SAT Writing : Identifying Misplaced or Interrupting Modifier Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

When I passed the shop window, I saw a silver woman’s locket that would be perfect for my aunt’s birthday. No error

Possible Answers:

silver woman’s locket

would be

window,

passed

No error

Correct answer:

silver woman’s locket

Explanation:

Here, the word “silver” is a misplaced modifier. It’s the locket that’s silver, not the woman, so the correct wording would be a “woman’s silver locket.”

Example Question #2 : Identifying Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

I’m looking for the torn biology teacher’s manual so I can replace it with a new one. No error

Possible Answers:

so

No error

manual

a new

torn

Correct answer:

torn

Explanation:

It’s not the biology teacher who’s torn; it’s the manual. Therefore, “torn” is a misplaced modifier and should be moved directly next to the phrase it modifies.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

We can’t give juice to any of the children in glass bottles; someone might drop one and break it. No error

Possible Answers:

one

someone

any

in glass bottles

No error

Correct answer:

in glass bottles

Explanation:

The "children" aren’t in glass bottles; the "juice" is. Therefore, “in glass bottles” is a misplaced modifier and should be moved next to the noun it modifies.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

My niece Tara wore her favorite blue dress to the homecoming dance, which unfortunately didn’t match her green shoes. No error

Possible Answers:

which unfortunately didn’t match her green shoes.

niece

favorite blue

dance,

No error

Correct answer:

which unfortunately didn’t match her green shoes.

Explanation:

“Which unfortunately didn’t match her green shoes” is a misplaced modifier, since it describes not the dance but the dress. It is incorrectly placed in the sentence.

Example Question #21 : Identifying Modifier Placement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Ryan was elated to find the diamond men's chain on the street, but decided it would be more prudent to find out whom it belonged to than to keep it himself. No error

Possible Answers:

than to

whom

was elated

No error

diamond men's chain

Correct answer:

diamond men's chain

Explanation:

The word "diamond" in the phrase "diamond men's chain" is a misplaced modifier. In its current placement in the sentence, "diamond" looks to be modifying "men's" instead of properly modifying chain. To fix it, we would move the modifier so that the phrase becomes "men's diamond chain."

Example Question #22 : Identifying Modifier Placement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Hansel and Gretel were lured into going into the candy witch's house, which was made of gingerbread and various kinds of sweets; because of their hunger, they were not aware of the trap the witch had set until it was nearly too late. No error

Possible Answers:

nearly too late

No error

were not aware 

candy witch's house

were lured

Correct answer:

candy witch's house

Explanation:

The phrase "candy witch's house" is incorrect because it is the house that is made of candy, not the witch. Therefore, we must move the modifier "candy" in the phrase to correctly refer to "house" - "witch's candy house."

Example Question #23 : Identifying Modifier Placement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

We couldn't believe how many ingredients Kelly was able to fit into that chicken giant burrito, and we immediately knew we couldn't finish it in one meal. No error

Possible Answers:

couldn't believe

No error

chicken giant burrito

immediately

was able

Correct answer:

chicken giant burrito

Explanation:

In the phrase "chicken giant burrito," it appears that "chicken" is improperly modifying "giant." The phrase "giant chicken burrito" corrects this misplaced modifier error.

Example Question #24 : Identifying Modifier Placement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Marilyn brought her old red sneakers to the thrift store, which were faded on the sides but otherwise still had strong soles. No error

Possible Answers:

to

No error

her old

thrift store

which were faded on the sides but otherwise still had strong soles

Correct answer:

which were faded on the sides but otherwise still had strong soles

Explanation:

The phrase "which were faded on the sides but otherwise still had strong soles" is a misplaced modifier—it is currently modifying "the thrift store," but should instead be modifying "sneakers."

Example Question #25 : Identifying Modifier Placement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

The state is rightfully very hesitant to give teenagers drivers' licenses who have not had training, as there is a higher chance of those teenagers getting into accidents. No error

Possible Answers:

rightfully

of those teenagers

there is 

No error

who have not had training

Correct answer:

who have not had training

Explanation:

In the current form of the sentence, the phrase "who have not had training" is incorrectly modifying "drivers' licenses." Instead, the phrase should modify "teenagers" ("teenagers who have not had training").

Example Question #26 : Identifying Modifier Placement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

We didn't have to look too hard for the owner of the green striped men's socks; only Jeremy would ever wear socks that tacky. No error

Possible Answers:

too hard

socks that tacky

No error

would ever

green striped men's socks

Correct answer:

green striped men's socks

Explanation:

In the sentence above, the adjectives "green" and "striped" are intended to modify "socks" but have been misplaced to modify "men's" instead.  

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