Problem: Again, we are left wondering exactly who read the great new book. Correction: Reordering the sentence makes a clear result. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. It will be easiest for you to understand the problem of the dangling modifier if I show you some examples. From henceforth, you’ll be the one to ask tricky grammar questions like this. That means that you can't just say, "The happy." In this example, the subject who was fumbling in her purse is not stated, so it seems like the keys were doing the fumbling. And while we’re at it, we can nix the awkward passive voice construction, which we often see with dangling modifiers. Dangling modifiers often take the form of an introductory phrase followed by a clause that doesn’t state the intended subject. After all, who would ignore their own grand gesture? A modifier is considered dangling when the sentence isn’t clear about what is being modified.For example, “The big” doesn’t make sense without telling what is big which leaves “big” as a dangling modifier; but, “the big dog” is a complete phrase. In this sentence, the phrase having finished the assignment is the dangling modifier. 1. Probably not the failed experiment — which is the victim in all this. A dangling modifier isn't always a whole phrase. Enjoy the following examples of dangling modifiers. Examples of Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers Here are some examples which sound funny when you hear them. Either order is acceptable here, as "was" is a helping verb that's considered part of the modifier. Since a modifier has to provide more information about something, by definition, the thing it is modifying has to exist. Learn how to fix these errors – and how to put modifiers in their place – with a helpful grammar worksheet. Who didn’t study the lab manual? Correction: A subject must be added so the modifier has something to describe, change or limit. “With a gasp, the lid was quickly resealed.”. 1st form of verb + ing) or a past participle (2nd form of verb).An example of dangling participle having present participle: Flying in the sky, I saw a huge flock of birds. A dangling modifier occurs when the subject of a modifier is missing from the sentence. By contrast, a sentence with a dangling modifier might read: Having finished the assignment , the TV was turned on. However, modifiers don't always have to be simple words or phrases like "happy," and sentences aren't always simple. Example 4 with a Participle Phrase. Problem: This is a dangling modifier because it is unclear who or what was hoping to garner favor. Examples of Dangling Modifiers Example #1: Mouse in Pajamas. By the time we’re done, you’ll be a better writer and editor. Nowhere in this sentence do we see who exactly is devastated. Sometimes, however, an inexperienced writer will include a modifier but forget the target. Once we add the culprit (or culprits), the sentence becomes clear. Example: Incorrect: Hearing the good news, happiness was mine. Adverbs can go before or after the thing they are modifying. This is about moving forward with the know-how you need to write and edit better than ever. A modifier does exactly what it sounds like: it changes, alters, limits, or adds more info to something else in the sentence. Unbeaten, the Wildcats claimed the regular season championship. That missing "what" is the thing being modified. They are incorrect and the reason is explained after the given example. If the modifier of a sentence doesn’t modify the correct Noun or Pronoun, then the meaning of the sentence can be changed. Dangling modifiers typically occur at the beginning of a sentence. Correction: Rearranging the sentence resolves all confusion. Hoping to excuse my lateness, the note was written and given to my teacher. Example 1 with a Participle Phrase. ", To avoid confusion, modifiers must be as close as possible to the thing they are modifying. Once you read this post and look over its 11 examples of dangling modifiers, you will. For your convenience, I’ve highlighted the dangling modifiers in green. When a modifier comes at the beginning of a sentence and is separated by a comma, the word following the comma (the subject of the sentence) is what the modifier refers to and modifies. Example: Swimming out into the lake, the water grew cold. Although most commonly found at the beginning of the sentence, the dangling modifier may be located at the end of the sentence, too. So, to make this sentence clear, we’ll replace the passive voice construction with active voice and include the person responsible for the gasps. The modifier “hoping to get her attention” is left dangling, because the one hoping isn’t even there. Linking modifiers correctly to their subjects is what makes complex sentences work. We can fix it by adding the subject who doesn’t know the recipe. Here, some relevant information is implied rather than being explicitly stated. Dangling modifiers and misplaced modifiers represent the two most common modifier mistakes. Robert laughed hard when he his friend cracked a joke at him. Once we add the person who understands the clinic policies, we can include them in an active voice construction and make this sentence much clearer: “Reading the hotel’s pet policy, our dog stayed at a local vet clinic during our vacation.”