Hilariously misplaced modifiers and other blunders

As with common gaffes of usage and punctuation, botched syntax can distort a writer’s intended message—often with humorous consequences.

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How many of you snicker when you see a sign that says something like this:

“Caution heavy pedestrian traffic”

In a previous article, I wrote about modifiers and why their location in a sentence is important:

When used correctly, modifiers add interest and depth to your writing. When modifiers are used incorrectly, the reader may not understand the details of the sentence.

A misplaced modifier occurs when a word or phrase is placed too far from the word it describes. Because of this separation, it’s not clear what is being described in the sentence.

They can also cause writers and editors to laugh hysterically.

Below are examples of misplaced modifiers—as well as punctuation omissions and usage gaffes—that make for amusing phrases:

From signs:

1. Caution heavy pedestrian traffic

2. Caution pedestrians slippery when wet

3. Huge kids sale

4. Kids with gas eat free

5. Kids 20% off

6. Don’t let worries kill you. Let the church help

7. Bathroom only for disabled elderly pregnant children

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