4 Comments

EDIT ME — Misplaced Modifiers

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WTH is a misplaced modifier? Personally I can pick them out while editing, but I am very guilty of writing them incorrectly.

A modifier is a word or phrase that modifies something else. If it’s misplaced, well, it’s AWOL. In the wrong place.

Example:

 

Covered in wildflowers, the cowboy went into the field and picked an armful for his lover.

 

Read that aloud. It sounds as if the cowboy is covered in wildflowers! This is a prime example of a misplaced modifier. Let’s try this again:

 

The cowboy strode into the field, covered in wildflowers, to pick them for his lover.

 

Here are some other examples:

The stalker tried to film the girl laying out in the sun on his cell phone.

A woman wearing a white suit with sickly skin approached the table.

 

Do you see what’s wrong with those sentences?

The girl is laying out on his cell phone. — ON HIS CELL PHONE is misplaced. It needs to modify the word FILM.

The woman’s suit has sickly skin. — WITH SICKLY SKIN should modify the word WOMAN.

 

Sometimes you won’t catch these unless you’re reading your work aloud. A good beta reader or a picky friend might catch it too.

Hope this helps you look more closely at these modifiers!

Thanks for reading,

Em~

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4 comments on “EDIT ME — Misplaced Modifiers

  1. Great post! That first example made me chuckle, I was like, ‘Covered in wildflowers? What? Huh?’ 😀 Just goes to show how important it is!

  2. I really did laugh…! It is too funny about the cowboy being covered in wildflowers. Or the girl laying out on the cell phone.

  3. I felt better knowing I could pick them out, but I’m sure I do it all the time. 🙂

  4. I do it sometimes and it makes me laugh when I’m editing. When I see it in a book, I also laugh, but if it happens more than once, I will close the book and stop reading. Great post.

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