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This presentation is

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Grammar Bytes!,
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2014 by Robin L.
Simmons.

Misplaced Modifiers

Should I put
my modifier
at the

beginning
of the
sentence?

Or would it be
better in the
middle? Or at
the end?

This presentation
covers placing
modifiers correctly.

A misplaced and/or
ina ppr opriatel y used
modifier item on an
objective test might look
like this . . .

Sample Item
A. Broken and dusty, Clarence found an old
computer in the garage.
B. Broken and dusty, the garage had an old
computer that was found by Clarence.
C. In the
the garage,
garage,Clarence
Clarencefound
found
anan
oldold
computer that
computer
thatwas
wasbroken
broken
and
and
dusty.
dusty.
C is correct; the
Are the
computer not
modifiers placed
Clarence, not the
correctly at A,
garage is broken
B, or C?
and dusty.

P l a c e a pr esent par ti ci pl e
phr ase r i g h t b e fo r e o r r i g h t
a f t e r t h e wo r d i t d e s c r i b e s .
Present participle: verb + ing
The children
Dripping
withate
hot banana
fudge andsplits
whipped
dripping
cream,
with
thehot
children
ate banana
splits.
fudge and whipped
cream.

Well,
Goodthat
! Now
sounds
the banana
as if the
splits
children
are dripping
are dripping
with
with the
fudge!
hothot
fudge!

P l a c e a past par ti ci pl e phr ase


r i g h t b e fo r e o r r i g h t a f t e r t h e
wo r d i t d e s c r i b e s .
Past participle: regular = verb + ed; irregular
forms vary.
Angered
In
the living
by room,
the football
Paul kicked
score, the
Paul
television
kicked the
angered by
television
in the
the football
living room.
score.

Right
This !sounds
This sounds
as if the
as if
Paul
television
is angered
is angered
by the
by the
football
football
score
score
! !

P l a c e a n adj ecti ve cl ause


r i g h t a f t e r t h e wo r d i t
describes.
An adjective clause begins with a word such as
that, which, or who.
The landscaper wrestled the old lawnmower
lawnmower that
through the
grass
that coughed
choked.
coughed
andlong
choked
through
the long and
grass.
I dont know about you,
That makes sense! An
but I have never heard
old lawn mower can
grass cough and
cough and choke!
choke!

To p l a c e m o d i f i e r s c o r r e c t l y,
avo i d passi ve voi ce verbs .
Passive voice: form of be + past
participle + by.
Typing furiously, the
Beatrice
essay finished
was finished
the essay
by
Beatrice
by
the 3 p.m.
just before
deadline.
the 3 p.m. deadline.

I wish my essays typed


This is logical! Beatrice
themselves! But thats
can type an essay!
just not logical!

Quick Test
Directions: In the items that follow, choose
the sentence in which the modifiers are
correctly placed.
Lets see
what
you can
do.

Item 1
A. Sitting on the top shelf of the refrigerator,
Desmond saw Moms pristine birthday cake.
B. Desmond, sitting on the top shelf of the
refrigerator, saw Moms pristine birthday cake
C. Sitting
Sitting on
onthe
thetop
topshelf
shelf
of of
thethe
refrigerator,
refrigerator,
Moms pristine
Moms
pristinebirthday
birthday
cake
cake
caught
caught
Desmonds attention.
Desmonds
attention.

Item 2
A. Loudly slurping the bowl of hot soup, Derricks
impolite behavior annoyed the other diner
patrons.
B. As
As Derrick
Derrickloudly
loudlyslurped
slurped
thethe
bowl
bowl
of hot
of hot
soup,
his impolite
soup,
his impolite
behaviorbehavior
annoyedannoyed
the other the
diner
patrons.
other
diner patrons.
C. Loudly slurping the hot soup, the other diner
patrons were annoyed by Derricks impolite
behavior.

Item 3
A. Seated
Seated by
by the
thewindow,
window,Barbara
Barbara
munched
munched
popcorn on
popcorn
onthe
thelong
long
bus
bus
ride
ride
home.
home.
B. Seated by the window, popcorn was munched
by Barbara on the long bus ride home.
C. Barbara munched popcorn seated by the
window on the long bus ride home.

Item 4
A. Rosalind
Rosalind struggled
struggledupup
the
the
three
three
flights
flights
of stairs
of
in her new
stairs
in her
jeans,
newwhich
jeans,were
which
toowere
tight too
for tight
comfort.
for
comfort.
B. Too tight for comfort, Rosalind struggled up the
three flights of stairs in her new jeans.
C. In her new jeans, Rosalind struggled up three
flights of stairs, which were too tight for comfort.

Item 5
A. Twisting in the strong wind, we knew the
hurricane was close as we watched the trees.
B. We knew
knew the
thehurricane
hurricanewas
wasclose
close
asas
wewe
watched the
watched
thetrees
treestwisting
twisting
in in
thethe
strong
strong
wind.
C. wind.
We knew the hurricane was close, twisting in
C. We
the wind,
knew as
thewe
hurricane
watchedwas
theclose,
trees. twisting in
the wind, as we watched the trees.

Item 6
A. Applying red toenail paint, Will asked Rhonda if
she could interrupt her beauty regimen to go to
the mall.
B. Will
Will asked
askedRhonda,
Rhonda,who
whowas
was
applying
applying
redred
toenail paint,
toenail
paint,ififshe
shecould
could
interrupt
interrupt
herher
beauty
regimenregimen
beauty
to go to the
to go
mall.
to the mall.
C. Will asked if Rhonda could interrupt her beauty
regimen to go to the mall, which was applying
red toenail paint.

Item 7
A. Struggling with the algebra problem, the pencil
tapped nervously on Kenneths desk.
B. Struggling with the algebra problem, Kenneths
desk was tapped nervously with the pencil.
C. Struggling
Struggling with
withthe
the
algebra
algebra
problem,
problem,
Kenneth
nervouslynervously
Kenneth
tapped his tapped
pencil on
his
the
pencil
desk.on the
desk.

Item 8
A. Marking his score sheet with care, the hope this
week was that Byron would pass his vocabulary
quiz.
B. Marking
Marking his
hisscore
scoresheet
sheet
with
with
care,
care,
Byron
Byron
hoped
that thisthat
hoped
week
this
heweek
wouldhe
pass
would
his vocabulary
pass his
quiz.
vocabulary
quiz.
C. Hoping that this week he would pass his
vocabulary quiz, the score sheet was marked
carefully by Byron.

Item 9
A. Splashing
Splashing ininthe
thepuddles
puddles
leftleft
by by
thethe
thunderstorm, Jayanti
thunderstorm,
Jayanti
cooled
cooled
herher
hothot
feet.
feet.
B. Splashing in the puddles left by the
thunderstorm, the cool water refreshed
Jayantis hot feet.
C. Splashing in the puddles, the thunderstorm
cooled Jayantis hot feet.

Item 10
A. Huddled by the door, the rain made the wet
kitten cry to come in.
B. Crying to come in, the door is where the wet
kitten huddled during the rain.
C. Huddled
Huddled by
bythe
thedoor,
door,the
the
wet
wet
kitten
kitten
cried
cried
to
come
to
come
in from
in from
the rain.
the rain.

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handouts
on misplaced and
dangling modifiers.
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The End.