Misplaced Modifiers Exercise (41)

Each of the following sentences includes a modifying phrase that is incorrectly or awkwardly placed; revise the sentences as necessary:

Answers and Explanations

Modifiers -- words or phrase that provide additional information -- must be located so that they apply to the noun or noun phrase they modify. Even if a modifier is logically correct, however, it generally should not be placed at the end of the sentence, a position reserved for important information.

1.
Original: I told my parents I wanted to transfer many times during that first semester.
Correct : Many times during that first semester, I told my parents I wanted to transfer.
Alterna.: I told my parents many times during that first semester that I wanted to transfer.

The original sentence implies that the writer wished to repeatedly transfer, not that he repeatedly expressed his wish to transfer.

2.
Original: Schools are wising up to the benefits of integrating technology into classroom instruction, but access still ends with the school day for too many students.
Correct : Schools are wising up to the benefits of integrating technology into classroom instruction, but for too many students, access still ends with the close of the school day.

The original syntax is not incorrect, but the sentence ends weakly.

3.
Original: All students should have the opportunity to be a peer mentor, not just those the teacher views as capable or who have high test scores.
Correct : All students, not just those the teacher views as capable or who have high test scores, should have the opportunity to be a peer mentor.

In the original sentence, the parenthetical is too far removed from the subject.

4.
Original: The plan was to incorporate the school into the courthouse itself until the Oklahoma City bombing created safety concerns.
Correct : Until the Oklahoma City bombing created safety concerns, the plan was to incorporate the school into the courthouse itself.

The original sentence implies that the incorporation of the schoolhouse was deliberately temporary, and that the plan was to wait until the expected bombing occurred to relocate it. However, the intended meaning is that the unexpected bombing prompted a change in the proposal.

5.
Original: Although DNA testing is highly effective, those involved in criminal investigations do not always use it because of its high cost.
Correct : Although DNA testing is highly effective, because of its high cost, those involved in criminal investigations do not always use it.

The original placement of the modifying phrase "because of its high cost" at the end of the sentence incorrectly implies that DNA testing is always used not for its high cost but for another reason.

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