Let's see if we can make sense of the dun ... dun ... dun: MISPLACED MODIFIERS!!!
First, I must tell you that my critter, Sarah, has had quiet a few laughs because of my misplaced modifiers. They are the things that are most likely to confuse your readers AND give them a good laugh. Bonus.
According to the University of Ottawa, a modifier is this: A modifier can be an adjective, an adverb, or a phrase or clause acting as an adjective or adverb In every case, the basic principle is the same: the modifier adds information to another element in the sentence.
Whoa. I hate those kind of explanations. How 'bout we just say it's this:
It's a word/phrase that modifies something else in the sentence.
Now, it's the THING the word is modifying that makes all the difference in the world, and where everything is placed in the sentence.
Here are some sentences with misplaced modifiers, made for your laughing pleasure:
For Sale: a horse for any rider with big muscles and gentle eyes.
Now picture that! Are you picturing a person with big muscles and bright baby blues? Yeah, I thought so. But this is actually talking about horse. The misplaced modifier messes up everything! Here's how it should read:
For Sale: a horse with big muscles and gentle eyes suitable for any rider.
Here are more examples (and their correct counterparts). The "^^^^" mark the modifiers in their incorrect and correct spots!
I need a pet sitter to take care of my cat who give shots. (A cat with opposable thumbs? Cool!)
I need a pet sitter who give shots to take care of my cat.
Child horse instructor needed for training. (If you know a child who can train horses--send them my way!)
Horse instructor needed for child training.
Emily found the blue horse's halter. (A blue horse! I want one of those!!)
Emily found the horse's blue halter.
Here's a general rule of thumb with it comes to modifiers (and to keep yourself from having these unintentional moments of laughter for your CP): Put the modifiers as close to the thing it's modifying (which is normally RIGHT before). The further away it gets, the weirder the sentence!
Get it? Got it? Good!
Do you have any other funny examples? Has your CP given you a good laugh with this?