Don’t Let Others Laugh at Your Writing

images-1.jpeg

Misplaced modifiers are funny—except when you write them and become the object of derision at worst and gentle teasing at best.

Here are a few examples from the book I used in my business writing seminars, The Bare Essentials (Norton, Green, Barale):

Swimming isn’t a good idea if cold or polluted. (Who or what is cold or polluted?)

I learned about Joan’s having a baby in last week’s letter. (That must have been a tight squeeze.)

I saw the Queen and her entourage arrive through a plate glass window. (Ouch!)

At the age of five, the barber cut Jamie’s hair, which curled to his shoulders nearly for the first time. (Such a precocious barber. And did Jamie’s hair curl to his shoulders for the first time? What did happen for the first time?)

 

Here’s the rule about misplaced modifiers: Put the modifier right next to the word it  gives information about.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s