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  • Title:Common writing errors by non-native speakers of English #2: Misplaced Modifiers
  • News Date:2015-06-08

There are many rules detailing the functions and uses of a participle phrase and I encourage you to look them up, however, for the scope of this column it is suffice to say that participle phrases act as adjectives modifying a noun. And one of the cardinal rules of modification is to get the modifier as close as possible to the word it describes. Let’s look at the sentence.

Filled with hope after receiving the aid, the volunteers hope the tenants of the hotel can one day join their ranks and work to help others in need.

“Filled with hope after receiving the aid” is a participle phrase that, acting as an adjective, points to a someone or a group of people being “filled with hope”. However, immediately following the phrase we have the noun “the volunteers”. This is what we call a misplaced modifier, as the people who are “filled with hope after receiving the aid” are not the volunteers, but “the tenants of the hotel.” If we are to rewrite this sentence correctly, we need to move the modifier next to the appropriate word:

Filled with hope after receiving the aid, the tenants will perhaps one day join the ranks of the volunteers and work to help others in need.

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TPS Team

 

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  • Last Update Time:2015-06-08 PM 3:10

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