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misplaced modifiers

Modifiers in the wrong place can make a sentence confusing.

After identifying the correct material, the test procedure took about 5 minutes.

In this example, it isn't clear who or what identified the correct material. This might be better: After identifying the correct material, we conducted the 5-minute test procedure.

After being lost under a pile of old reports for 5 years, she finally found the manuscript.

What, or who, was lost—the manuscript, the woman, or the reader? Try to keep modifiers as close as possible to the people and things they describe. Strunk and White, authors of The Elements of Style, say this: "Modifiers should come, if possible, next to the word they modify." This is especially true for sentences containing introductory prepositional phrases or clauses followed by a comma.