Modify Your Modifiers

Two Students and Laptop

Modifiers are words or phrases used to provide details about an action or event. Many times we incorrectly place the modifier, ultimately altering the meaning of the sentence.

Incorrect: The distance runner almost jogged the perimeter of the whole town.

Correct: The distance runner jogged the perimeter of almost the whole town.

In the incorrect example above, the sentence implies that the distance runner was going to run the distance of the whole town, but did not. On the other hand, the correct version of the sentence suggests that the distance runner did in fact runner, but not quite the perimeter of the whole town.

Incorrect: After January 1st, Dad said he would shave his mustache.

Correct: Dad said he would shave his mustache after January 1st.

The sentences differ in the time period the speaker refers to. The “incorrect” example implies that Dad stated his assertion after the date, January 1st. The “correct” example sets a deadline for when Dad will shave his mustache.