The best place to put your modifier.

The best place to put your modifier
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 sentence fragments/dependent clauses) ← link to sentence fragments page when it is made]

* 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. *

You may have seen in the video that Shaun struggled to keep a straight face at the ludicrous situations that these mistakes imply. The meaning is managed better when the modifying phrase is closer to the thing that it intends to modify.

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

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

Pronouns as modifiers

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. *

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