Misplaced modifiers smart onions

rows of marching onions
Where’s the salmonella outbreak these footed onions are trying to escape?

According to the National Public Radio newsfeed yesterday, “The CDC says toss onions if you don’t know where they came from to avoid salmonella.”

You may be as astonished as I was to learn that onions not only are smart enough to recognize that salmonella infections are dangerous, but also that onions migrate to avoid being contaminated by those vile, rod-shaped bacteria.

Today’s informal writing prompt will let you and your students see if they can recognized a misplaced modifier when they see one, or whether they are dumber than onions.

Here’s the prompt:

“I’m going to show you a summary that appeared in a radio broadcast’s news feed. (Display and read item.)

” The CDC is, of course, the Centers for Disease Control. “Now write your reaction to that item in one or two sentences. You have 30 seconds to write.”

That’s all that necessary. A prompt as short as this is appropriate when (1) you have other informal prompts to use in the class period and (2) want to remind students of some rule they know and should use in their writing. You can take another two minutes to ask for oral responses if you choose, but if you’re rushed, just collect the day’s informal writing at the end of class to skim in a free period.

Leave it for philosophy classes to debate whether tossing is appropriate action to take against onions who, through no fault of their own, may have become infected by salmonella.

© 2021 Linda G. Aragoni