What Are Misplaced Modifiers and Dangling Modifiers?- 88tuition

What Are Misplaced Modifiers and Dangling Modifiers?- 88tuition



Defining your writing's purpose and audience for another person. Everyday discussion requires both parties to be on the same page in terms of the cues they offer and receive. If the reader is not on the same page as you are when writing, your words will not land with the intended impact.

A word, phrase, or clause that describes or expands upon another word in the same sentence is called a modifier. 

For example: 

I got a bike.

I got the fastest bike in the showroom. 

The second sentence gives more information as it contains modifiers.

Modifiers can also be phrases or clauses.

The small, red car sped down the street. 

The exhausted runner stumbled across the finish line.

The Missing Modifier

A misplaced modifier is not immediately adjacent to the word, phrase, or sentence that it modifies. To fix it, we simply swap the incorrect modifier for the proper one and rewrite the sentence. For example:

  • In 1947, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India

  • Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru made history in 1947 by becoming India’s first Prime Minister.

Dangling Modifiers 

A dangling modifier is like a false modifier, except the item to modify is missing! Your old instructors may have accused you of occasionally dismissing them. The modifier has his feet hanging off the side of a precipice as he sits alone, doing nothing to change anything.

A comma should be placed after the modifier and before the subject (or subjects) are changed. The major body of the following example is about Jane, who is the topic of the introduction line.


1. Running to the store, the ice cream melted. 

2. After eating the entire pizza, the box was thrown away. 

3. Sitting on the couch, the TV remote was lost. 

4. After sleeping all day, the alarm clock was turned off. 

5. Looking out the window, the birds flew away. 

6. After playing in the park, the sun went down. 

7. Eating the last piece of cake, the plate was washed. 

8. Walking to school, the rain started to fall.

How to fix dangling modifiers 

There are two simple ways to fix the dangling modifier.

Method 1: Modify the main section

In this method, we leave the modifier as it is and rewrite the main part to start it by modifying the subject.


  • Because of exams, it wasn't easy to attend the party. 

  • Because of exams, Stuart had difficulty attending the party. 

Here, in the first sentence, it is not clear who cannot attend the wedding, while in the second sentence, it is clear that Stuart had exams.

Method 2: Modify the Modifier Phrase

We can also fix the dangling modifier by including the subject in the introductory phrase.


  • Because of exams, it was difficult to attend the party. 

  • Because Stuart had exams, it wasn't easy to attend the party.

A perfect clause specifying the action's agent is used in place of the dangling modifier in the revised sentence.

Finding and fixing cases of incorrect and hanging modifiers is a crucial step toward producing polished prose. Misplaced or hanging modifiers may offend your readers and even be humorous in the right context. 


Revised misplaced modifiers-

1. People who whistle quickly become annoying.

Confusion: ( does the whistle become annoying?)

Clear: People who whistle become annoying quickly.

2. We saved a scrap of meat left on our plate for the dog.

Confusion: (dog which is left on the plate?)

Clear: We saved the meat left on our plate for the dog.

3. She wore a bicycle helmet; her head was too large.

Confusion: (did she wear a bicycle?) 

Clear: She wore a helmet that was too large on her head while riding a bicycle.

Fixing the dangling modifier to the normal modifier:

1. After reading the law, the decision still made no sense.

(Who read the law is missing here)

Change: After reading the law, the store owner felt that the decision still made no sense.

2. To improve his essay, each word was proofread.

Change: To improve his essay, he proofread each word.

3. Turning a corner, a beautiful school building appeared.

Change: Turning a corner, Shyam saw a beautiful school building appear.

4. Jogging in the park, and a dog bit me.

Change: Jogging in the park, I was bitten by a dog. ( Adding a word or phrase)

Change: A dog bit me when I was jogging in the park. (Place it near the modifier)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How can you avoid the most typical dangling modifier errors?

Dangling modifiers usually occur for one of two causes. The first is when a modifier is positioned too far away from the word or set of words it is designed to change. The second form occurs when there is no clear target of the modifier in the sentence.

Q2. How can we keep our modifiers from hanging?

Modifiers that "dangle" in a sentence don't have a clear place to attach to the rest of the phrase. Misplaced modifiers are those that alter the meaning of a word inexplicably or ambiguously due to its position in the phrase. Adjectives and adverbs should be used as near to the word they modify as feasible to avoid misplaced modifiers.

Q3. Why are modifiers so crucial, exactly?

Modifiers are meant to provide extra specificity to a statement. They can improve a sentence's clarity, specificity, or overall interest.