misplaced modifier

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Related to misplaced modifier: dangling modifier

mis·placed modifier

A modifying clause or phrase placed so awkwardly as to create ambiguity or misunderstanding. For example, in Streaking through the sky, we watched the rocket reenter the atmosphere, the phrase Streaking through the sky is misplaced.

misplaced modifier

(Grammar) grammar a participle intended to modify a noun but having the wrong grammatical relationship to it as for example having left in the sentence Having left Europe for good, Peter's future seemed bleak indeed. Usual US and Canadian name: dangling participle

mis′placed mod′ifier

a word, phrase, or clause that seems to refer to or modify an unintended word because of its placement in a sentence, as when young in When young, circuses appeal to all of us.
usage: Sometimes, as in the example above, a misplaced modifier can cause a comic misreading. Rearrangement or modification of the sentence elements can clarify the thought:Circuses appeal to all of us when young.See also dangling participle.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.misplaced modifier - a word or phrase apparently modifying an unintended word because of its placement in a sentence: e.g., `when young' in `when young, circuses appeal to all of us'
modifier, qualifier - a content word that qualifies the meaning of a noun or verb
dangling participle - a participle (usually at the beginning of a sentence) apparently modifying a word other than the word intended: e.g., `flying across the country' in `flying across the country the Rockies came into view'
References in periodicals archive ?
He explains non sequitur as well as misplaced modifier.
Although this misplaced modifier doesn't impede spoken communication, it does reveal how, because English has relatively little of the grammatical glue enjoyed by other languages, we must pay close attention to the role of syntax in written communication.
take a multiple-choice quiz to see if you really know a misplaced modifier from a dangling participle.
Americans may sometimes find the prose a bit daunting, the occasional Anglicism, misplaced modifier, and passive voice requiring a thorough rereading.
Adverb phrases which begin as prepositions but also have an object, such as those previously mentioned above, provide excellent opportunities for pupils to study the concept of misplaced modifiers.
Now, apparently, we face the prospect of some of these same folks, or their cousins, protecting us from faulty syntax, split infinitives and misplaced modifiers.