Common Errors in Research Papers (Part 2)

1. Dangling Modifiers
Make sure that a modifying phrase or clause doesn’t “dangle” without the subject it is intended to modify

*By implementing the plan immediately, the employees could be motivated to increase sales.
> By implementing the plan immediately, management could motivate employees to increase sales.
 
*When not going to school, my interests include everything from skiing to being outdoors.
> When not going to school, I like everything from skiing to being outdoors.

2. Squinting or Misplaced Modifiers
A modifying phrase or clause is said to “squint” if it applies equally to two different parts of a sentence. Make sure the modifier clearly refers to the element you want it to.

*The council advises physicians at regular intervals to administer the drug.
> At regular intervals, the council advises physicians to administer the drug.

A “misplaced” modifier (usually an adverb) is positioned so that it changes the meaning of the sentence.

*I could see my grandfather coming through the window.
> Through the window, I could see my grandfather coming.

 
3. Clichés and Weasel Words
Avoid clichés. Instead, give a precise description. The cliché in the first example suggests that, at some point in their lives, Canadians may begin to age 48 hours for every 24 that pass:

*We studied pain management techniques for Canada’s rapidly aging population.
> We studied pain management techniques for Canada’s over-65 population.

* Due to globalization, the company has had to increase its staff by 25%.
> Due to an increase in orders from abroad, the company has had to increase its staff by 25%.