Lindsay Lohan and the Misplaced Deodorant Modifier
September 9, 2009
In a followup to last week’s post The World’s Only Blog Post About Jessica Alba and the Grammatically Correct Usage of Compound Adjectives and When to Hyphenate Them, I’d like to share a hilariously miswritten item from Popeater.
First: modifiers. Here are some examples of modifier errors:
Filled with one million tons of trash, the mayor suggested that a new landfill be built.
Running on the beach, my pacemaker went info fits and starts.
America celebrated its bicentennial two hundred years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1976.
In the first example, “Filled with one million tons of trash” should modify “landfill,” but is instead modifying “mayor.” Ha ha, the mayor is full of trash!
Similarly, “Running on the beach” should modify “I” (which doesn’t even appear in the sentence); instead, it is modifying “my pacemaker.” Ha ha, the pacemaker is running!
Finally, “in 1976″ is a prepositional phrase that should modify “celebrated its bicentennial,” but is instead modifying “adoption of the Declaration of Independence.” The sentence implies that the adoption was in 1976 and the bicentennial, consequently, in 2176. Ha ha, future time!
Now on to Lindsay Lohan’s deodorizing needs, which appear to be profound and multitudinous:
Apparently, Lindsay’s deodorizing needs are not only severe, but also very specific: she has dropped a box of deodorant “formulated to combat extreme sweating on her way out of a Rite Aid.”
Does she have another variety of deodorant formulated to combat extreme sweating on her way INTO Rite Aid? And another for the DMV? Another for banging on Samantha’s door during their love spats? What happens if she shops at a different drugstore? Does CVS offer competing formulations of deodorant for entering and exiting their stores?
So, let’s fix it:
The modifier is “on her way out of a Rite Aid” (that’s actually two strung prepositional phrases, but let’s not split hairs). The modifier should modify “Lindsay Lohan,” not “extreme sweating.” Here:
“On her way out of a Rite Aid, Lindsay Lohan drops a box of deodorant formulated to combat extreme sweating.”
Another perfectly fine option is: “Lindsay Lohan, on her way out of a Rite Aid, drops a box of deodorant formulated to combat extreme sweating.”
Sweat away, Lindsay!