverb or an adjective to describe the meaning of a word and make it sound more precise. It’s alright to lose your anger or your bike keys but never forget a modifier. When a modifier is placed far away from the noun or pronoun it defines the sentence fails to convey the specific meaning. It’s easy to unintentionally put phrases next to the wrong word in a complicated sentence while connecting too many ideas together.

Hence it’s important to place a modifier correctly in order to avoid ambiguity and misperception. It is important to create the individuality of the noun in question, as omitting it would leave a huge question unanswered in a vital modifier. Similarly an ordinary modifier may improve attention-grabbing information, but it is not inevitably to create the identity of the noun in a non-vital modifier.

Types of Modifier and Its Identification
Types of Modifier and Its Identification

Examples on Modifier

Consider the example below; this sentence is an air wreck!

I am going to the show with my friend Shaun, who likes Jim Morrison, the finest person I know.

The appositive phrase modifier “the finest person I know” is presently next to Jim, so it implies

(a) Somehow I know Jim, who has been dead for 25 years!, and that

(b) Jim is the finest person I know, differing to at least some judgments of the man.

Evidently, the modifier “the finest person I know” is supposed to modify Shaun, but because its placement or location intrudes upon the Modifier Rule, it creates a grammatically improper sentence. Misplaced modifiers do not create a competent impression with writing which is definitely the wrong thing to do. In order to correct a misplaced modifier, it’s essential to move the modifier as close to the word or phrase it is describing. Here's how the sentence should read:

I am going to the show with my friend Shaun the finest person I know, who likes Jim Morrison.

Modifiers makes sentences fun to read, it can be prepositional phrases, participle phrases, infinitive phrases, absolute phrases, adverb clauses, adverbs, adjective clauses or adjectives. Wisely selected, well-placed modifiers let represent conditions with as much precision as words allow. As a writer one most concentrate on transferring the accurate picture to the readers head and ensure that they breathe life into sentences.

Example of Modifier
Example of Modifier

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