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Mastering the Mechanics: Modifiers

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Mastering the Mechanics: Modifiers

Last updated 5/31/2016


Visual: Walden University Writing Center logo is visible at the bottom of the screen along with a notepad and pencil background. “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. Slide changes to background of dictionary page. A green text box appears which reads: "Mastering the Mechanics: Modifiers."

Audio: Guitar music plays.


Visual: Slide changes to slide titled "Modifiers." Below the title are three bullet points with information about modifiers. The second point has an example below, and the third point has two examples below.  Below that is a box with a tip and two examples. The three bullets and their examples in the top half of the slide read:

  • "Give information about another word.
  • Adjectives: Modify a noun — Cathy is the company’s first female CEO.
  • Adverbs: modify a verb, adjective, or other adverbs. Can be a single word or phrase. [Example 1]: Cathy recently accepted the CEO position. [Example 2]: She is very eager to meet her staff and is meeting on Monday with all the managers."

In a textbox below body text it reads: "Tip: Avoid misplaced and dangling modifiers." Below that are two examples: "Rather than this: As a nurse, patients should be my main concern. Try this: As a nurse, I should mainly be concerned about patients."

Audio: This part of speech, this word might be a little bit unfamiliar. But basically all a modifier is, is a word that gives information about another word.There are two main types of modifiers. Adjectives, which describe nouns, so you can see here, [reading from the slide], "Cathy is the company's first female CEO,"


Visual: Female in first text example is highlighted.

Audio: The word "female" describes the word "CEO", so this is an adjective. And then adverbs, which describe verbs, adjectives, or other words. So for example, [reading from the slide], "Cathy recently accepted the CEO position."


Visual: As narrator says “recently” the word highlights in the second example.

Audio: When did she accept it? "Recently." She is "very eager."


Visual: As narrator says “very” the word highlights in third example.

Audio: How eager is she? "very." [Reading from the slide again], "To meet her staff and is meeting on Monday with all the managers." And interestingly, adverbs can be more than one word. As you can see here, "on Monday."


Visual: "On Monday" text highlights.

Audio: This phrase explains when she is meeting. It actually modifies the word "meeting", so it counts as an adverb. I'm not going to spend too much time on modifiers, but I do want to talk about one very common error that I see in student papers. Just as you always want to be clear what noun your pronouns refer to, you always want to be clear what your modifiers are modifying. So let's look at this example down here in this little tip box. [Reading from the slide]: "As a nurse, patients should be my main concern." Now, the way this sentence is set up, it makes it look as though "patients" is the word being modified.


Visual: As narrator says “patients” the word is highlighted in the "Rather than this:" example in bottom textbox.

Audio: Now, the problem with that is patients are not a nurse, right? It's a little bit confusing, so this is what's called a misplaced modifier. So you just wanted to adjust the sentence a little bit to make it clear what word this phrase is actually modifying.


Visual: As a nurse phrase highlights in Try this: sample text.

Audio: [Reading from the slide]: "As a nurse, I should mainly be concerned about patients."


Visual: Slide changes to notebook and pencil with Walden logo from first slide. Text reads: “Walden University Writing Center. Questions? E-mail"