Tag Archives: dangling modifer

Grammar Lesson … Dangling Modifiers

“Looking out across the ocean, a dolphin jumped out of the water.”

What is wrong with this sentence?

Perhaps you understand that the author was looking out over the ocean and that the author saw a dolphin jump out of the water. But the way that this sentence is structured, it seems as if the dolphin looked out across the ocean. Oops!

This type of sentence error is called a dangling modifier. According to Purdue University’s English website, OWL, “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.” Dangling modifiers can create confusion in sentences, so it is important that students identify them and understand how to correct them.

To correct a dangling modifier, you must insert the word that is not clearly stated. In the case of the above-mentioned sentence, the word that is not clearly stated is the author. To correct the sentence, the author must be included.

“Looking out across the ocean, a dolphin jumped out of the water.”

BECOMES

“While I was looking out across the ocean, a dolphin jumped out of the water.”

Much better! Try another one:

Feeling dizzy, the coach told her to sit down.

In this case, the player (in the sentence, “her”, is not stated in the dangling modifier. She needs to be mentioned.

Because she was feeling dizzy, the coach told her to sit down.

 

Can you fix these dangling modifiers?

1. Piled up in the sink, I knew the dishes were going to take forever to clean.

___________________________________________________________

2. While walking, a car almost hit me.

___________________________________________________________

3. Standing in the sun, the heat felt good.

___________________________________________________________

4. Smiling and laughing, the photographer took the family’s photo.

___________________________________________________________

5. Running to the soccer goal, the wet grass made her slip and fall.

___________________________________________________________

6. While typing my paper, the computer froze.

___________________________________________________________

7. Upon entering the office, the electricity went out.

___________________________________________________________

8. Chasing my dog, she looked so happy!

___________________________________________________________

9. Taking a deep breath, I watched her jump in the water.

___________________________________________________________

10. After reading his paper, he got an A from the teacher.

___________________________________________________________

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