In this article you will learn:
- Misplaced modifiers
- Correcting Misplaced Modifiers
- Dangling modifiers
- Correcting Dangling Modifiers
Sentence Correction Modifiers is one of the most important part of verbal ability questions of the section English for Entrance Exams. It is one of the tougher topics which, if you are not careful, can lose you marks. Questions appear in the forms of:
- Fill in the blanks
- Sentence correction questions
What are Modifiers?
In order to prepare for Sentence Correction Modifiers, you should understand what they mean first. Modifiers are words or phrases that modify something else. Common modifiers are adjectives and adverbs as well as infinitive phrases and gerund phrases. Modifiers answer the following questions about the words they modify: What kind? Which one(s)? How many or how much? Whose? When? Where? Why? How? To what extent? Under what conditions? Consider this sentence and watch how it becomes more specific as it adds modifiers: BASIC SENTENCE: Women earn salaries. (How many women?) Many Women earn salaries. (Which women?) Many women in the civil service earn salaries. (What kind of salaries?) Many women in the civil service earn good salaries.
Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn’t intend them to modify.
Eg. The word only is a modifier that is easy to misplace. Consider the following sentences:
- I ate only vegetables.
- I only ate vegetables.
The first sentence means that I ate nothing but vegetables—no fruit, no meat, just vegetables. The second sentence means that all I did with vegetables was eat them. I didn’t plant, harvest, wash, or cook them. I only ate them.
Correcting Misplaced Modifiers
Correcting misplaced modifiers can be done by moving it next to the word that it modifies. Sentence Correction Modifiers in this case, can be done by locating the modifier next to the appropriate word.
Eg. She died in the home in which she was born at the age of 88.
Corrected version: She died, at the age of 88, in the home in which she was born.
A dangling modifier describes something that isn’t even in your sentence. Usually you are implying the subject and taking for granted that your reader will know what you mean. This is an important topic covered in the questions regarding Sentence Correction Modifiers.
Eg: Having been thrown into the air, the dog caught the ball.
In this sentence, the subject (the dog) is the ‘doer’ of the main clause – or action – (caught the ball). In the modifying part of this sentence (having been thrown into the air) the ‘doer’ of the main clause is not clearly stated. It does not directly relate to the subject of the main clause, and so, it would be considered a dangling modifier.
Correcting Dangling Modifiers
Correcting Dangling Modifiers can be done by inserting the noun or pronoun in the sentence that the modifier describes. That way the modifier stops dangling, and it becomes clear who or what the information relates to. Consider the following sentence:
Having barked all night, I decided to get rid of my dog.
It actually says that “I”, the owner of the dog, barked all night! The problem exists because the phrase must come right before the ban: noun or pronoun it refers to. “Having barked all night” looks like it is describing “I”. The different ways of fixing this sentence are given below:
- Fix the dangling participle by giving it the correct subject.
Eg: My dog having barked all night, I decided to get rid of him.
“My dog” is now the subject of “having barked”.
- Make it a subordinate clause.
Eg: Because my dog barked all night, I decided to get rid of it.
- Change the subject of the main clause to match the phrase that was dangling.
Eg: Having barked all night, my dog now lives at the pound.
Sentence Correction Modifiers for Entrance Exams Practice Questions
- Choose the meaning of the following sentences that use modifiers:
1.After eating the noodles, the bowl was empty.
A) The bowl was empty even after it had eaten all the noodles.
B) The bowl became empty after the noodles in it was eaten.
C) The bowl had to eat noodles in order to become empty.
D) None of the above.
Explanation: A dangling modifier implies the subject, which here is someone who ate noodles out of the bowl. It is the person who is not mentioned in the sentence that does the action.
2. The closet was empty, having packed everything into the suitcase.
A) The closet became empty after all the clothes in it were packed into a suitcase.
B) The closet was empty after it had packed everything into the suitcase.
C) To become empty, the closet packed everything into a suitcase.
D) None of the above.
Explanation: A dangling modifier implies the subject, which here is someone who took everything out of the closet and packet it into the suitcase. It is the person who is not mentioned in the sentence that does the action.
3. He had a hot bowl of soup.
A) The bowl in which he was having soup was really hot.
B) He was hot after drinking soup from a bowl.
C) He drank hot soup out of a bowl.
D) None of the above.
Explanation: Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn’t intend them to modify. Here, the word “hot” modifies the noun “bowl”, instead of “soup”.
4. The stolen man’s bag was found the next day.
A) The man’s bag which was stolen the previous day, was found.
B) The bag of a man who was stolen was found the next day.
C) The man who stole the bag was found the next day.
D) None of the above.
Explanation: Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn’t intend them to modify. Here, the word “stolen” modifies the noun “man”, instead of “bag”.
5. She arrived home and fell onto the sofa covered in sweat.
A) The sofa that she fell on after coming home was covered in sweat.
B) She was covered in sweat while arriving home.
C) She started to sweat when she fell on the sofa after coming home.
D) None of the Above.
Explanation: Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn’t intend them to modify. Here, the phrase “covered in sweat” modifies the noun “sofa”, instead of the woman.
Hope this article was helpful to you in understanding the Sentence Correction Modifiers section of entrance exams. English for Entrance Exams is generally an easy section for any entrance examinations, but the grammar part of it has always confused exam takers. Questions of the section conduct tests about the in-depth knowledge of a student in using the English Language.