Thursday, February 26, 2009

Losing misplaced modifiers

Misplaced modifiers have become so common, we frequently read right over them because we usually know, from context, what the author intended to say. But take the sentence out of context and you may well be lost.

For example, I was recently reading a book by one of my favorite authors when I was jarred out of the story by a dangling modifier. The sentence ran somewhat along these lines: “Prodding her horse along, a tiny cabin came into sight.”

What the sentence really says, of course, is that a tiny cabin is prodding a horse, but logic tells us this can’t be what the writer intended to say. And when you read the sentence in context, you know who is riding the horse and where the tiny cabin is located.

Still, a careful writer should eliminate misplaced modifiers so that his or her writing can be as clear as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Sue!

    I think your blog is awesome! I like that you're getting to topics that most have problems with and that will be most helpful. =)

    Heather R.