The English Language         Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers         Grammar Advice




The Best Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers of All Time

  1. Oozing slowly across the floor, Marvin watched the salad dressing.

  2. Waiting for the Moonpie, the candy machine began to hum loudly.

  3. Coming out of the market, the bananas fell on the pavement.

  4. She handed out brownies to the children stored in tupperware.

  5. I smelled the oysters coming down the stairs for dinner.

  6. I brushed my teeth after eating with Crest Toothpaste.

  7. Grocery shopping at Big Star, the lettuce was fresh.

  8. Driving like a maniac, the deer was hit and killed.

  9. With his tail held high, my father led his prize poodle around the arena.

  10. I saw the dead dog driving down the interstate.

  11. Holding a bag of groceries, the roach flew out of the cabinet.

  12. Emitting thick black smoke from the midsection, I realized something was wrong.

  13. The girl was consoled by the nurse who had just taken an overdose of sleeping pills.

  14. I saw an accident walking down the street.

  15. Drinking beer at a bar, the car would not start.

  16. Playing pool in the living room, the radio was turned on by Jim.

  17. Frustrated by diagonal movement, the set was turned off.

  18. Mrs. Daniel sews evening gowns just for special customers with sequins stitched on them.

  19. Although exhausted and weary, the coach kept yelling, “Another lap!”

  20. She carefully studied the Picasso hanging in the art gallery with her friend.

  21. Having an automatic stick shift, Nancy bought the car.

  22. Freshly painted, Jim left the room to dry.

  23. He held the umbrella over Janet’s head that he got from Delta Airlines.

  24. He wore a straw hat on his head, which was obviously too small.

  25. After drinking too much, the toilet kept moving.



  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.

  2. The farm was used to produce produce.

  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.

  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

  9. When shot at , the dove dove into the bushes.

  10. I did not object to the object.

  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row

  13. They were too close to the door to close it.

  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.

  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

  18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

  19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

  20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"

And to put it in verse form . . .

For Those who Reed and Right


We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why
shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.



You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.


There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is "UP."

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for elect ion and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car . At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UPan appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special .

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stoppedUP . We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP ! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearingUP

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP .

When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now my time is UP, so......... it is time to shut UP ....!




Grammar Advice

[Tongue in Cheek]


  1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

  3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

  5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)

  6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

  7. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

  8. Be more or less specific.

  9. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

  10. No sentence fragments.

  11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

  12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

  13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

  14. One should never generalize.

  15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.

  16. Don't use no double negatives.

  17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

  20. The passive voice is to be avoided.

  21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

  22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice.

  23. Kill all exclamation points!!!

  24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

  25. Profanity is for asses.

  26. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth Earthshaking ideas.

  27. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

  28. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

  29. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it effectively.

  30. Puns are for children, not for groan readers.

  31. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

  32. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

  33. Who needs rhetorical questions?

  34. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
    And finally. . .

  35. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.