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*Asterisk = examples of errors or poor constructions*.

Student Learning: Grammar

Modifiers - Lesson two

  1. 2.1 Placing modifiers:

    When a phrase is doing the modifying, it should go as near as possible to the thing it is modifying. The following examples show poorly placed modifying phrases. (Remember modifying phrases often convey less-essential information, and are usually dependent clauses).

*We served ice-cream to our guests in paper plates.* (Note: Asterisks signal examples of poor constructions.)

*The villian was described as a tall thick-set character with a red beard weighing 110kg.*

Note the difference in meaning when the modifying phrase is closer to the thing that it is intended to modify:

We served ice-cream in paper plates to our guests.

The villian was described as a tall thick-set character weighing 110kg with a red beard.

  1. 2.2 Pronouns as modifiers:

    With pronouns such as he, she, it, his, her, their, them, and they, you must be careful to avoid possible ambiguity (double-meaning). Use the context to make it exactly clear to which nearby thing or person the pronoun refers.

Tom visited Charles after his divorce.

If the teachers model poor language skills, the children may not know it is inappropriate and copy them, which could potentially get them into trouble in the future.