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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).

Example:

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.)

Example:

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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