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Okay, grammar experts - what do you call the grammar error that results in sentences like these:

"Racing to catch the bus, his papers spilled all over the street."

"Curled up in a furry ball and snoring loudly, she finally found her cat beneath the blanket."

"Cantankerous as only an elderly deaf widow can be, Bob nontheless visited his grandmother every week."

I just quit listening to an audio book after one too many of these (not these particular ones; they are my own invention), but I can't remember what they are called. Misplaced modifiers? Perpendicular predicates? Adverse appositives? Please help me here, so when I want to complain about someone's writing I can do it intelligently! Many thanks.
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Hi Khoff,

I'm no expert, but I think this is a dangling modifier.
My Hacker book calls those "ambiguous references".
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Hi Khoff,

I am not a grammar expert. I believe these sentences are examples for 'misplaced modifier'.
Thanks, everybody. I guess "misplaced modifier" is what I was trying to think of.
Back in the old days, we used to call them "dangling participles".
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Thanks, Jim -- I wasn't sure if dangling participles and misplaced modifiers (now where did I leave those modifiers?) were the same, but I guess the categories overlap. (I suppose there could be misplaced modifiers that are not actually participles.)

"Dangling participle" does have a variety of interesting connotations. (I can't wait to see the illustration Davkett comes up with!) Here's one of the less suggestive possibilities:

May 16, 2005. The Dangling Participles ...
itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/ languagelog/archives/002163.html
Definitely danglers.

MrP
Perhaps I can help with the illustration this time:
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