Coming here today was so stressful, knowing that I would meet the person who took my son's life.

Dangling modifier in bold, is it not? (even though it sounds fine spoken)

I know this one works, with I as the subject, but I'm unsure if it works with 'me.'

a) I was so stressed about coming here today, knowing that I would meet the person who took my son's life.

b) Coming here today was so stressful for me, knowing that I would meet the person who took my son's life.

Does this one work?

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You're right. Only a) escapes the "dangling modifier" problem. (It must modify the subject of the main clause, whether it begins the sentence or not.)

I have a problem with "so," by the way. I don't think it works as a substitute for "very" in formal English, because we're looking for the "that" clause.
Thanks, Avangi

I'm thinking b also works. Do you totally object to that?

Here is another sentence showing that the ing clause in b modifies the closes noun, not the subject:

I saw the man walking to the car.

Here 'walking to the car' is an ing clause modifying 'man.' It can be seen as a reduced adjective clause (who was walking/who walked)
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I take it as a matter of definition. As you say in your original post, some of these read well and are not truly ambiguous.
So are we to create two categories: (1) dangling participles (or modifiers) which are ambiguous, and (2) ones which are not? We could play that game.

I think when you originally asked if these were dangling modifiers, you knew the answer.

Just for fun, look at the sentence I just wrote. Can we say "if these are dangling modifiers?"
In the light of your two threads on tense agreement in the subjunctive, it occurs to me that there have been many threads on tense agreement which don't raise the issue of the subjunctive, whether or not it may be involved.
One of the many useful things I've learned from CJ is that "it's never incorrect to backshift." That is, a tense early in the sentence may be changed from present to past to agree with one later in the sentence.
Granted, this may not always give you the exact inflection you want in terms of meaning, but it might help you to pass the test. Emotion: big smile - A.
Wow! I just tried to delete this sucker and start over, but it wouldn't let me! I really messed it up! I'm fighting a wicked sore throat and head cold, and I think the pills have addled my brain. I guess my errors are obvious. Emotion: embarrassed
Re "I saw the man walking to the car," I consider it ambiguous, as it can be adverbial or adjectival. It can tell us which man, as you suggest, or it can tell us what you saw him doing. You could of course add context which would pin it down.
But it clearly doesn't modify the subject "I"!
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AvangiRe "I saw the man walking to the car," I consider it ambiguous
So do I, Avangi.Emotion: beer There is a lot of ambiguity in English because there are sofew inflections and similar devices to express things in an exact way. That's why word order is very important but even it isn't always enough to guarantee lucidity and exactness. The above sentence is a good example of that.

As for "dangling participles", in English certain phrses, idioms and expressions are generally regarded as correct if they have been used long enough. I have mentioned having said that before, but I'll mention it again. In very rare cases is the subject of this phrase the same as the subject of the main clause. Sports commentators, for example, often say things like this:

"His backhand is one of his strengths, and has been since he began playing tennis. Having said that, he just backhanded the ball into the net."

The commentator doesn't mean that the tennis player just said that. According to what is generally considered correct in English grammar, the sentence is incorrect. However, it is so common that it has become accepted usage and nobody cares if it's ungrammatical. In English, things don't always have to be grammatical to be idiomatic, they just have to soundgood!Emotion: smile

Similar examples in which the subject of the participle is the same as that of the main clause:

Having switched off the light, he went to bed.
= He switched off the light and he went to bed.

Not having understood the gist of the article, I read it again.
= I had not understood the article and I read it again.

Hi guys,

I heard that it was possible to put a personal pronoun in the -ing clause to make such sentences grammatical (or more grammatical). I don't know if it sounds idiomatic though.

Going to NY, the scenery was changing.
Me going to NY, the scenery was changing.

Does that sound OK?

MichalSDoes that sound OK?
No, I'm afraid it doesn't. Eevn though English is flexible, it isn't thatflexible!Emotion: smile I think you have been confused by the subject of thegerund, which in informal style is often me. Formal style prefers my: He wasn't interested in me/my going to NY.

It is possible that a participle has its own subject in sentences similar to what we have been discussing in this thread, though. Here's one:

Weather permitting, we'll go fishing tomorrow.
= If the weather permits, we'll go fishing tomorrow.

English is a language of fixed phrases and idioms, and heaven only knows why the article (the) must be omitted in the clause equivalent. The weather permitting, we'll go fishing tomorrow is wrong!

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