Friday, April 13, 2012

M is for Misplaced Modifiers

Woe to the writer who has a misplaced modifier. My critique group will find it. In fact, that's one of our favorite things to do.

So what are misplaced modifiers? They are clauses and phrases placed so they modify the wrong noun in the sentence.

Here are some examples: Can you fix them?
For sale: antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.

Wanted: man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.

Three-year-old teacher needed for preschool.

The patient was referred to a psychologist with severe emotional problems.

She died in the home where she was born at the age of 88.

Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.

Sitting up and begging, I gave my dog a dog biscuit.

Laughing uncontrollably, my panties got wet.


Hallie said... [Reply to comment]

Misplaced modifiers are so much fun to read! Made me LOL.

Cindy Brown said... [Reply to comment]

Those are pretty funny. If I ever write like that, shoot me, LOL!

Betsy said... [Reply to comment]

oh yeah...those misplaced modifiers do make for some funny sentences, don't they? I edit books for a friend and he writes them all the time. Just cracks me up! :)

My mother-in-law was a widow for over 20 years and she became such a resource and encouragement to other widows and widowers. You remind me of her! ;)

Thanks for visiting me!

Donna Yates said... [Reply to comment]

Too funny. Great examples. People just need to read what they write. I think we all do these sometimes. Nice blogpost. Your friend from She Writes Bloggers

Random said... [Reply to comment]

Ha, these are great! To answer your question, I could fix these, some more easily than others.

It would be fun, though, to provide a context so that they were correct as is. Like maybe Lincoln was a magician and preferred to travel by flying envelope.

Sounds like you have a good critique group.

Beth Camp said... [Reply to comment]

A fine eye for misplaced modifiers that make the point with humor. As a former English teacher, writers who eschew editing make me want to tear my hair out (just another one for your collection) :) And thank you for visiting as part of the A-Z Challenge. I'll be back. Beth

Laura said... [Reply to comment]

And they're so much fun to read!

Kathi Oram Peterson said... [Reply to comment]

I hate it when my modifiers get misplaced. Thanks for the reminder to be on the alert. Nice to meet you on the challenge.

Dee Dee OConnor said... [Reply to comment]

You have to love a misplaced modifier, as long as it's nt yours.


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