Posted by: episystechpubs | August 31, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Misplaced Modifier Monday

It’s Monday Misplaced Modifier day! It’s not a real holiday. We don’t get the day off—but this will be fun.

A misplaced modifier is a word or a group of words that are in the wrong place, so the word or phrase ends up modifying the wrong thing. These sentences are confusing, but they are often pretty funny too. Here are some examples (with the misplaced modifiers in italics), and I’m also providing some possible revisions. (These are not the only possible revisions.)

· Oozing slowly across the floor, Marvin watched the salad dressing.

You see what’s wrong here. It sounds like poor Marvin is oozing instead of the salad dressing.
Possible revision: Marvin watched the salad dressing ooze slowly across the floor.

· Born at the age of 43, the baby was a happy surprise to Elaine.

Oh my! That would be a big, old baby!
Possible revision: The baby, born when Elaine was 43, was a happy surprise.

· With tail wagging merrily, Donna took her dog for a walk.

Now, I enjoy walking my dogs, Daisy and Rover, but it’s their tails that wag—not mine. I swear.
Possible revision: With his tail wagging merrily, the dog went for a walk.

· Setting up the Collection Package, your collection system can be online and almost paperless.

As you see, misplaced modifiers aren’t so funny when they’re work-related. You can also see that they can be pretty darn confusing.
Possible revision: The Collection Package provides an online, almost paperless collection system.

Well, you can’t say they weren’t warned!

Maybe you want to rethink this promotion?

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests

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