Hello,
I am studying for the English Composition CLEP and there is a sentence in Barron's study guide with which I just do not understand the problem with the sentence.
What I am supposed to be looking for is an error in the sentence that has to do with dangling elements and misplaced modifiers.

Here it is:
After watching plane after plane land without seeing the one they waited for, they left the airport in complete disgust at being so badly fooled by airline schedules.
The answer to the practice question is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".
Please help! I don't understand what the problem with the sentence is. First of all, which "they" is the book talking about- the one after the comma or the one within the introductory phrase? Second of all, I understand that the following sentence is wrong:
"Walking along the beach, the sun rose above the mountains." Obviously, in this example the introductory participial phrase does not modify the sun because otherwise the sun would be walking along the beach, which is impossible, of course. However, in the example "they" are the ones watching the planes, so what's wrong? Anyway, hopefully you understand my question.

Thanks!
Nate.
1 2 3
Ok.
That's what I get for not proofreading my posting! I know my opening sentence is written very poorly! Please excuse my first sentence!

Thanks!
What I am supposed to be looking for is an error in the sentence that has to do with dangling ... fooled by airline schedules. The answer to the practice question is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".

This sentence has no problem; the participial phrase modifies the subject of the main clause. Someone was wrong to say that it had a problem. Or, check you material. You may have been asked to determind =whether= the sentence has a dangling-element error.
"Walking along the beach, the sun rose above the mountains." Obviously, in this example the introductory participial phrase does not modify the sun because otherwise the sun would be walking along the beach, which is impossible, of course.

It appears that you understand this concept correctly. Keep up the good work.

Steve
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
NATHANIEL COOK wrote on 07 Dec 2004:
Hello, I am studying for the English Composition CLEP and there is a sentence in Barron's study guide with which ... fooled by airline schedules. The answer to the practice question is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".

That's nonsense. The introductory phrase modifies "they" in "they left". It should read "they {had waited/had been waiting/were waiting} for" instead of "they waited for", though.
Please help! I don't understand what the problem with the sentence is.

It's a poorly constructed sentence to begin with.
First of all, which "they" is the book talking about- the one after the comma or the one within the introductory phrase?

It would have to be the one in "they left": the phrase "without seeing ... for" is part of the introductory participial phrase because it modifies that phrase.
Second of all, I understand that the following sentence is wrong: "Walking along the beach, the sun rose above the ... does not modify the sun because otherwise the sun would be walking along the beach, which is impossible, of course.

Yes, your understanding here is correct.
However, in the example "they" are the ones watching the planes, so what's wrong? Anyway, hopefully you understand my question.

"Anyway, hopefully, you ..."

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
After watching plane after plane land without seeing the one they waited for, they left the airport in complete disgust at being so badly fooled by airline schedules. The answer to the practice question is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".

It seems fine to me in that respect, but I'm not at all happy with "the one they waited for" it should be "the one they were waiting for". (It sounds to me like a common non-native speaker's error of putting a simple tense where a progressive tense is needed).

Roland Hutchinson              Will play viola da gamba for food.

NB mail to my.spamtrap (at) verizon.net is heavily filtered to remove spam.  If your message looks like spam I may not see it.
Thanks for all the comments. It makes me feel better to know that I was not misunderstanding the concept.
The Barron's CLEP study guide is pretty good I guess, but I emailed them to voice my displeasure with them because they have NO errata page on their website (http://www.barronseduc.com ) for this publication and therefore without your gracious help I wouldn't know what to do.

Thank you.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
The answer to the practice question is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".

This sentence has no problem; the participial phrase modifies the subject of the main clause. Someone was wrong to say that it had a problem. Or, check you material. You may have been asked to determind =whether= the sentence has a dangling-element error.

Double checked it - nope - the book is definitely saying that the sentence has a dangling element error and it even underlines the "After watching plane after plane land" part of the sentence to identify the error.

But thanks for setting them (and me) straight on the subject!

Nate
Hello, I am studying for the English Composition CLEP and there is a sentence in Barron's study guide with which ... fooled by airline schedules. The answer to the practice question is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".

The answer to the practice question is correct. The introductory phrase is an adverbial modifier; it modifies the verb "left", not the subject "they". The adverbial modifier tells "when" they left the airport.
Please help! I don't understand what the problem with the sentence is. First of all, which "they" is the book ... the example "they" are the ones watching the planes, so what's wrong? Anyway, hopefully you understand my question. Thanks! Nate.

Mary Ng
Mary Ng wrote on 07 Dec 2004:
I am studying for the English Composition CLEP and there ... is that the introductory participial phrase does not modify "they".

The answer to the practice question is correct. The introductory phrase is an adverbial modifier; it modifies the verb "left", not the subject "they". The adverbial modifier tells "when" they left the airport.

So you are saying that "After watching 15 planes land, they left" is grammatically incorect because the introductory clause does not modify "they" but "left"? If so, then you must think that "After watching 15 planes land, left they" is better English.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more