Misplaced Modifiers Exercise (641)
Revise the following sentences so that modifying phrases are correctly associated with the pertinent part of the sentence.
Answers and Explanations
Original: Read the list of collaborative meeting behaviors that help facilitate effective meetings on the next page.
Correct : On the next page, read the list of collaborative meeting behaviors that help facilitate effective meetings.
The sentence suggests that the behaviors lead to meetings that take place on a page; the revision places the phrase "on the next page" at the head of the sentence, where it is clearly identified as the location of the list, not the meeting.
Original: Retailers today just don’t need as many stores as they used to because of digital sales.
Correct : Because of digital sales, retailers today just don’t need as many stores as they used to.
According to this sentence, retailers used to need more stores because of digital sales, but the opposite is true; when the cause of the decline in the number of stores needed is moved to the head of the sentence, the meaning is clear.
Original: He was second in line to the presidency during those years after the vice president.
Correct : He was second in line to the presidency after the vice president during those years.
The sentence implies that the subject was second in line to the presidency following a period in which the vice president did something—something accidentally omitted from the end of the sentence. But the point is that the vice president was first in line to the presidency, so the phrase "after the vice president" should immediately follow "the presidency."
Original: Current out-of-town students would be allowed to complete high school there, as well as those admitted for the incoming freshman class.
Correct : Current out-of-town students, as well as those admitted for the incoming freshman class, would be allowed to complete high school there.
The phrase "those admitted for the incoming freshman class" is related to "current out-of-town students," so it should immediately follow that phrase rather than being located at the end of the sentence.
Original: Those who opt for military service would only serve as military police, as truck drivers, or in homeland security posts.
Correct : Those who opt for military service would serve only as military police, as truck drivers, or in homeland security posts.
This common lapse in proper word order changes the intended meaning; "only serve" distractingly implies that the people in question would serve but not do something or anything else, but "serve only" correctly indicates that their service would be limited to performance of the stated tasks.