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Monitor the Misplaced Modifier

Modifiers can cause problems in other ways. Pay attention to the placement of words and phrases in your sentences. There is a wonderful old film called "The Thin Man" about a detective named Nick and his wife Nora. At one point Nora tells her husband, "I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids." Nick replies, "It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids." Obviously, the correct way to phrase the first sentence is to say, "I read in the tabloids that you were shot five times." Obviously, the writers purposely misplaced the modifying phrase "in the tabloids" to make the line funny. But you don't want to make the mistake unless you mean to.


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