pet peeve

May 30, 2010

do you know what really drives me crazy? even more than comma splices and inappropriately using apostrophes to indicate a plural? misplaced modifiers. to wit:

The episodic story of two hippies (he and Peter Fonda) making their way across America on motorcycles, Mr. Hopper placed his hero’s quest for identity and fulfillment within the tradition of the road stories of American literature, from Mark Twain through Jack Kerouac.

via SFGate

this is a professional article, written by a professional writer and supposedly edited by a professional copyeditor. and no one noticed that Dennis Hopper just got described as an “episodic story.” which i suppose could be true, in some abstract manner. but not in the manner this writer means.

the reason this is really a pet peeve for me is that while, logically, i understand how people make this mistake, i can’t really practically understand it. how do you not see that? it’s so glaring to me. and it happens all the time. so people, please learn about proper agreement between your subject and the introductory modifying clause. thank you.


One comment

  1. I’m into pet peeves and pet hates too – big time! If you’re interested, you might check out my cartoon blog at http://www.cartoonsbysheila.wordpress.com
    Cheers, Sheila

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