Dangling modifiers

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Dangling modifiers

  1. 1. Dangling Modifiers
  2. 2. Consider this sentence: <ul><li>Having finished the assignment , Jill turned on the TV. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>&quot;Having finished&quot; states an action but does not name the doer of that action. </li></ul><ul><li>In English sentences, the doer must be the subject of the main clause that follows. </li></ul><ul><li>In this sentence, it is Jill. She seems logically to be the one doing the action (&quot;having finished&quot;), and this sentence therefore does not have a dangling modifier. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Now consider this sentence: <ul><li>Having finished the assignment , the TV was turned on. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Having finished is a participle expressing action, but the doer is not the TV set (the subject of the main clause): </li></ul><ul><li>TV sets don't finish assignments. Since the doer of the action expressed in the participle has not been clearly stated, the participial phrase is said to be a dangling modifier. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Examples of dangling modifiers and revisions: <ul><li>with dangling modifier: </li></ul><ul><li>After reading the original study , the article remains convincing. </li></ul>
  7. 7. possible revisions: <ul><li>After reading the original study , I find the article unconvincing. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>with dangling modifier: </li></ul><ul><li>Relieved of our responsibilities at your job , your home should be a place to relax. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>possible revision: </li></ul><ul><li>Relieved of your responsibilities at your job , you should be able to relax at home. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Characteristics of dangling modifiers: <ul><li>They most frequently occur at the beginning of sentences (often as introductory clauses or phrases) but can also appear at the end . </li></ul><ul><li>Example of dangling modifier: </li></ul><ul><li>The experiment was a failure, not having studied the lab manual carefully. </li></ul><ul><li>(The experiment--the subject of the main clause--is not supposed to study the lab manual.) </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>possible revision: </li></ul><ul><li>They failed the experiment, not having studied the lab manual carefully. </li></ul><ul><li>[They often have an -ing word (gerund) or a to+verb (infinitive) phrase near the start of the sentence.] </li></ul>
  12. 12. Strategies for revising dangling modifiers: <ul><li>1. Name the appropriate or logical doer of the action as the subject of the main clause: </li></ul><ul><li>Having arrived late for practice , a written excuse was needed. </li></ul><ul><li>(Who arrived late? This sentence says that the written excuse arrived late. To revise, decide who actually arrived late. ) </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>2. Change the phrase that dangles into a complete introductory clause by naming the doer of the action in that clause : </li></ul><ul><li>Without knowing his name , it was difficult to introduce him. </li></ul><ul><li>(Who didn't know his name? This sentence says that &quot;it&quot; didn't know his name. To revise, decide who was trying to introduce him. ) </li></ul>
  14. 14. possible revision… <ul><li>Because Maria did not know his name, it was difficult to introduce him. </li></ul><ul><li>(The phrase is now a complete introductory clause; it does not modify any other part of the sentence, so is not considered &quot;dangling.&quot; ) </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>3. Combine the phrase and main clause into one: </li></ul><ul><li>With dangling modifier: </li></ul><ul><li>To improve his results , the experiment was done again. </li></ul><ul><li>(Who wanted to improve results? This sentence says that the experiment was trying to improve its own results. To revise, combine the phrase and the main clause into one sentence.) </li></ul><ul><li>He improved his results by doing the experiment again. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Basic Principle: <ul><li>Modifiers are like teenagers: they fall in love with whatever they're next to. Make sure they're next to something they ought to modify! </li></ul>
  17. 17. DANGLING MODIFIER <ul><li>When we begin a sentence with a modifying word, phrase, or clause, we must make sure the next thing that comes along can, in fact, be modified by that modifier. When a modifier improperly modifies something, it is called a &quot;dangling modifier.&quot; This often happens with beginning participial phrases , making &quot;dangling participles&quot; an all too common phenomenon. In the sentence below, we can't have a car changing its own oil. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Confusion Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, the car seemed to run better. </li></ul><ul><li>Repair Work Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, Fred found he could get much better gas mileage. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Another example.. <ul><li>Confusion Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, there is an easy way to keep your car running smoothly. </li></ul><ul><li>Repair Work If we change the oil every 3,000 miles, we can keep our car running smoothly. </li></ul>
  20. 20. What to do? <ul><li>This faulty sentence can be remedied by changing the participial phrase into a full-fledged clause with a subject and verb. </li></ul>
  21. 21. But wait… there’s more… <ul><li>A participial phrase followed by a Passive Verb is also apt to be a dangler because the real actor of the sentence will be disguised. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Confusion Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, the car was kept in excellent condition. </li></ul><ul><li>Repair Work Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, we kept the car in excellent condition. </li></ul>
  23. 23. And more… <ul><li>An infinitive phrase can also &quot;dangle.&quot; The infinitive phrase below should probably modify the person(s) who set up the exercise program. </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>An infinitive phrase can also &quot;dangle.&quot; The infinitive phrase below should probably modify the person(s) who set up the exercise program. </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>Confusion To keep the young recruits interested in getting in shape, an exercise program was set up for the summer months. </li></ul><ul><li>Repair Work To keep the young recruits interested in getting in shape, the coaching staff set up an exercise program for the summer months. </li></ul>
  26. 26. What about… MISPLACED MODIFIER? <ul><li>Some modifiers, especially simple modifiers — only, just, nearly, barely — have a bad habit of slipping into the wrong place in a sentence. (In the sentence below, what does it mean to &quot;barely kick&quot; something?) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Take a look at these examples… <ul><li>Confusion He barely kicked that ball twenty yards. </li></ul><ul><li>Repair Work He kicked that ball barely twenty yards. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Ready for drills?
  29. 29. Application / Drills <ul><ul><li>http://net2.valenciacc.edu/mwhissel/CPT/English/modifier_quiz01.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/niu/niu9.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://aliscot.com/bigdog/dmmm_exercise.htm </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Generalization <ul><li>A DANGLING MODIFIER is a word or phrase that modifies a word NOT CLEARLY STATED in the sentence. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept. </li></ul>
  31. 31. I hope you learn something new…

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