Misplaced Participial Phrases: How to Correct Them

Participial phrases are a group of words that modify a…

Participial phrases are a group of words that modify a noun or pronoun in a sentence. A misplaced participial phrase modifies a different noun or pronoun other than that which it was intended to modify. This occurs when a participial phrase is wrongly placed in a sentence.

What is a Misplaced Participial Phrase?

In grammar, the term “participial phrase” usually refers to a phrasal verb that includes a gerund, an infinitive, or another part of speech.

A participial phrase is a group of words consisting of a participle, modifier and pronoun or noun phrases. Typically, a participial phrase forms when other words add to a participle. Participial phrases function as adjectives in sentences, modifying the noun, pronoun, or noun phrase.

A participial phrase is misplaced if it appears far away from the word intended to modify and modifies a different word in the sentence. Misplaced participial phrases make writing unclear and conveys a different meaning entirely.

Examples of Misplaced Participial Phrases and How to Correct Them.

The placement of a participial phrase in a sentence is instrumental to conveying the intended meaning.

Participles must appear close to the words they modify to convey the intended meaning to the readers. A misplaced participial phrase does not suggest that a sentence is grammatically incorrect. It only conveys a different meaning from that intended by the writer.

You can correct misplaced participial phrases by rewriting the sentence and moving the phrase closer to the word it plans to modify.

Here are some examples of misplaced participial phrases and a better way to write them:

1) Misplaced Modifier: Hiding in the woods, James could not see the bear. (The participial phrase ‘hiding in the woods‘ modifies James and suggests that James was hiding in the woods).

Better: James could not see the bear hiding in the woods. (The sentence implies that the bear was hiding in the woods, which is the meaning the participial phrase intends to convey).

2) Misplaced Modifier: Irene was late to Church, running through the door at the last minute. (The underlined participial phase modifies the noun Church).

Better:Running through the door at the last minute, Irene was late to Church. (Moving the participial phrase close to the noun ‘Irene‘ conveys the intended meaning).

3) Misplaced Modifier: I entered the store soaked from the rain. (The participial phrase ‘soaked from the rain‘ modifies the noun ‘store‘ instead of the intended pronoun ‘I‘)

Better: Soaked from the rain, I entered the store (Moving the participial phrase closer to the pronoun it modifies, conveys the intended meaning).

Misplaced Vs. Dangling Participial Phrase

A misplaced participial phrase is a group of words placed wrongly in a sentence such that it modifies a word different from the intended word. It could appear far away or just simply in the wrong position.

On the other hand, a dangling participial phrase is a phrase that trails in a sentence without an understandable link. Dangling participial phrases seem to modify no word in the sentence as the subject it is supposed to modify is absent from the sentence.


Misplaced participial phrases make writing incoherent and unclear. They result from the wrong placement of a participial phrase in a sentence. A participial phrase is misplaced when it does not appear close to the word it intends to modify. In this case, it modifies a different word.

Once you understand a misplaced participial phrases, you are bound to catch them on your own. Moving the phrase closer to the word it intends to modify corrects the sentence and provides the sentence’s intended meaning to its audience.

Frequently asked questions

What is a misplace sentence?

Misplacement and mislay mean to put something wrong. When something is misplaced, it may mean placing it in a location not its usual location. It seems that someone has misplaced the crayons.

How can the student best correct the misplaced modifier in her sentence?

In her sentence, she can put the phrase “from Texas” after the word “grandmother.” Replace it.

What does it mean to dangle a participle?

As a participle phrase ‘dangles’, it means that it’s out of place or too far away from its subject. This obscures meaning.

What is an example of a participle sentence?

For the present participant: the crying baby had a wet diaper. Participant example: The wrecked car was torn down.

What is an example of a participle phrase?

The boys walking by the road were gossiping. I became aware of the fact that I was attending the varsity. A ceramic mug was serving coffee to me.

What are the three types of participles?

In English, there are three types of parts: present participle, past participline, and perfect participple. The first two probably come from certain tenses and adjective forms.

What are some examples of misplaced modifiers?

She arrived home and fell onto the sofa covered in sweat.Covered in sweat, she arrived home and fell onto the sofa. She arrived home covered in sweat and fell onto the sofa.

How do you fix a participle phrase?

A part of a dangle can be fixed by moving it so that it comes right before or after the noun or pronoun they are modifying.

How do you misplaced participial affect a sentence?

To:Cingletree Learning

What is an example of misplaced and dangling modifier?

The waiter presented a steak to the guest that was medium rare.The waiter presented a medium-rare steak to the guest. The waiter presented a steak that was medium rare to the guest.

How do you identify a dangling and misplaced modifier?

A misplaced modifier is in the wrong place in a sentence, while a dangling modifier does not have a specific reference in the sentence. There’s nothing else floating there.

Are there ways to avoid using misplaced modifiers?

Misplaced modifiers ambiguously or illogically modify a word as a result of their placement in a sentence. Place an adjective or adverb as close as possible to the word it modifies to eliminate misplaced modifiers.

How do you fix a dangling participle example?

If you are looking at a deer driving like a maniac, it’s possible the deer drove like frightened maniacals. Add the missing proper noun to the sentence to correct. Joe hit a deer driving like a maniac. The corrected sentence makes it clear that he was driving.

How do you fix a misplaced modifier?

Modifications that have been missed can usually be corrected by moving the modifier to a more appropriate place in the sentence, usually next to the word that it modifies.

What is a misplaced preposition?

Misplaced prepositional phrases often result in humorous phrases, but are grammatically incorrect nonetheless. In the refrigerator, Sally found the custard.

Misplaced Participial Phrases: How to Correct Them

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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