Modifiers are words, phrases, and clauses that add information about other parts of a sentence—which is usually helpful. But when modifiers aren’t linked clearly enough to the words they’re actually referring to, they can create unintentional ambiguity.
Incorrectly placed modifier: Perched up high on a tree branch, I yelled at the cat to leave the sparrow alone.
Meaning: I don’t tangle with a tabby unless I am perched 10 feet up in the air.
Correctly placed modifier: Seeing a sparrow perched up high on a tree branch, I yelled at the cat to leave him alone.
Meaning: ohhhh….the sparrow is up in the tree. Watch out little sparrow!
#1 Read this teaching page to look over some modifier examples.
#2 Watch this TED Ed video and take detailed notes about modifiers and their placement and navigate the sticky world of misplaced, dangling and squinting modifiers.
#3 Make a visual explaining modifiers with examples of how they are used. Also include your own sentence with a misplaced modifier and then correct the sentence so that the reader understands the meaning.
Challenge: Do more research about misplaced, dangling and squinting modifiers. Include what you learned in your visual.