A modifier is a wonderful tool. Without modifiers, you could never say that a pretty girl took home a happy dog or that a nice boy bought a yummy popsicle. In case you didn't get it from the italics, a modifier is a word or phrase that provides more information about something being discussed in the sentence. Modifiers are usually adjectives (words that describe nouns or pronouns) or adverbs (words that describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs).
Although modifiers can be great, sometimes they can also get lost or put in the wrong place in a sentence. When this happens, things can get very confusing! The following worksheet demonstrates some misplaced and dangling modifiers. Some additional links are also provided to additional worksheets to help make sure you really understand the concept!
A misplaced modifier is in a modifier that is in the wrong place. For example:
A dangling modifier modifies something that never actually appears in the sentence. For example:
Now that we have reviewed what a misplaced and dangling modifier is, here is a quick worksheet to help you grasp the concept.
Five sentences are listed below. Label whether the sentence is a misplaced modifier (M), a dangling modifier (D) or correct. The answers are at the bottom.
1. Always eager for cake, the birthday party was attended by everyone.
2. Forgetting that the microphone was on, the whole audience heard the singer's fight with his wife.
3. Wagging her tail, the new puppy climbed into my lap.
4. After painting all day, the bright new watercolor was drying in the sunshine.
5. Late as always, Mike made quite an entrance when he came to the party.
1. (M) This is a misplaced modifier. Always eager for cake is modifying everyone.
2. (M) This is also a misplaced modifier. The singer is the person who forgot the microphone was on.
3. (C) This is correct. The puppy was the one wagging her tail.
4. (D) This is a dangling modifier. We have no idea who or what painted all day.
5. (C) This is correct. Mike is the person who was late as always.