Misplaced Modifiers Exercise (478)

Pick the sentence version that doesn't contain a misplaced modifier (i.e., a modifying phrase that is associated with the wrong noun phrase).

    1.
    The woman, who, out of fear for her safety, isn’t providing her name to the media, says she reported a detailed account of the incident.
    The woman, who isn’t providing her name to the media out of fear for her safety, says she reported a detailed account of the incident.

    2.
    Some protesters have advocated for changes they believe can help fix policing and criminal justice, such as having independent investigators, rather than local police and prosecutors, probe police shootings.
    Some protesters have advocated for changes they believe can help fix policing and criminal justice, such as having independent investigators probe police shootings rather than local police and prosecutors.

    3.
    The genotype was found to play a role in the health benefits of alcohol consumption in a previous study.
    In a previous study, the genotype was found to play a role in the health benefits of alcohol consumption.

    4.
    The mostly state-owned economy ensures that the Cuban government and military would reap the gains of open trade with the United States, not private citizens.
    The mostly state-owned economy ensures that the Cuban government and military, not private citizens, would reap the gains of open trade with the United States.

    5.
    The world’s top exported fruit, the global banana trade is worth $4 billion annually.
    The banana is the world’s top exported fruit, and the global banana trade is worth $4 billion annually.

Answers and Explanations

1. The woman, who, out of fear for her safety, isn’t providing her name to the media, says she reported a detailed account of the incident.
This incorrect sentence erroneously implies that the woman is providing her name to the media, but for some reason other than fear for her safety (a reason that should be, but isn’t, provided). Placing the modifying phrase before the phrase about withholding her name clarifies that fear for her safety is the reason she is doing so.

2. Some protesters have advocated for changes they believe can help fix policing and criminal justice, such as having independent investigators, rather than local police and prosecutors, probe police shootings.
The implication here is that independent investigators should probe police shootings and should not probe local police and prosecutors. The sentence reorganization reveals that the protesters want independent investigators, not local police and prosecutors, to probe police shootings.

3. In a previous study, the genotype was found to play a role in the health benefits of alcohol consumption.
The incorrect sentence seems to refer to alcohol consumption taking place during a previous study. Relocating the reference to the previous study to an introductory phrase eliminates ambiguity.

4. The mostly state-owned economy ensures that the Cuban government and military, not private citizens, would reap the gains of open trade with the United States.
The incorrect sentence suggests that the Cuban government and military would benefit from open trade with the United States but would not benefit from trade with private citizens. However, the intent is to communicate that the Cuban government and military would benefit from open trade with the United States but private citizens would not.

5. The banana is the world’s top exported fruit, and the global banana trade is worth $4 billion annually.
The global banana trade is implied to be the world’s top exported fruit; the correct version immediately identifies the banana as the world’s top exported fruit and refers to the global banana trade as a distinct idea.

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