Why are my modifiers confusing?

See example:

The values and strengths of our school system are designed for students to learn, lead and serve not only through a strong, knowledge building curriculum, but also through participation in a multitude of extracurricular activities and community service.
asked Jan 21 '14 at 21:55 Joe Pom New member

1 answer


Misplaced modifying words and clauses cause confusion.  The reader can't quite be sure what you mean.  I have read your sentence over and over.  It is very confusing.  Do the students serve through a building curriculum?  Do the values participate in extracurricular activities?  You switch back and forth from modifying the values and the students.  Since I understand the general context, I can figure out what you are trying to say.  But because the modifying clauses are misplaced, it took me repeated efforts to figure it out.


Here is a simplified example of a confusing modifier.


She returned the dress to the store that didn't fit.


This means that the store didn't fit. Of course, we wanted to say the dress didn't fit. 

link comment answered Jan 21 '14 at 23:32 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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