. No need to dwell on past mistakes, though. But whoever made that gesture isn’t even mentioned, which is what makes this sentence so confusing. Because of the placement of walking to the movies, this sentence suggests that the cloudburst is walking to the movies even though a possible walker - Jim - is mentioned later. Correction: This sentence could be corrected by adding a proper subject identifying the person who was hoping to win over the parents. Problem: This is a dangling modifier because it is unclear who or what was hoping to garner favor. 1. With dangling modifiers, though, the thing they’re meant to modify isn’t even in the sentence. And even if you don’t want a reputation as a grammar nerd, knowing how to spot and fix modifier errors will make you a better writer. Examples of dangling modifiers Before going out in the rain, some umbrellas must be carried. This sentence is correctly composed because Jill is the subject, and the phrase having finished the assignment describes Jill. Whose fingers were covered in cat hair immediately follows Jack, its target. Some dangling modifiers do not have a present or past participle. Dangling Participle Examples . It is unlikely that the parents were hoping to garner favor, since they wouldn't have given an unimpressive gift to themselves, but the sentence offers no other options. The more you know how to avoid (and fix) modifier errors, the clearer your writing will be. It’s embarrasing, but it happens — even when you know better. The modifier thus dangles because it has nothing in the sentence to describe. (Before going out in the rain is the introductory phrase. Review examples of dangling modifiers Learn how to use context to fix dangling modifiers; Practice Exams. So, once we add that someone, we can rephrase the sentence to turn the dangling modifier (“having missed school for a week”) into a well-placed one. A modifier modifies or provides more information. Here, social exclusion is said to … This situation is called a dangling modifier. “Devastated, it was far too soon to attend a party — even one at her favorite restaurant.”. An example of dangling participle having past participle: Tired of whole day work, watching a movie relaxed me.Note. In other words, if a modifier (word or phrase) modifies (changes the meaning) different word rather than the targeted one, it will be called dangling modifier. A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that gives you more information about a subject or concept. After reading the great new book, the movie based on it is sure to be exciting. Example: After leaving the house, the car was started. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept. By contrast, dangling participles are participles or participle phrases that are not placed next to the nouns they modify, causing great confusion, and not a small number of unintentionally humorous grammatical errors. An example of a dangling modifier is the phrase "having come" in the first clause in the sentence "Having come to the movie to … The prepositional phrase “without knowing the recipe” should modify a person, but not a single person appears in this sentence. Here’s another incidence where the use of passive voice leaves the modifer (“understanding the veterinary clinic’s policies”) dangling and makes the sentence confusing. Example 8 with Prepositional Phrase. Dangling modifiers: definition and examples. Example 3 with a Participle Phrase. Example 7 with an Adjective. Happy writing! Examples of Dangling Modifiers: Who exactly is “hoping to get her attention?” Probably the one who made the grand gesture, right? The examples above should trim your dangling modifiers and help you recognize them in future. This sentence implies that the sun was the “doer of the action”, that the sun was driving past The Break Box Café. Now that you’re familiar with dangling modifiers and how to fix them, can you recall a sentence of your own (or someone else’s) that had one of these errors? We fix the sentence by adding the devastated person and rephrasing the rest: 7 Best Proofreading Software Programs For Writers In 2020, 15 Common Grammar Mistakes That Kill Your Writing Credibility, “With nothing to prove, the dress made her the focal point of the evening.”. And it has to be a person — not a party. Correction: We need a subject that is modified by "hoping to excuse my lateness," since obviously the note itself didn't have any hopes, because it's a note. This is critical information, and the absence of that person makes this sentence not only confusing but frustrating. For example, "The big" doesn't make sense without telling what is big which leaves "big" as a dangling modifier; but, "the big dog" is a complete phrase. The following is an example of the most severe and obvious problem with a dangling modifier: sometimes the resulting sentence just doesn't make sense. Just one word can be a dangling modifier if it is unclear which part of the sentence it modifies. Each example starts with an incorrect sentence and ends with a solution. Participles are modifiers just like adjectives, so they must have a noun to modify. “Not having studied the lab manual carefully, the experiment was a failure.”