I must have misplaced my modifier.

Good grammar and spelling can make or break an otherwise wonderful piece of writing. One common mistake is to misplace modifiers. What is a misplaced modifier? Simply put, it’s a word or phrase put in the wrong place in a sentence. It will make a sentence confusing and illogical. Take for example, this converstion:

Me: “This morning, I passed a horse on the way to work.”
You: “Where does the horse work?”
Me: “No, the horse wasn’t going to work, I was. A policeman was riding the horse directing cars.”
You: “So the horse was directing cars?”
Me: “No! The policeman was directing the cars on the horse.”
You: “How were the cars on the horse?”

Ridiculous, right? The modifiers should be placed as close to whatever they describe or give information about. Like this: “This morning, on my way to work, I passed a horse.” And so forth. Notice, too, how the modifying phrase is set apart by commas.

A good way to avoid this mistake is to read your sentences aloud before pressing that post button. It becomes apparent when our modifiers are misplaced and gives us the opportunity to restructure the sentence properly. Happy writing, and productive editing, my friends.

46 thoughts on “I must have misplaced my modifier.

      1. I don’t have a comment from you on The Fall, Meg. I checked Spam, too. Nothing here. My IMac is in the computer hospital … and I’m working on the PC. Things have been going bump in the night on my computer!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am torn between buying a new IMac, converting to a Mac notebook, and going PC. I did all my multi media certificate work on a Mac, but used PC at the university in my working life. I prefer the Mac for art work, videos, and photos … but if nobody can see / access them anymore???

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I haven’t, but I will be from now on. I have a back up hard drive (double, actually) plus most of my content is on USBs. I had lunch with an IT specialist from my writing group and when we get the lowdown on the Mac (due Monday) we’ll lay plans and he’ll help me set up my at home network.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Grammar lessons with good Doctor, who is not nearly as dubious as the Divine Marquis, that other teacher in your school of creative writing. Thank you, though I always forget the very important rules and yet remember such crap as connect John Dee to Henry Green by five degrees of separation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. Only slightly dubious. Ha. the devil, however, is in the details and I believe the Divine Marquis would agree. I smack myself in the forehead sometimes, and tell myself to step back and look at the universe instead of the petri dish….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Upstate, in a few places here and there, the Pennsylvania Germans (often mistakenly referred to as “Dutch”) twist the language into quite delicious knots. “Up he called me and said…” George Lucas must have created Yoda after visiting Emmaus. “Advice you are giving today? Much needed it is.”

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  3. Maybe I’m a bitch, but grammar errors irk the hell out of me. I usually bail on a story/article/post if I start seeing grammar errors. Again, me = bitch, but I feel the same way about repeated spelling errors or incorrect words — loose when they mean lose… I see that all the time and I cringe… and move on.

    I proofread my stuff so many times that by the final read-through, I’m sick of myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do the same thing. But I feel the same way about errors. Although, the longer I write the more forgiving I’m becoming (at least with blogging not so with publishing) especially if it’s the kind of typo that auto correct makes!

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