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What are Modifiers?

Updated on June 19, 2013
Understanding when to use modifiers can be a little more difficult than learning their definition.
Understanding when to use modifiers can be a little more difficult than learning their definition. | Source


Understanding what are modifiers can be really easy. Modifiers are words or phrases that add more to the subject being discussed. Without modifiers, writers would not be able to accurately describe a thought or image for their readers to comprehend. They are those adjectives, adverbs, and clauses that are added for a bit of flare in a sentence and can be the difference between a boring old scholarly piece and a descriptive essay or novel.

While adding modifiers can grab and hold a reader's attention better than those bland and straightforward sentences, it is important to recognize that using too many modifiers can sometimes be worse that not using any at all. This is why using modifiers can be more difficult than understanding what are modifiers. Some writers use too much, while others might not use enough. The best way to improve your writing is simply understanding how to balance them out so that readers are not too bored or too overwhelmed.

For more advice on how and when to use modifiers, check out the link to the right to an article by Jon Gingerich from, a site full of useful advice for writers from writers.

Recognizing and avoiding dangling modifiers can help improve your writing.
Recognizing and avoiding dangling modifiers can help improve your writing. | Source

Dangling Modifiers

While it may be easy to understand what are modifiers, dangling modifiers can be a little more tricky. Basically, dangling modifiers are words or phrases that modify an unintended or nonexistent word in a sentence based on its placement. They are not something to keep in writing so it helps to understand just what they are in order to recognize them and correct them when and if they occur in your own writing.

An example of a dangling modifier is: "Having finished the project, it was time to relax." The sentence lacks clarification for who finished the project. In order to correct this, the writer would need to add that information so that it goes something like "Having finished the project, it was time for Bob to relax." For more examples. see the link to the right.

Misplaced Modifiers

Misplaced modifiers, like dangling modifiers, are something you would want to avoid in your writing in order to improve. They are words or clauses that are awkwardly placed and end up modifying an unintended word or phrase. The easiest way to correct this is to move the misplaced modifier closer to the word or phrase it is intended to modify.

Here are a couple of rather amusing examples of misplaced modifiers from

"For those who have children and don’t know it, there is a daycare on the first floor."

"Pizza was given to the teenagers that had pepperoni and olives on them."

Modifiers Definition and Examples

Examples of Modifiers

Modifiers can really be any adverb or adjective out there, which is why understanding what are modifiers is really easy. The difficulty when it comes to modifiers is knowing just how to use them so that your writing is clear and enjoyable to read. Here are a few examples of modifiers:

  1. Awkward
  2. Beautiful
  3. Cool
  4. Daring
  5. Excellent
  6. Funny
  7. Great
  8. Happy
  9. Informative
  10. Jolly

In addition, modifiers can be phrases such as:

  1. Quickly walking
  2. Eagerly awaiting
  3. The man with the cane ("with the cane" is the prepositional phrase modifying the noun)

Now that you understand what are modifiers, it is time for you to go forth and create writing that is superb. Remember, modifiers make any piece of writing a little more entertaining for readers but be careful not to use too many or place them awkwardly in a sentence.

© 2013 LisaKoski


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    • sprickita profile image

      sprickita 3 years ago from Reno

      I love anything that helps improve my attempt at 'writing' good info ty again 8-) and happy hubbing!

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      Hi LisaKoski,

      thanks for this information hub

      and for providing alot of detail about

      what modifiers actually are.

      voted up.