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Improve Your Writing in 7 Quick Lessons: Part 2, Misplaced Modifier Malaise

Updated on September 18, 2017

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Modifiers Malaise

Improve Your Writing in 7 Quick Lessons: Part 2, Modifiers Malaise

Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers, or Where is My Stuff?

In the heat and rush of drafting a piece of writing, mistakes are made and some things may get misplaced. A short editing session is enough to find and fix modifier placement errors, but you must be able to spot them first. The following skills analysis (just a quizzie, so let us not panic) will help you assess your ability to recognize and repair vague, missing, and misplaced modifiers, wherever they may have gotten to.

Skills Assessment

Please mark the correct sentences with a C and repair the incorrect sentences. The answers are at the end, but you are entreated not to cheat by peeking. Try to remember that I will throw a C or two in there just to mess with you.

  1. Because he loves every one of Hubpages, William Shakespeare frequently visits the site to read articles that answer the leading questions that trouble writers’ sleep.
  2. Flying over the African landscape, the elephant herd looked magnificent.
  3. Driving down the road drunk, the mailbox was nearly invisible.
  4. What Shakespeare loves most about the website is its cool catch phrase, “We’ll leave the site on for ya.”
  5. Spitting out hot lava, my friend took photos as the volcano erupted.
  6. My father bought an ice cream for the girl with cherries on top.
  7. A misplaced modifier walks into a bar for a drink that is dark, dirty and rundown.
  8. The attorney asked that his client be admitted to a mental hospital because he was insane.
  9. After returning from the dead, my sister took the plants outside.
  10. Have you noticed how hard it is to put a misplaced modifier anywhere but the beginning of the sentence?
  11. If you keep your modifiers close to what they modify, then generally, they won’t dangle, snaggle, nor misplace those modified.


  1. C, and also duh, a great big stretcher told to you by your author.
  2. Please, what species of elephant flies? Supply the real flyer.
  3. Find the driver.
  4. C
  5. How hot is hot lava?
  6. Is this more of that GMO stuff, part girl and part cherry tree, or some obscure veiled sexual thing?
  7. Which thing is dirty, dark and rundown?
  8. Which word does insane modify?
  9. Which thing is dead?
  10. C and a good tip to remember.
  11. C can you believe the crazy stuff that isn’t incorrect?

Just to treble the fun, now make up a few of your own funny modifier problems and post them in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading. This has been written for you by Dunbar Green. Visit us any time. We’ll leave the site on for ya.



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