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Dangling Modifiers

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 1

 A grammatical ambiguous construct where a grammatical modifier can be misinterpreted to been associated with word apart from the intended one or with not any particular word is known as a dangling modifier. For example, when a writer wants to modify the subject, but end up with ordering the word, which means that an object is modified instead of matter. This kind of mixture can add unintentional humor, or even the context can get informal, which may lead to complexity incomprehension. For example, if we look into the sentence. These are commonly considered as grammatical errors. A modifier clause is usually at the end of the beginning of the sentence and is typically attached to the main clause’s subject. However, if the issue is absent or the clause is attached to a different object of the sentence, it would make the clause appear “hanging” on nothing or on an entirely unsuitable noun. Dangling modifiers can also be termed as dangling participles. Mainly a participle is in terms of verbal that ends with –ing, i.e. the present form of participle or it could complete with –ed, i.e. the past form of participle. A participle can, by itself act as an adjective. One can tell by looking in a sentence that they have encounter a dangling g modifier if only the sentence contains –ing verbal. For example in the sentence

“Twisting his ankle, the race was not an enjoyable experience.”

In the above sentence “spraining his ankle” is the modifier which states an action, but it cannot be made sure about who is the “doer” of the mentioned action “the race” would be who has a sprain in the ankle. Thus the dangling modifier in the above sentence is “spraining his ankle”.

“Excited, the gift was opened.”

In the above sentence, “excited” is the adjective that is needed to modify “the gift.” It is known that the gift cannot be excited or have any feeling or any kind of emotion, so the question arises who was excited? Thus here, “excited” is the dangling modifier.

How to fix them?

To fix a dangling modifier, one first need to explore how the modifier should deliver in a correct grammatically sentence. It will require a more efficient way than only rearranging the words to fix a dangling modifier. Something new word is needed to be adds so that the targeted word can be provided to the modifier to describe the sentence. A noun phrase can be added to the dangling modifier to correct it only need to consider that the modifier can describe it logically. This grammatical error can also be adjusted by adding a dependent clause to the part of the modifier. For example, in the sentence:

“Walking towards the countryside, the moon began to rise.”

In the following example, the dangling modifier here is “walking towards the countryside” as it sounds as if the moon is walking towards the countryside. This dangling modifier could be revised as:

“Walking towards the countryside, I watched as the moon began to rise.”

Here I is the actor, and it is named as the subject. This is the first strategy where the agent is named as the subject of the sentence. One more example can be seen

“To become a doctor, hard work and dedication are needed.”

Here the dangling modifier is “To become a doctor” this could be revised as

“To become a doctor, one needs to work hard and to have dedication.

The second strategy that can be applied to fix the dangling modifier can be to name the agent in the modifier. For example:

“Walking towards the countryside, the moon began to rise.”

Revised: “As I walked towards the countryside, the moon began to rise.”

Here I is being used as the actor which is added to the modifier.

One more examples of dangling modifiers and how to fix it by both the strategy follows:

“Attracted by the magician’s prophecy, Stewart’s moral scruples give way to his determination.”

The main problem with the above sentence is that Stewart’s scruples are not attracted by the prophecy; Stewart is attracted. By closely observing the opening, modifier raises the question of what and who is attracted. The answer must be supplied by the noun or the noun phrase. To solve this problem, a noun or phrase must be introduced which answer about who and what:

“Attracted by the magician’s prophecy, Stewart allows his moral scruples to give way to his determination.”

It can be solved by changing the modifier tom a clause by using Stewart, i.e. the subject. Thus the opening will raise no question:

“After Stewart has been attracted by the magician’s prophecy, his moral scruples give way to his determination.”


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