We are making sure that our sentences express the right view we are trying to point out. By using descriptive words, it makes the idea vivid for the reader. But most of the time we are not aware of the placement of the modifier, even professionals (not all) commit this mistake. Thus the need to understand the rules of modifiers should be taken seriously.
In the ESL world I’ve learned that when you express your thoughts by way of speaking and you commit mistake(s) is not a big deal (speaking the second language), but when you express your thoughts by way of writing and you commit the same mistake, this is considered a mortal sin (under ESL only).

Why?

Under speaking, it is forgivable because it is obvious that you can not undo anymore the damage, but of course, you can say it again in a better and more appropriate manner. While underwriting it is a mortal sin because you have all the time to review and rewrite your sentences and yet you still commit a mistake, do you think this is a simple o normal offense? Of course not. Therefore we have to be careful in writing especially if there are lots of modifiers needed to make the idea vivid.

Let us analyze this sentence:

The boy was lost in a cowboy suit yesterday at the plaza.”

At first glance, you might say the sentence is correct. Also, if we listen to it being spoken, it is correct. Is it correct?

Be aware where you put your modifiers. I’ll be posting more topics about dangling modifiers.

My students (3rd yr high school) reacted vehemently about this sentence. I laughed too. And you know what happened next? They become motivated, their eagerness to learn more about the modifiers grew more intense.

Later on, they’d learn that “in a cowboy suit” is a modifier modifying the “boy” as the subject. Thus the sentence goes like this:

“The boy in a cowboy suit was lost yesterday”

I’ll be posting more topics about dangling modifiers for you to express your ideas better.

Categories: Learn English

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