A dangling modifier pertains to a word that is not in the sentence. Modifiers give more information about subjects, verbs, or objects.
· Name the appropriate or logical doer of the action as the subject of the main clause. Example: Having arrived late for practice, a written excuse was needed. Who arrived late? This sentence says that the written excuse arrived late. To revise, decide who actually arrived late. The possible revision might look like this: Having arrived late for practice, the team captain needed a written excuse. The main clause now names the person (the captain) who did the action in the modifying phrase (arrived late).
· Change the phrase that dangles into a complete introductory clause by naming the doer of the action in that clause: Example: Without knowing his name, it was difficult to introduce him. Who didn’t know his name? This sentence says that “it” didn’t know his name. To revise, decide who was trying to introduce him. The revision might look something like this: Because Maria did not know his name, it was difficult to introduce him. The phrase is now a complete introductory clause; it does not modify any other part of the sentence, so is not considered “dangling.”
· Combine the phrase and main clause into one. Example: To improve his results, the experiment was done again. Who wanted to improve results? This sentence says that the experiment was trying to improve its own results. To revise, combine the phrase and the main clause into one sentence. The revision might look something like this: He improved his results by doing the experiment again.
Misplaced modifiers incorrectly relates to the wrong word in the sentence. Modifiers are just what they sound like—words or phrases that modify something else. Misplaced modifiers are modifiers that modify something you didn’t intend them to modify. For example, the word only is a modifier that’s easy to misplace. Examples: I ate only vegetables. I only ate vegetables.
The first sentence (I ate only vegetables) means that I ate nothing but vegetables—no fruit, no meat, just vegetables. The second sentence (I only ate vegetables) means that all I did with vegetables was eat them. I didn’t plant, harvest, wash, or cook them. I only ate them. It’s easiest to get modifiers right when you keep them as close as possible to the thing they are modifying. When you’re working with one-word modifiers, for example, they usually go right before the word they modify.