Monday, May 08, 2006

Misplaced Modifiers

GMAT Verbal Section -- Misplaced Modifier

Placing modifiers - In general a modifier must be placed close to its headword - that is the phrase or word it modifies.But different kinds pf modifiers are placed at different positions.

1). Predicate adjectives follow linking verbs.

e.g

i). The days were cloudy.---- Here linking verb is "were" and cloudy is predicate adjective .

ii). The ball was large and red.---- Here linking verb is "was" and large and red is the predicate adjective.

2). Adjective phrases usually follow their headword.

e.g

i). A duffel bag with white lettering was left behind.---- Here "duffel bag" is the headword and with white lettering is the adjective phrase.

3). Adjectives and determiners usually precede their headword.

e.g

i). The child was bouncing a large, red ball.---- Here "the" and "a large, red" are the determiner and adjective preceding their headword "child" and "ball".

4). Adverbs can appear in various places near or next to their headwords.

e.g

i). He always handles the eggs carefully.---- Here the adverbs are "always" and "carefully".

5). Adverb phrases belong near their headword.

e.g

i). They will work on the roof until sundown.---- Here the adverb phrase is "on the roof until sundown" and its headword is "work".

6). Appositives usually belong next to their headword.

e.g

i). One of his jokes, a story about two fisherman lost in Chennai, leaves an audience gasping for breath.---- Here headword is "jokes" and "a story about two fisherman lost in Chennai" is the appositive.

7). Absolute phrases can precede or follow the noun they modify.

e.g

i). Its old timbers shifting, the house creaked.

OR

ii). The house, its old timbers shifting, creaked.

OR

iii). The house creaked, its old timbers shifting.---- In all 3 sentences the noun is "house" and absolute phrase is "Its old timbers shifting".

8). Like adjectives, single participles normally precede their headword.

e.g

i). A piece of broken glass glittered on the path.---- Here "broken" is the single participle before its headword "glass".

9). Participle phrases can appear in various positions.

e.g

i). Waving to reporters, the President looked jubliant.---- Here participle phrase is "waving to reporters" and its headword is "president".

10). Infinitives and infinitive phrases follow the noun or adjective they modify.

e.g

i). Sacket is definitely one film to see.---- Here "to see" to see" is the infinitive phrase following the noun "one film".

Editing misplaced modifiers

Misplaced modifiers do not point clearly to their headwords - the words or phrases they modify.The result is a misleading, confusing sentence.To edit the mistake, move the modifier next to its headword.

e.g

i). Incorrect - There was a pumpkin on the porch witha a
smiling face.
Correct - There was a pumpkin with a smiling face on the
porch.

ii). Incorrect - The final scene two characters who, in the
beginning,had hated each other in a convincing
way.
Correct - The final scene unites in a convincing way two
characters who, in the beginning, had hated
each other.

Tomorrow I will introduce Dangling modifiers, editing of squinting modifiers editing of misplaced restricters, and avoiding of split infinitive with examples.Any queries you are most welcome to ask.