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Dangling Participles

 

A participle is a verb ending in –ing or -ed.  Dangling participles occur when the verb and the subject of the sentence do not agree, when it is unclear what the participial phrase is describing.  Dangling participles could appear as introductory participial phrases or at the end.

Participial phrases must describe the subject of the sentence to avoid confusion especially when there is more than one noun in the sentence.

 

Example #1:

Arriving at the airport, the airplane had already left. (X)

=> This means:  The airplane arrived at the airport, and the airplane had already left.

=> In this sentence:  “Arriving at the airport” is used to modify the noun “the airplane”, which is incorrect.

 

One way to tell if the participial phrase is dangling is to place the participial phrase right after the subject of the sentence.

=> The airplane, arriving at the airport, had already left.  (X)

=> It is easier to see from this sentence that the subject for “arriving at the airport” is not “the airplane”.  It is a person.

 

To make the correction, you must first understand who/what is the subject modified by the participial phrase.  In this case, it is a person who arrived at the airport, not an airplane.

 

Correction:

=> John, arriving at the airport, discovered that the airplane had already left.  (O)

= Arriving at the airport, John discovered that the airplane had already left.  (O)

 

Example #2:

Landing at the airport, police and rescue workers swarmed the hijacked airplane. (X)

=> This means:  The police and rescue workers landed at the airport arrived at the airport, and swarmed the hijacked airplane.

=> In this sentence:  “Landing at the airport” is used to modify the nouns “police and rescue workers”, which is incorrect.

 

Correction:

Landing at the airport, the hijacked airplane was swarmed by police and rescue workers. (O)

=> This means: The hijacked airplane landed at the airport, and police and rescue workers swarmed the hijacked airplane.

=> In this sentence:  “Landing at the airport” is used to modify the noun “the hijacked airplane”, which is accurate.

 

Example #3:

Marinated with sauce, I roasted the chicken. (X)

=> This means:  I was marinated with sauce, and roasted the chicken.

=> In this sentence:  “Marinated with sauce” is used to modify the pronoun “I”, which is incorrect.

 

Correction:

Marinated with sauce, the chicken was roasted (by me) (O)

=> This means: The chicken was marinated with sauce and roasted.

=> In this sentence:  “Marinated with sauce” is used to modify the noun “the chicken”, which is accurate.

 

Example #4:

The project was delayed, not knowing who to turn to. (X)

=> This means:  The project was delayed because the project did not know who to turn to.

=> In this sentence:  “not knowing who to turn to” is used to modify the noun “the project”, which is incorrect.

 

Correction:

I delayed the project, not knowing who to turn to. (O)

=> This means: I delayed the project because I did not know who to turn to

=> In this sentence:  “not knowing who to turn to” is used to modify the pronoun “I”, which is accurate.

 

Example #5:

John ran as fast as a leopard knocking down all the pedestrians along the way.  (X)

=> This sentence is confusing.  Who knocked down all the pedestrians along the way?  Did the leopard do that or did John do that?  

 

Correction:

Knocking down all the pedestrians along the way, John ran as fast as a leopard. (O)

= John, knocking down all the pedestrians along the way, ran as fast as a leopard. (O)

=> This means: John knocked down all the pedestrians along the way as he ran as fast as a lion. 

 

Example #6:

Investing diligently in the stock market, we do hope that Joanne can retire comfortably one day. (X)

=> This sentence is confusing.  Who invests diligently in the stock?  Did we or did Joanne?  This can mean:  We invested diligently in the stock market and we do hope that Joanne can retire comfortably one day.

 

Correction:

We do hope that Joanne, investing diligently in the stock market, can retire comfortably one day. (O)

=> This way, the participial phrase “investing diligently in the stock market” is used to modify “Joanne” instead of “we”.

 

Example #7:

While living in Paris, the days seemed to be flying by faster. 

=> This sentence is confusing.  The days do not live in Paris .

 

Correction:

While we lived in Paris , the days seemed to be flying by faster.

 

Example #8:

Not included in the meetings, it is hard for her to catch up.

=> This sentence is confusing.  Who was not included in the meeting? This sentence says that "it” was not included in the meetings.

 

Correction:

Because she is not included in the meetings, it is hard for her to catch up. 

=> The phrase is now a complete introductory clause; it does not modify any other part of the sentence, so it is not considered as "dangling."

 

 

Some expressions referring to the speakers' attitude, originally derived from participles, have become prepositions and may be used to introduce phrases not associated with the immediately adjacent noun phrase without getting into the issue of dangling participle, such as:

Concerning, considering, failing, granting, judging by, speaking of, generally speaking, judging from  

 

For example:

Granting what he has been through lately, it is surprising that he still shows up at the ball. (O)

 

You actually managed the project quite well, considering your inexperience. (O)

=> When we take into account of your inexperience, you actually managed the project quite well.

 

You should stop eating, concerning the weight you have gained lately. (O)

=> When we take into account of the amount of weight you have gained lately, we believe that you should stop eating.

 

The company should not hire any more illegal immigrants, considering the amount of bad publicity it has generated recently. (O)

=> When we take into account the amount of bad publicity the company has generated recently, we believe that it should not hire any more illegal immigrants.

 

Speaking of the economy, the current financial industry is in big crisis. (O)

=> As we speak of the economy, the current financial industry is in big crisis.

 

Judging by the result of the experiment, nobody can take home the award. (O)

=> When we look at the result of the experiment, nobody can take home the award.

 

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  • 美白牙齒很容易

  • 學英文的好地方ㄟ
    我得慢慢研究
    因為都沒有中文
  • Thanks for the compliment.  I am sorry that most of the contents of my articles were written in English.  The reasons are as follows: 
    1.  I do not have Chinese software
    2. My Chinese is not good.   I am afraid that I may mislead people by translating my articles into Chinese.

    elisaenglish 於 2009/02/15 16:29 回覆