GrammarPhile Blog

QUIZ: Do You Know How to Use Modifiers Correctly?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Nov 22, 2017 7:30:00 AM

A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that functions as an adjective or an adverb to describe a word or make its meaning more precise; it describes or modifies other words or parts of a sentence. Before you take the quiz below, here’s a quick refresher about the types of modifiers, and some common mistakes writers make when using them.

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Topics: modifiers, misplaced modifiers, dangling modifiers, squinting modifiers

Dangling Modifiers Can Mangle Meaning

Posted by Terri Porter   Aug 20, 2015 6:30:00 AM

Dangling modifiers … it’s one of those terms editors seemingly toss around arbitrarily, accompanied by a command to correct the offending phrases. Well, of course, nobody wants their modifiers — or any other grammatical part — to dangle. But what on earth does that mean?

Defining Danglers

Modifiers are descriptive words, phrases or clauses. When the noun they’re describing is missing or unclear, they dangle. Modifiers can also be misplaced, which is a different kind of problem — and one we’ll talk about in next week’s post.

Most danglers are participles (verb forms used as adjectives) — either present (ending in ing) or past (usually ending in ed) — although gerunds (nouns made from verbs by adding -ing) can dangle too.

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Topics: passive voice, dangling modifiers, false subject

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