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  • Writer's pictureTimmy Van Ryn

Writer's Journal #4

It was a bitter day at my university, as my classmates and I prepared for our final exam results. As the glacial winter wind bit at our ears, the insignificant but mighty ice needles pierced through our clothes. If it were not for the dim street lights casting a trivial circle of light, I would have believed that rocks were pelting me. Finally, a beacon of light shined upon us. The doors of our small classroom opened, and we entered. We nervously plodded towards the desk of our professor, who politely stopped us. As our professor told us that we passed this test, just like all of the other tests, besides the first one, the room filled with sunlight, and our moods instantly changed. As I rushed into the not-so-cold wind, I started to text my mother. I told her that we had received our grades. She asked what they were; I responded 'my class almost passed every exam that they took this semester, including the final."

Worry automatically filled the screen with her panicked responses. I wondered why she was so gravely worried. The remainder of the day was concerned with the overlying depression of failure. Finally, I decided to ask her what made my text. I was shocked as she was disappointed that my class failed. I then realized that she had misunderstood the sentence in my text.

The sentence that I meant to communicate was "my class passed almost every exam that they took this semester, including the final," instead of "my class almost passed every exam that they took this semester, including the final." I was misunderstood because of a misplaced modifier. A misplaced modifier is" a phrase or clause placed awkwardly in a sentence so that it appears to modify or refer to an unintended word", according to the Oxford dictionary. In my sentence, the phrase was "almost", as my first sentence modified "passed", while I needed to modify the word "every". Another example of a misplaced modifier is in the sentence, "They adopted a dog for their mom that they call Foxy." This sentence sounds as if the mother's name is Foxy, with the misplaced modifier being "they call her Foxy". To fix this, the sentence should be, "they bought a dog that they call Foxy, for their mom." To fix errors like this going forward, I will remind myself to review grammar rules before I send a text or another post.

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