Misplaced Modifiers Cause Valentine Heartache

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Because it’s the week of love–Valentine’s Day was Monday–let’s have some fun with these two words: only and love. Watch what happens to the meaning of a sentence when you move ONLY around.

ONLY I love you!
No one else loves you. Not even your mum!

I ONLY love you! 
In other words, I don’t like you, hate you, or feel confused by you. My emotion is only love toward you.

I love ONLY you!
I don’t love anyone else. I don’t even love my mum.

Notice that ONLY is a modifier in this sentence.  Modifiers are adjectives or adverbs that limit the meaning.  The placement of ONLY can change the meaning of the sentence, so it’s important to pay careful attention to it for clarity. It’s best to place ONLY immediately before what it limits (or modifies). If anyone ever told you that you have a misplaced modifier, it’s probably because you didn’t put the modifier immediately before the noun or verb you wanted to limit.
Now use this little grammar lesson to improve your love life! 

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