Grammar Review Exercises

[The following exercises have been prepared by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC.  These pages are in the public domain and may be used, in whole or in part, by anyone, without permission and without charge, provided the source is acknowledged.  Last revised April 2002]

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

1.0 Comment

A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause which modified the meaning of another word in the sentence. The position and wording of the modifier must make clear what it refers to. Any confusion about that, and the sentence may end up sounding rather odd or illogical or absurd.

One of the most common errors in style is the use of an initial modifier ending in -ing (e.g., after reading the book. . .) and then the failure to provide a clear noun or pronoun which the modifier can refer to. 

2.0 Exercise in Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Rewrite the following sentences so that the modifiers do not dangle. 

1. Tired of life and drinking to forget his failure, we have much sympathy for the hero of this book.

2. He ran out of the bathroom and along the corridor after the mailman all covered in shaving cream.

3. Examining the character of the main character, it is clear that he is the source of many problems in his family.

4. Exhausted and very hungry, the journey was finished.

5. To get to the root of the problem, King Lear's relationship with his daughters has to be examined.

6. After reaching the end of the play, Maggie is still confusing to me.

7. After examining all the arguments, it seems that there is no answer to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

8. It is never entirely clear just what sort of relationship Hamlet and Ophelia have or have not had, after reading the script over many times.

9. Driving all night through the pouring rain, his tiredness made him fail to see the pedestrian.

10. After thinking about the benefits of re-organizing, the decision was made to delay the proposal.

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