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Dangling Modifier - Glossary of Terms

Dangling Modifier

A dangling modifier is an error caused by not placing the noun being modified next to its modifier (or failing to use the noun being modified in the sentence).


Having seen Blackpool Tower, the Eiffel Tower is more impressive.
            modifier                            the noun being modified 

The example above intimates that the Eiffel Tower has seen the Blackpool Tower.  A correct version would be:
Having seen Blackpool Tower, I am more impressed with the Eiffel Tower.

This version is correct, because "I" is logically attached to "Having seen Blackpool Tower".  (Note: "I" is a pronoun: a type of noun.)


Being born in Dawlish, it is understandable that I miss the sea so much. 
            modifier             pronoun being modified

In this example, "it" was not born in Dawlish.  Better versions would be:

Being born in Dawlish, I understand why I miss the sea so much.
As I was born in Dawlish, it is understandable why I miss the sea so much.
("As I was born in Dawlish" is not a modifier.)

Interactive example:
Having read your letter, my cat will stay in until the birds fly off. [show me the dangling modifier]
Associated pages:
Glossary of grammatical terms  

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