When the phrase is out of place

This sentence in a CNN review of the movie “The Producers” illustrates the problem of a misplaced phrase: Shot at the new state-of-the-art film facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Stroman has stayed so close to her Broadway version she might as well have dragged the proscenium arch along with her across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The phrase “Shot at the new state-of-the-art film facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard” appears to be meant to describe the movie. Instead, because the phrase is placed just before the subject of the sentence, it grammatically modifies “Stroman.” The phrase is a misplaced modifier.

One way to fix this sentence would be to add a prepositional phrase at the beginning. In Stroman’s movie, shot at the new state-of-the-art film facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the director has stayed so close to her Broadway version she might as well have dragged the proscenium arch along with her across the Brooklyn Bridge. That puts the misplaced phrase to work modifying “movie.”

Here is a short lesson in fixing misplaced modifiers from The Emory Writing Center.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.