The term modifier refers to a general category of words, phrases, or clauses that describe, or modify, another word or group of words within a sentence.  In the following examples, the modifier is in blue and the word(s) it describes is in green.

  • His students rarely miss his lectures.  
  • The law tries to protect wildlife in the area.
  • This is the town where Hemingway lived.

There are two common errors that students make with modifiers:

Misplaced Modifiers

Look at the following examples.  Where are the modifiers?  What are they trying to describe?

  • She wore a hat on her head which was much too big.
  • The students had almost read the whole novel by the end of the week.
  • Crawling up my friend's leg, I saw a large cockroach.

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