Misplaced Modifiers Exercise (509)

Pick the grammatically correct sentence from each pair.

    1.
    The Skydeck protrudes 4.3 feet from the side of the Willis Tower, meaning visitors are able to stand high above Wacker Drive -- 103 floors, to be exact.
    The Skydeck protrudes 4.3 feet from the side of the Willis Tower, meaning visitors are able to stand high above (103 floors, to be exact) Wacker Drive.

    2.
    In April, authorities in South Carolina found a drone outside the fence of a prison that had been carrying cell phones, marijuana and tobacco.
    In April, outside the fence of a prison in South Carolina, authorities found a drone that had been carrying cell phones, marijuana and tobacco.

    3.
    In the role, she cast John Smith, an actor who is as smooth faced and pretty as any actress.
    She cast John Smith in the role, an actor who is as smooth faced and pretty as any actress.

    4.
    She erroneously claimed that 69 percent of French Muslims support ISIS on a Fox News program.
    She erroneously claimed on a Fox News program that 69 percent of French Muslims support ISIS.

    5.
    The Black Witch is the evil counterpart of the White Witch, who wants to destroy the hero.
    The Black Witch, the evil counterpart of the White Witch, wants to destroy the hero.

Answers and Explanations

1. The Skydeck protrudes 4.3 feet from the side of the Willis Tower, meaning visitors are able to stand high above Wacker Drive -- 103 floors, to be exact.
The parenthetical, for grammatical coherence, should go before "high," not preceding "above," but an even better location is for it to be attached to the end of the sentence with an em dash to emphasize the point, rather than buried in parentheses in the midst of the sentence.

2. In April, outside the fence of a prison in South Carolina, authorities found a drone that had been carrying cell phones, marijuana and tobacco.
The structure of the original sentence implies that the prison, not the drone, had been carrying the contraband cargo.

3. In the role, she cast John Smith, an actor who is as smooth faced and pretty as any actress.
"The role," rather than "John Smith," erroneously appears to be the appositive (a word or phrase equivalent to another word or phrase) of "an actor."

4. She erroneously claimed on a Fox News program that 69 percent of French Muslims support ISIS.
The original sentence mistakenly suggests that the majority of Muslims in France declare their support for the terrorist organization during a television program.

5. The Black Witch, the evil counterpart of the White Witch, wants to destroy the hero.
In the original sentence, the modifying subordinate clause, which begins with "who," immediately follows the reference to the White Witch. This placement erroneously creates the impression that the White Witch, not the Black Witch, is antagonistic to the hero.

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