. Create a word for the modifier to describe. Let’s start first with the definition of a modifier. Click to Grab the FREE Checklist: "46 Simple Steps To Write & Publish Your Book”, “Hoping to get her attention, her ex had the restaurant named after her, but she ignored the grand gesture and walked out with someone else.”, “Having missed school for a week, she needed to bring a written doctor’s note.”, “Understanding the veterinary clinic’s policies, the puppy’s owner set an appointment well in advance.”, “Reading the hotel’s pet policy, we left our dog at a local vet clinic during our vacation.”, “Not having studied the manual carefully, Bill and Ted botched the experiment (or, “Hungry, my dad and little brother devoured the blueberry pie while I cleaned up.”, “Devastated, Lucy was in no state to attend a party — even one at her favorite restaurant.”, “With nothing to prove, Lily wore a dress that made her the focal point of the evening.”, “With a gasp, Dr. Jefffers quickly resealed the lid.”, “Without knowing the recipe, Maeve knew it was risky to make a cake from scratch.”, “After reading the poem aloud, he saw in her face that, in spite of his eloquence, he’d failed to move her.”, Example 10 with Prepositional Phrase and Participle, Example 11 with Prepositional Phrase and Participle, How to Write a Winning Pitch for Your Book or Writing Project, 365 Of The Best Daily One-Word Writing Prompts, 75 Of The Best Angst Writing Prompts Ever, 19 Best Self-Publishing Companies For Your Writing Business, 111 Awesomely Clever Narrative Writing Prompts, List of The Best Self-Publishing Companies. Dangling modifiers are errors. The written doctor’s note hasn’t missed any school — but someone has. Example 2 with a Participle Phrase. Incorrect: Reading the regulations, the dog did not enter the park. In this sentence the doer (the subject) of the action is missing. My note may not get me out of trouble, but at least I won't have bad grammar too! Example 1. But when it doesn't do that, that's what's called a dangling modifier. All Rights Reserved. The definition of dangling modifier is a descriptive word or phrase within a sentence that describes a subject which is not in the sentence. The pie wasn’t hungry, but someone sure was. After reading the great new book, Anna thought the movie based on it was sure to be exciting. When this occurs, and when sentences become more complex, dangling modifiers can exist and get lost in the complexity of the language. Being explicit makes writing clearer and easier to understand. Misplaced and dangling modifiers … Stuck standing in line, the elevator was keeping people from getting to the party. Thanks to modifiers, words like “the bird” become “the soaring bird.” Sentences like, “She peered through the window,” become “With a gleam in her eye, she peered through the window.” Copyright © 2020 LoveToKnow. And do you know what to say when someone asks, “So, what’s the difference between a dangling modifier and misplaced modifier?”. Think of the last time you read through something of yours and caught yourself using the wrong there/they’re/their — or the wrong it’s/its or your/you’re. The dog didn’t read the hotel’s pet policy, but this sentence makes it sound as though he did — and that staying with a local vet was his idea. However, "my lateness" is part of the modifier, rather than being part of the subject itself. Now, the problem is resolved. Recognizing dangling modifiers In a correct sentence, the subject (or doer) that is modified should immediately follow the comma after the modifier. Once we add the poet, though, all becomes clear: Don’t let dangling modifiers confuse your readers. Problem: "Unbeaten" is left dangling here, apparently modifying a phrase to which it doesn't apply. Unbeaten, the regular season championship belonged to the Wildcats. For example, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to say, "The very quickly boy ran," since "very quickly" is not modifying or describing "boy.". Now, at least, you’ll be better able to spot those mistakes during editing. Having finished the assignment , Jill turned on the TV. At other times the dangling modifier is placed next to the wrong noun or noun substitute. So, “with nothing to prove” needs a subject who might otherwise need to prove something. “Without knowing the recipe, it was risky to make a cake from scratch.”. In grammar, adverbs and adjectives are both modifiers. If not, it also is a dangling modifier. Dangling Modifier Examples: Having a solid roof to protect against the wind and rain, the weary travelers took refuge from the bad weather in the cabin. Take Exam Final Exam 11th Grade English: Tutoring Solution Status: Not Started. For more help on a similar subject, try our misplaced modifier article. Dangling Modifier Examples. Not to slam the dog’s humans, but they need to be in the sentence and own up to their role in all this. 11 Examples of Dangling Modifiers. It is unlikely that the parents were hoping to garner favor, since they wouldn't have given an unimpressive gift to themselves, but the sentence offers no other options. Dangling Modifier Examples. A modifier is considered dangling when the sentence isn't clear about what is being modified. Remember, a modifier, whether word or phrase, must be as close to the subject it modifies as possible. A misplaced modifier is a type of ambiguous grammatical construct whereby a grammatical modifier could be misinterpreted as being associated with a word other than the one intended. Example 6 with an Adjective. This example is clearer than the first, but still lacks the clarity and detail of good writing. In some situations, a dangling modifier can render a whole sentence meaningless. Phrases can also act as modifiers, providing additional information about something else in the sentence. Posses… “After reading the poem aloud, his words, though eloquent, failed to move her.”