3 Examples of Misplaced Modifiers

n each of the following examples, placement of a phrase obfuscates the sentence’s narrative flow. Discussion and a revision follow each sentence.

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3 Cases of Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Confusion

In each of the sentences below, a phrase is erroneously treated as essential or nonessential to the statement when, based on the context, it should be the reverse. An explanation and a revision follows each example.

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The Meanings and Variations of “Father”

Father derives from the Old English term faeder, which is cognate with the Latin and Greek word pater. (From the Latin term such words as paternal and paternity are derived.) The term refers not only to a male parent but also to an older man who serves as a mentor; it was also long employed as a respectful term of address for an elderly man, though this use is almost obsolete.

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Synonyms for “Think”

The bland verb think (from the Old English word thencan, and cognate with thank) is easily supplanted by any one of an impressive assortment of synonyms, each of which has a precise connotation think cannot match. Here are some to think about.

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Vocabulary Quiz #2: Confused Words

In each sentence, choose the correct word from the pair of similar terms. (If both words possibly can be correct, choose the more plausible one.)

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The Functions of Boldface

Boldface type, which has a heavier weight than, meaning it is thicker than, roman type, is employed to provide emphasis but has a prescribed set of uses. This post outlines those uses.

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30 English Words Borrowed from Dutch

During much of the 1600s, the Netherlands was a world power, especially at sea, and this influence contributed to the English language in the form of borrowings from Dutch into English of various nautically and aquatically themed words. Here’s a list of many of these terms (a few of which were adopted from, or may derive from cognates in, other languages) and their definitions and their Dutch origins.

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Bull and Cow and Other Bovine Terms

The noun (and adjective) bovine, from the Latin term bos by way of the French word bovin, is the scientific word for cattle and related animals; it is one of several words in various languages that is cognate with cow, as both words apparently stem from a proto-Indo-European word imitative of mooing. (In allusion to the unintelligent, slow-moving characteristics of cattle, it is also applied to slow, stupid human behavior.)

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Proof and Prove

The following words are related to each other and to words based on the element prob-, seen in a number of words ranging from probe to probable and derived from the Latin verb probare, meaning “demonstrate” or “test.”

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Punctuation Quiz #10: Quotations

All but one of the following sentences demonstrate incorrect style for punctuation and capitalization of quoted material according to The Chicago Manual of Style and other writing guides; revise the sentences as necessary.

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Quads and Squads

A family of words ultimately derived from the Latin noun quadrus, meaning “a square,” pertain one way or the other to the number four. Here are those words, more or less common in English usage, and their definitions.

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