Sentence Correction or error spotting questions frequently feature in a number of competitive exams. In these questions, you are required to identify the error and identify the correct form of given sentence. One of the most common errors is modifier error. Before discussing the various kinds of modifier errors, let’s go through some basics of modifiers.
What is a Modifier?
As it is clear from the name, a modifier is a word or phrase that qualifies (modifies) or describes a word, phrase or clause.
Types of modifiers
Adjectives: Words which modify nouns and pronouns. E.g.: The stay in the red house across the street. In this ‘red’ is the adjective modifying the house.
Adverbs: They modify verbs, adjectives and adverbs. E.g.: This is a very good book. The boy ran quickly. In these examples, ‘very’ and ‘quickly’ are adverbs.
Modifier phrases: There are certain phrases which modify an action or the doer of action. E.g.: Looking at the clock, he noticed that he was late.
Common Errors in use of modifiers:
Misplaced Modifier: As the name suggests, a misplaced modifier is a modifier that is not placed correctly. If the modifier is not placed next to the item it modifies, the sentence is not able to convey the correct meaning and sometimes even ends up being unintentionally funny.
For Example: She wore the hat on her head, which she bought yesterday.
Did she buy the head yesterday? No, she bought the hat yesterday. Thus, the correct sentence will be: She tried the hat which she bought yesterday, on her head.
Dangling Modifier: Dangling means hanging or unattached. In dangling modifier the item which is modified is not attached to the modifier and is left hanging.
For Example: Waiting for the train a brick fell on my foot.
Was the brick waiting for the train? We need to add the subject here. The correct sentence will be: While I was waiting for the train, a brick fell on my foot.
Sentence Correction: Concepts & Rules
Examples of Sentence Correction:
- She picked up the scarf and tied it around her head which was gifted by her friend.
Correct sentence: She picked up the scarf, which was gifted by her friend and tied it around her head.
- The boy was riding the elephant who broke his leg.
Correct sentence: The boy who broke his leg, was riding the elephant.
- Chicken is ready to eat.
Correct sentence: Chicken is ready to be eaten.
- I almost listened to the whole album.
Correct sentence: I listened to almost the whole album.
- We read that Janet was married in her last letter.
Correct sentence: In her last letter, we read that Janet was married.
- Pleased with their conduct, it was decided by her to honor them.
Correct sentence: Pleased with their conduct, she decided to honor them.
Thus, one has to take care of these mistakes while dealing with modifiers.
Verbal Preparation Series