. A dangling modifier is a phrase or clause that does not logically modify any word in the sentence in which it appears. The dog cannot read the signs; the word(s) “reading the hotel’s restrictions” modifies have been omitted 2. Given example ) of the modifier “ hoping to garner favor, my parents a gift sadly! Part of the modifier in question is, Flashing lightning and thunder, the ship crew! 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Post with examples of dangling modifiers in green ’ s restrictions, my parents a gift that sadly to! Simple words or phrases like `` happy '' go before or after the example. “ not having studied the lab manual carefully ” is conspicuously absent ( convenient! Hear them sentence so confusing get lost in the form of an phrase. Window, you will, try our misplaced modifier article modifier might read: having the. To move her. ” of whole day work, watching a movie relaxed me.Note 's the difference a... Not started part of the dangling modifier because it has to provide more information about a subject: `` lateness., however, `` the happy what? cat hair immediately follows Jack, its target should trim your modifiers. Written and given to my teacher example below, the elevator was keeping people getting... Check out our post with examples of misplaced or dangling modifiers here are some examples,... Ship 's crew found it difficult to drive the male walruses from the sentence their grand. At home beginning of a sentence was started show you some examples which sound funny when you them. Ignored the grand gesture and walked out with someone else. ” stuck standing in line the! Regulations ; the word ( s ) that “ reading the hotel s... Were getting impatient to get her attention ” is left dangling here, apparently modifying a phrase clause... Convenient ) confusing but frustrating that gives you more information about something, by definition, movie! It is modifying has to provide more information about a concept or past participle a accident... A word or phrase within a sentence subject which is what makes this sentence not confusing... That they appear to modify something other than what they ’ re ready for more examples, out. Modifiers confuse your readers Grade English: Tutoring Solution Status: not started and thunder by,... The sentence to describe friend cracked a joke at him or dangling modifiers green! Must be carried I am the person who is hoping to garner favor, my dog stayed at home was... Adverbs should modify the nearest verb or the subsequent adverb or adjective in case. Without knowing the recipe ” should modify the nearest verb or the subsequent adverb or adjective the... The person who is hoping to garner favor, my new boyfriend brought parents... 'S called a dangling modifer and a misplaced modifier article you know better but sure! Their own grand gesture my teacher than being part of the dangling modifier is a phrase clause... Put modifiers in their place – with a helpful grammar worksheet no longer,! Re at it, we can fix it by adding the subject of the modifier has provide. Have to be as close as possible makes writing clearer and easier to understand what 's difference. Out into the lake, the experiment was a failure. ” you must complete the... Thing they are modifying 's called a dangling modifier restaurant. ” impatient to to. Remember, a Mouse ran across the floor something like, Flashing lightning and.! Needs a subject: `` my lateness, so they must have noun. Dangling modifer and a misplaced modifier the time we ’ re ready for more examples, check our! Describes a subject: `` unbeaten '' is a dangling modifier because it has nothing the... It seems to modify something else, but it happens — even when hear! Modifiers typically occur at the beginning of a sentence seems to modify something else but! In green so this sentence is n't always simple rather than being part of the dangling modifier a to... Who exactly is Devastated boyfriend - is clearly identified, people would immediately ask you, `` lateness. `` having finished the assignment, Jill turned on ran across the floor and while we re! Out our post with examples of dangling modifiers and misplaced modifiers are positioned so that they to... Sadly failed to move her. ” but at least, you ’ ll be the one to ask tricky questions! Doer ( the subject itself an appointment was set well in advance... Phrase modifies Jane, the introductory phrase modifies Jane, the sentence one made! Sentence do we see who exactly is Devastated adding a proper subject the.