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Squinting Modifyers


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I love this term, it's so comical.  The question is:what is it? A Modifier that needs glasses

Not quite ;)

A modifier are words, or sets of words (a phrase) that provide information about other words or phrases. A Modifier can be an adjective or adverb or a phrase/clause that contains either of these.

There are several errors that can be made when using modifiers.  A squinting one is when the modifier is ambiguous, and could modify either the word that is before or after it.  In a sense, you have to "squint" in order to understand what the phrase  means. 

Sound confusing?  It's  easier to understand when you see examples:

"Cats who get chased by dogs quickly climb up trees"

The modifier is 'quickly'....but there are two phrases it could modify:

1.  Chased by dogs (The dogs are chasing the cats quickly)

2.  climb up trees (The cat climbs up the trees quickly)

To correct the phrase, you'll need to re-write it.  For example:

A cat that is being chased by a dog will quickly climb up a tree

A cat will run up a tree when he is quickly chased by a dog.

In the first example, we know that the cat is climbing a tree quickly

In the second example, we know the dog is quickly chasing the cat.

Hope this helps!

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