Dangling Modifiers - Exercise 1
Wording may vary. Below are suggested corrections.
For help with any item below, refer to the dangling modifiers page.
1. Writing carefully, the student finished the essay in time to hand in.
Because the student wrote carefully, the essay was finished in time to hand in.
Your answer: Writing carefully, the essay was finished on time to hand in.
2. My flesh felt creepy after I saw a monster movie.
After seeing a monster movie, I felt creepy.
Your answer: My flesh felt after seeing a creepy monster movie.
3. When I was four, my grandmother taught me to knit.
At the age of four, I was taught to knit by my grandmother.
Your answer: when i was at the age of four, my grandmother taught me to knit.
4. To do well in college, you will need to get good grades.
For you to do well in college, good grades are essential.
Your answer: To do well in college, good grades are essential.
5. Crowded in the car, we were uncomfortable during the trip.
Because we were crowded in the car, the trip was uncomfortable.
Your answer: having crowded in the car, the trip was uncomfortable.
6. While still a student, she received a job offer.
While she was still a student, a job offer was received.
Your answer: While still a student, a job offer was received.
7. After John had done calculus problems for hours, his foot went to sleep.
After doing calculus problems for hours, John noticed his foot went to sleep.
Your answer: After doing calculus problems for hours, John's foot went to sleep.
8. When we drove over the hill, the ocean came into view.
Driving over the hill, we saw the ocean come into view.
9. Confused by the complicated wording, we couldn't make sense of the contract.
Because we were confused by the complicated wording, the contract made no sense.
10. After Joe cleared his throat, his voice sounded much better to me.
After clearing his throat, Joe sounded much better to me.
====================================================================================== Dangling Modifiers:
Good Grammarians Don't Let Their Modifiers Dangle in Polite Society!
"Always suspect an -ing word of dangling if it's near the front of a sentence; consider it guilty until proved innocent." --Patricia O'Connor
Conventionally, a participial phrase, prepositional phrase, infinitive phrase, or an appositive phrase modifies the nearest word in the same sentence. The same is true for adjectival or adverbial phrases. If that noun appears in an earlier sentence, or doesn't appear at all in the paper, the reader will become confused. This situation is called a dangling modifier. In the case of adverbs, adverbs should modify the nearest verb or the subsequent adverb or adjective in the same sentence. If not, it also is a dangling modifier.
Examples of Dangling Modifiers:
I was late for the school bus again. Running for the bus, my book fell in the mud. (Was the book running for the school bus? It's the only nearby noun beside mud.)
Deciding to join the navy, the recruiter enthusiastically pumped Joe's hand. (Was the recruiter deciding to join the navy? The only other option is Joe's hand.)
Upon entering the doctor's office, a skeleton caught my attention. (Was the skeleton entering the doctor's office? The only other option is my attention.)
Any short descriptive phrase in a sentence conventionally modifies the closest noun in that sentence. Your writing will confuse the reader if that phrase is positioned unclearly--even if the right word does appear in the same sentence. This is a subtype of the dangling modifier called a misplaced modifier.
Examples of Confusing Misplaced Modifiers:
She claimed yesterday she saw a UFO.
(Did she see the UFO yesterday? Or did she...
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