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GMAT Sentence Correction - Modifiers

Updated: Apr 8

Modifiers should be positioned close to the nouns, pronouns or phrases they modify.


Two main types of modifiers are:

  • Dangling Modifiers

  • Misplaced Modifiers


DANGLING MODIFIERS

  • A sentence containing a dangling modifier usually has a phrase that describes the subject but does not name the specific noun.

  • This phrase mostly appears at the beginning of a sentence, but it can appear later on as well.

  • Irrespective of its position, the phrase is followed by a comma.

  • Whenever a sentence contains a descriptive introductory phrase, the noun or pronoun it modifies must be placed immediately after the comma. If that noun or pronoun does not appear the modifier is dangling.

  • Keep a close watch for possessive versions of the subject immediately after the introductory phrase.

  • If any possessive noun is placed immediately after an introductory phrase - it will be incorrect.

  • EXCEPTION: It is acceptable when we begin the main clause with an adjective or phrase modifying the subject - such modifiers are considered part of the complete subject.


MISPLACED MODIFIERS


  • Generally do not involve any introductory phrases.

  • Occur later in sentences - separated from the words/ phrases they are intended to modify.

  • Generally very short.

  • They can be Adjectives/ Adverbs/ Phrases/ Gerunds

  • GERUNDS: A passive construction is typically required to correct the error - One of the few places where PASSIVE IS OK.

  • Prepositional Phrases

  • Also watch out for phrases beginning with which & that. The pronouns must always refer to the noun that appears immediately before them.


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