Misplaced modifiersPlace modifying words and phrases as close as possible to the word being modified. Otherwise, changes in meaning can occur.
We talked to Joe Smith, who once sang on the international stage at breaktime.
The misplaced modifier is the phrase "at breaktime." Its location produces ambiguity. Several ways to clarify the meaning are as follows:
At breaktime, we talked to Joe Smith, who once sang on the international
Do not give music to a member that is copied.
Do not give music that is copied to a guest.
Dangling modifiersModifiers must be able to modify (or limit) a specific word or phrase in a sentence. If there is no word or phrase within the sentence for the modifier to limit, then the modifier is said to "dangle" (a reference to grammar school sentence diagramming activities for modifiers).
While directing the chorus, the rain began to fall.
To get a shot at international, a score of 1800 must be earned.
Comparative formsAdjective and adverbs describe words and tell what their qualities are. These qualities may be compared by using comparative and superlative form. The comparative is used to compare two things; the superlative is used to express the highest degree of a quality when three or more are compared.
comparative adjective: Your quartet is classier than mine.
The comparative may be formed by either adding "-er" at the end of the adjective/adverb or by preceding it with the word "more" or "less"; the superlative may be formed by either adding "-est" to the end of the adjective/adverb or by preceding it with the word "most" or "least." Never mix the two methods. The choice of formation is determined on the basis of syllables in the adjective or adverb:
--If the modifier is a one-syllable word, use the -er/-est form.
--If the modifier is three or more syllables, use the more or less/most or least form.
--If the modifier is two syllables, either method is acceptable depending on the sound of the formation.
Irregular ComparisonsThe comparative and superlative forms of some frequently used adjectives and adverbs are irregular. They are made by changing the words themselves.
Illogical comparisonThe word "other" or the word "else" is required in comparisons of an individual member with the rest of the group.