3 Types of Misplaced Modifiers

By Mark Nichol

Poor placement within sentences of words that provide details can hamper comprehension. Take care to avoid the various types of pitfalls demonstrated in the following examples, which are followed by discussion and a revision.

1. The company has been an extremely integral partner for our organization over the past years, both from delivery and leadership perspectives.

Because the conjunction both precedes the preposition from, the construction assumes that a complementary preposition will precede “leadership perspectives” in order to fully parallel the phrase “from delivery,” but placing from before both allows it to serve as the preposition for delivery and “leadership perspectives” alike: “The company has been an extremely integral partner for our organization over the past years, from both delivery and leadership perspectives.”

2. The photographs evoke a time when samurai swordsmen and silk traders found refuge from a bloody uprising against Japan’s shogun in California’s Gold Country.

This sentence erroneously suggests that the bloody uprising occurred in California’s Gold Country. Relocating the geographical information so that it immediately follows the key word refuge resolves the issue: “The photographs evoke a time when samurai swordsmen and silk traders found refuge in California’s Gold Country from a bloody uprising against Japan’s shogun.”

3. From time immemorial, writers have drawn on these syndromes to tell stories, from Lewis Carroll to Philip K. Dick.

In this case, an adjectival clause, a parenthetical phrase that provides more information about a noun, has been relegated to the end of the sentence, appearing to nonsensically modify stories, instead of being immediately adjacent to the pertinent noun (here, writers): “From time immemorial, writers from Lewis Carroll to Philip K. Dick have drawn on these syndromes to tell stories.”

Recommended for you: « »



Leave a comment: