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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Criminal Sentence 8: Recipe for a Misplaced Modifier

From a recipe for the mushroom spread I made yesterday:

"Before pureeing, this combination makes a fine filling for turnovers."

According to this sentence, "this combination" is going to be doing some pureeing. Oops. This is a misplaced modifier, which I complain about in my book and in my upcoming Writer's Digest column (coming in the next issue). When you start a sentence with a phrase like "Before pureeing," whatever comes next is what goes with it. The sentence structure is messed up here, so you need to state who is doing the pureeing. You can rewrite this in a number of ways. I like this sentence:

"If you want to use this combination as a yummy filling for turnovers, don't puree it."

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