Dangling modifier

Type of misplaced grammatical phrase / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A dangling modifier (also known as a dangling participle or illogical participle) 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.[1] A dangling modifier has no subject and is usually a participle. A writer may use a dangling modifier intending to modify a subject while word order may imply that the modifier describes an object, or vice versa.

An example of a dangling modifier appears in the sentence "Turning the corner, a handsome school building appeared".[2] The modifying clause Turning the corner describes the behavior of the narrator, but the narrator is only implicit in the sentence. The sentence could be misread as the turning action attaching either to the handsome school building or to nothing at all. As another example, in the sentence "At the age of eight, my family finally bought a dog",[3] the modifier At the age of eight is dangling. It is intended to specify the narrator's age when the family bought the dog, but the narrator is again only implicitly a part of the sentence. It could be read as the family was eight years old when it bought the dog, or even that the dog was eight when it was bought.

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