Carmen and a Misplaced Modifier

June 10, 2006

Carmen Electra hosted a Celebrity Poker Tournament in Las Vegas to raise money for the Head to Hollywood charity. Carmen founded the organization after her mother died from brain cancer, which brings patients and their families to Hollywood for a celebrity experience.

The second sentence contains a misplaced modifier. The adjective clause that begins with "which brings patients" should describe the organization, but it is closer to "brain cancer" and therefore appears to modify the disease. Brain cancer does not bring people to Hollywood for a celebrity experience. Head to Hollywood does. To correct the sentence, move the modifier closer to the word it modifies.

Carmen Electra hosted a Celebrity Poker Tournament in Las Vegas to raise money for the Head to Hollywood charity. Carmen founded the organization, which brings brain cancer patients and their families to Hollywood for a celebrity experience, after her mother died from the disease.

The clause now modifies "organization." Notice the change in syntax that moves "brain cancer" to modify "patients" so that the type of disease that the organization raises money for comes earlier in the sentence. This word order strengthens the clarity of the sentence.

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