MAKE MODIFIERS MAKE SENSE


It can be a long, time-consuming process when introducing the concept of modifiers to a class of young students. As if the various types of modifiers and their structures weren’t enough for an instructor to incorporate into the curriculum, that’s really only half the trouble! The organization and presentation of the material is key in guiding a student’s comprehension. Use the following setup as a blueprint for your class’ initial exposure to modifiers.
  • What is a modifier? A modifier is a descriptive phrase used adjectivally, or to modify a noun, within a sentence.
Examples:
The sweater, created by her grandmother, was one of her favorites.
(Created by her grandmother modifies sweater.)
Thin and striped, the cat meowed disarmingly.
(Thin and striped modifies cat.)
I love Chopin, an important Romantic composer.
(An important Romantic composer modifies Chopin.)
  • What is a misplaced modifier? A misplaced modifier is a modifier that has been placed too far from the word or words that it modifies. Therefore, the reader cannot tell which word in the sentence is being modified, creating confusion.
Examples:
I was told that I was being grounded by my mother.
(Is the mother doing the grounding or the telling?)
The car was in the garage being worked on.
(Was the car or garage being worked on?)
  • What is a dangling modifier? A dangling modifier describes a noun that is not clearly stated in the sentence. Although the writer might know what the sentence means by implication, the reader is almost sure to be confused.
Examples:
Scraping the car on a cold morning, my nose got cold.
(I was scraping, not my nose.)
A vital subject in our ever-changing world, students do not always appreciate the importance of Geography class.
(Geography is the subject, not students.)