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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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'
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
* Fix the misplaced modifier: Spell check will check ONLY what comes after ...
A misplaced modifier is so far away from the word it describes that the reader may be confused.
Will an arrow drawn from a misplaced modifier and pointing to its proper place in a sentence hurt a student?
"The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the Mysteries of Weak Writing" looks at all the causes of bad writing and how to repair them and revise them.
A dangling or misplaced modifier is a group of words that don't connect with what they modify, either because a word or words are left out, or because they are too far from what they modify:
He explains non sequitur as well as misplaced modifier. He asks the reader to "imagine Jesse Jackson, Jesse Helms, and Jesse Ventura each writing a history of the Clinton presidency" to emphasize his point that all writing in the humanities is subjective.
For instance, to the comment, "I only received the letters yesterday," the wise guy responds, "You didn't open them?" 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.
In the Bradley reference, for example, the misplaced modifier - "that affected his ability to move the right side of his body" - was a subordinate clause.
A misplaced modifier is too far away from the word it describes, and the reader may be confused.
Americans may sometimes find the prose a bit daunting, the occasional Anglicism, misplaced modifier, and passive voice requiring a thorough rereading.
(Modifiers) Place a modifier as close as possible to the word being modified to avoid a misplaced modifier.