30 Extra help: Modifiers


Modifiers are descriptive phrases. Used correctly, they can enhance your sentence by adding more detail. However, if the modifier is placed in the wrong location in the sentence, you can cause confusion – or even hilarity!

The modifier must be placed next to the thing that is being modified. If the modifier is an introductory phrase, as in the second example below, the noun immediately following the phrase must be what the phrase is describing.

Don’t Say Do Say
An apple was on the desk that Mike ate. ( = Mike ate a desk??) Mike ate an apple that was on the desk. ( = Mike ate an apple)
Driving to work, a dog ran out in front of me. ( = a dog was driving to work??) Driving to work, I saw a dog run out in front of me. ( =  I was driving to work)


Additional Resources

To learn more about modifiers

  1. Writing for Success is adapted from a work produced and distributed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2011 by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.


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CS 050: Academic Writing and Grammar Copyright © by Confederation College Communications Department and Paterson Library Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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