"I did not mention the dangling modifier
," she said.
They weed out the unnecessary article, they give a boring story more than a bit of oomph, and, no matter how bad their eyesight is, they can spot that dangling modifier
a mile away.
A dangling modifier
is usually a phrase at the beginning of the sentence that does not truly modify the noun or pronoun that follows it.
Following that he strikes out a dangling modifier
, a metaphor for his own psychological impotence and direct contrast to his physical need.
For example the book's very first page contains this awkward sentence: "As a child of eight in the third grade my teacher had an interest in Paleontology." This dangling modifier
gives readers the impression that when his teacher was eight years old she had an interest in Paleontology.
"Herman said he was discharged after four years in the Marine Corps last August." Maybe a month in the Marine Corps can seem like four years, but in English, this is known as a dangling modifier
. To make sense, "last August" should be placed after "discharged": He was discharged last August after four years in the Marine Corps.
Other questions about terminology, though, revealed tutors were not comfortable with a vital concept: the dangling modifier
. They asked, "Please give a definition of 'dangling" in grammatical nomenclature." and "What is the correct way to use a dangling modifier
, or should you even use one at all?" Ninety percent of students applying to work in the lab miss this example of dangling modifier
appearing on their interview test: "While flying to Honolulu, an idea occurred to her." So they could discover the illogical element in "While flying to Honolulu," consultants needed some practice analyzing syntax.
At times the text would have benefitted, too, from closer proofreading; the first essay, for example, is marred by at least eight typographical errors while another has three subject-verb errors and a dangling modifier
. A bibliography of works by and about Still would also have been a helpful addition to this volume and to future research on the author.
You don't need to know the term "dangling modifier
" to learn about phrases that are "in the wrong place at the wrong time," describing "the wrong thing" (p.160).
Mistakes can happen, so we lose a point for every typo or dangling modifier
you catch each month.
Representative lapses include excessive repetition (on page 73 we are introduced to "soprano Elsie Houston" twice in the same paragraph), confused organization (on page 40 we read that "Dyagilev returned to Rio de Janeiro" and on page 92 we are introduced to "the Russian impresario Sergey Pavlovich Dyagilev"), awkward sentence structure (a dangling modifier
glares at the reader on page 39), and other problems.
Every piece of the earth had a dangling modifier
, attaching it to a profound bed in my memory and calling upon my folly, as if it were mastering my ignorance.