In an effort to improve my grammar, and hopefully help another person or two pick up a tip about English I thought I'd pick a topic (every week would be nice, but we'll see how I go) and try to explain it here :)
As a quick disclaimer, this is written as my own interpretation on the concept, so please feel free to ask for some clarification if I'm not clear, or steer me in the right direction if I've mis-interpreted ^.^;
This post is about:
= incorrect sentence
= correct setence
A 'dangling modifier' refers to a wording or phrase that changes (i.e. modifies) a concept, but it is not clearly identified in the sentence sentence.
Let's try use an example to explain:
'In an effort to catch the pig, the net was flung to the left.'
Who was trying to catch the pig? Although one may assume that it's a certain farm overseer (or perhaps one blonde cookie-lovin' boyo), on its own, it suggests that the net threw itself at the pig.
In English, the main doer of the action should be the in the next main clause.
In the above example, 'catch the pig' is the action, however the net is not the 'doer' of this action.
I've noticed that dangling modifiers tend to crop up when we rely on previous information in prior sentences. For example:
'Elspeth was furious. In an effort to catch the pig, the net was flung to the left.'
And so it is only through the first sentence that we are informed that it was in fact Elspeth who wanted to catch the little piggy!
So how do we make this clearer?
Strategies for revising dangling modifiers:
1. Name the doer of the action in the next main clause.
'Due to the high spending, voting was to decide the outcome.'
'Due to the high spending, the Herders voted to decide the outcome.'
But what was the high spending in relation to?
2. Name the doer as part of the action, followed by the next main clause.
'Lacking voting strength, the cookie budget was unable to be restored.'
Which, is a shame for the cookie budget since it was cunning enough to initiate voting amongst the herders!
'Because Ariel lacked the voting strength, the cookie budget was unable to be restored.'
3. Combine the action and the main clause in the one sentence.
'To ensure voting went his way, the votes were counted again.'
Did the votes count themselves?
'Ariel counted the votes again to ensure voting went his way.'
Open for discussion :)
When writing this, I referred to this site (Purdue OWL
) however I do encourage everyone to do their own research in the matter as well :)