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Hi,


I found an interesting post related to "dangling modifiers" while searching the net.


http://arnoldzwicky.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-context-of-danglers/


So the author is basically saying that dangling modifiers can be context-dependent things, right?


Driving along, the house appeared.


This sentence alone wouldn't make much sense since it's not the house that does the driving. But with proper context, the sentence becomes much more acceptable, even though you still have to find the subject of the main clause somewhere else.


We got in the car and started off. Driving along, the house appeared on the left after a few minutes.


In essence, it's not wrong to construct a sentence where the understood subject of dangling participles can be found by guesswork from the context. What do you think?



Comments  
jooneyIn essence, it's not wrong to construct a sentence where the understood subject of dangling participles can be found by guesswork from the context. What do you think?
That would be the more charitable view. For purposes of English class it's best not to use any dangling modifiers at all even if context and some guesswork allows you to arrive at the correct interpretation.
CJ
Thank you for the reply, CJ.

So you are saying that a dangling modifier should be avoided when there is no match between the implicit subject of a dangling modifier and the subject of a main clause? Or you don't recommend using dangling modifiers at all in any case?
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I think you may have some misunderstanding about the word "dangling". It means "mistakenly placed" in this context, so by definition, dangling modifiers are mistakes, errors. In other words, when there is no match between the implicit subject of an introductory participial clause and the subject of the main clause, it is a dangling modifier, and an error. This sort of mismatch is exactly what a dangling modifier is. The text you quoted earlier is saying that these mistakes do not impede our understanding of the sentence as much or as often as is sometimes claimed, but I'm saying that we need to avoid them anyway.

CJ
As it turned out, I wrongly understood the meaning of a "dangling modifier".Emotion: sad

Thank you for the help once again.Emotion: smile