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Grammatik auf Englsich- Falsch gesetzte Bestimmungswörter – lustige Ergebnisse

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Bestimmungswörter

In grammar, modifiers are words or phrases that modify a word or phrase. If they are not used correctly, they can cause confusion and sometimes even be humorous.

Relative clauses

A relative clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun. It is introduced by a relative pronoun, although this can be omitted. Relative clauses are used to give additional information about something without starting another sentence. By combining sentences with a relative clause, your text becomes more fluent and you can avoid repeating certain words.

Relative clauses may use relative pronouns, which are pronouns that also act as conjunctions. The relative pronouns are who, whom, which, that, where, when, and why. They refer to the preceding noun, which can be the subject or the object of a verb.

There are 2 types of relative clauses, defining and non-defining.

Defining relative clauses define the preceding noun with essential information:

The man who told me this refused to give me his name.


Without the relative clause who told me this it is not clear which man we are talking about.

The relative pronoun can be omitted when it refers to the object of a verb.

This is the woman ( who ) I sold it to.

Non-defining relative clauses come after nouns that are already defined. They are not essential and give additional information. They are separated from the noun by commas, the relative pronoun can never be omitted and that cannot be used. They are fairly formal and more common in written English.

My mother, who lives in France, is coming to stay with me next week.

Here, who lives in France is not essential information.

Problems arise when it is not clear which noun in the sentence is referred to by the relative pronoun:

My cousin is the mother of a threemonth- old infant who works 16 hours a day seems to imply that it is the infant who works 16 hours a day, which obviously cannot be true. This is because the relative pronoun who directly follows the noun infant and normally there would be a link. However, who actually refers to My cousin, and the relative clause should follow this noun. So the correct sentence should be My cousin, who works 16 hours a day, is the mother of a three-month-old infant.

Dangling participles
Participles of verbs are of ten used to introduce subordinate clauses that modify the main clause. The participle should always describe an action performed by the subject of the main part of the sentence.

Feeling ill, John needed a doctor.

In this sentence feeling is the participle in the subordinate clause feeling ill and refers to the subject of the main clause, John.

Sometimes this rule is forgotten and a sentence is written in which the subject of the participle is not the subject of the main clause. In this case a dangling participle is produced, as in the following example.

While walking home, my phone rang.

In this case walking is the dangling participle and seems to refer to the subject of the main clause my phone. The sentence implies that the phone was walking home when it rang, which clearly is not the case. The correct version should be: While I was walking home, my phone rang, or While walking home, I heard my phone ring. Here, the subject I has been added to go with the participle.

Dangling participles should not be confused with clauses in absolute constructions that are already considered to be grammatically correct. While absolute constructions are not particularly common in modern English and are generally more often seen in writing than in speech, they may be spoken as one of several fixed expressions.

Barring bad weather, we plan to go to the beach tomorrow.

All things considered, it’s not a bad idea.


Misplaced modifiers
Usually the word and the modifier are next to each other, but modifiers may be placed in various positions in a sentence. As a result another word or phrase may be modified instead of the intended one, and some confusion may be caused. Here are two humorous examples:

I met a man who had a wooden leg named Smith.

Here the question begging to be asked is:

What was the name of his other leg?

The problem arises from the fact that the modifier is separated from the word it is modifying. The correct sentence is:

I met a man named Smith, who had a wooden leg.

In his 1930 film Animal Crackers, Groucho Marx made a joke that has survived almost a century:

One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I’ll never know.

Here, in my pyjamas is the misplaced modifier. The correct sentence is:

One morning whilst in my pyjamas I shot an elephant.

The rule here is:

When using a modifier, make sure it is placed next to the word or phrase you are trying to modify.

Failure to do so could have unexpected results. A native English speaker will understand what you mean, but may laugh openly at the absurdity. A non-native English speaker may misinterpret what you’ve said and act or judge you accordingly.

Squinting modifiers
A squinting modifier is one that is placed between two words or phrases, either of which could be the intended object of the modifier:

Children who laugh rarely are shy.

This could mean two different things: children who rarely laugh are shy, or children who laugh are rarely shy.

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Bestimmungswörter

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