Author: Ms. K
  1. Explain what modifiers are and how they function in a sentence.

  2. Explain how to avoid dangling modifiers.

  3. Explain how to avoid misplaced modifiers.

This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English grammar and who has made mistakes with dangling or misplaced modifiers. It will explain how modifiers function and how to use them correctly.

See More
Try a College Course Free

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

27 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

245 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 21 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Source: Made by me.

Modifers Misplaced

Don't put 'em in the wrong spot!

The meaning of the sentence shifts when you are not careful about where you place the modifier:

Only I ran two miles.  

I ran only two miles.

Adverbs and adjective are the main type of problem words.

  • Inexplicably Becky says she saw his body lying in the street.
  • Black and blue, the dog licked his bruised shin.
  • She nearly hit the ball into the outfield.

Prepositional phrases also causes trouble with words like at, with, by, or when.

  • At five years old, my father bought me a new bike.

The words like and unlike can be problems, too.

  • Like Judy, Jeff’s assignment deserves an A.


The solution?

Just be sure that you put the modifer near what it is modfiying!

Source: Mdae by me.

Those Dang(ling) Modifiers

Dangling modifers modify something that is NOT even in your sentence:

Looking out the window, the tree swayed in the breeze.

(who is looking out the window?  not the tree!)

Driving down the road, the White House came into view.

(who is driving down the road? not the White House!)


How do you avoid dangling modifiers?

Just put the item that is being modified into the sentence and be sure it is near the modifer!

When I looked out the window, the tree swayed in the breeze.

Driving down the road, I saw the White House come into view.

Source: Made by me.

The Solution

Source: Made by me.

An Extra Bit

Click here for a full story on modfiers from columnist Stephen Wilbers.