A misplaced modifier is a phrase, phrase, or clause that is mistakenly separated from the word it is meant to describe. Because of this, the phrase is awkward, confusing, illogical, and sometimes humorous.
A misplaced modifier can be corrected by moving the modifier to a far more sensible place in the word, usually next to the word it describes.
1. Misplaced: Mary almost read every book in the library. (This implies she contemplated reading every book but didn’t.)
Correct: Mary read nearly every book in the library. (This means she read most, however, not all, of the books.)
2. Misplaced: Fred held a black book of all girls he previously dated in his desk. (This means that Fred dated girls while in his desk.)
Correct: Fred held in his desk a dark book of all the girls he previously dated. (This means Fred kept the dark book in his desk.)
3. Misplaced: I demonstrated my dog to the veterinarian with the fleas. (This means the veterinarian has fleas.)
Correct: I demonstrated my dog with the fleas to the veterinarian. (This means your dog has fleas.)
4. Misplaced: The followers were told at midnight the live concert would start. (This means the announcement emerged at midnight. The beginning time of the live concert is ambiguous.)
Correct: The followers were told the live concert would begin at nighttime. (This implies the live concert would start at midnight.)
5. Misplaced: Jane only ate breads for dinner. (This means that all Jane did with the bread was eat it; she did not knead the dough or bake it in the oven.)
Correct: Jane ate only bread for supper. (This means Jane ate breads for dinner and absolutely nothing else.)