The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
An Editing Checklist

3. Misplaced and dangling modifiers

Place modifiers near the words they describe; be sure the modified words actually appear in the sentence.

Not sure what a modifier is? Check our our FAQ.

Too many equally weighted phrases and clauses produce tiresome sentences.

Incorrect

When writing a proposal, an original task is set for research.

Correct

When writing a proposal, a scholar sets an original task for research.

Incorrect

Many tourists visit Arlington National Cemetery, where veterans and military personnel are buried every day from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Correct

Every day from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., many tourists visit Arlington National Cemetery, where veterans and military personnel are buried.

Still unsure? For more explanation and examples, see our grammar and style FAQ.

For bad examples — and laughs — check out the best dangling and misplaced modifers of all time!