February 12, 2009

I got your dangling modifier right here.

Grammar

Dangling Modifiers

First of all, a modifier is a word or phrase that describes something or someone. So you have to ensure that the modifier is modifying the thing it’s supposed to be modifying. Let’s say you’ve been going to pogo-stick conventions for a number of years. You attend a really cool convention in Wisconsin and you want to tell fellow enthusiasts about it. You start out: “As a 15-year veteran of pogo-stick conventions, the most recent shindig in Sheboygan was a stellar event.”

What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong is, the modifier is dangling. Why? Well, what’s the subject of the sentence? The subject of the sentence is “shindig.” And the shindig is not a 15-year veteran of pogo-stick conventions — you are. So, for the modifier to un-dangle, it needs to be modifying you. Thus: “As a 15-year veteran of pogo-stick conventions, I found the most recent shindig in Sheboygan to be a stellar event.” See? Now the subject is “I.”

Are we clear on this?

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