Exercise 1

Recognizing Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Directions: In the exercise that follows, you will need to determine whether or not sentences contain misplaced or dangling modifiers.

In a clear, logical sentence, you will find most modifiers right next to the words they describe:

The waitress served Gilbert a plate of gray meatloaf sauced with lumpy gravy.

Notice that sauced with lumpy gravy, a participle phrase, follows meatloaf, its target noun.

If too much distance separates a modifier and its target, the modifier is misplaced:

Sauced with lumpy gravy, the waitress served Gilbert a plate of gray meatloaf.

The waitress is sauced with lumpy gravy? That's not logical!

If the sentence fails to include a target, the modifier is dangling:

Studying the unappetizing plate of food, all appetite was lost.

We assume that Gilbert is the one studying the plate, but notice that he doesn't appear in the sentence. Thus, studying the unappetizing plate of food has no target to modify.

To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules.

Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world.

Bite first to avoid getting bitten!

Chomp! Chomp!

Start here.