Dangling-Modifiers---Charla-Johnson by wanghonghx

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 16

									Don’t Let Your Participles Dangle in
   Public...a lesson in misplaced
                     modifiers




  Charla Johnson
  EDCI 6600
  Dr. J. Romanchuk
Read the statements below…
 Decked out in a stunning vintage Versace
  gown, the man couldn't take his eyes off
  his Academy Awards date.
 After our conversation lessons, we could
  understand the Spanish spoken by our
  visitors from Madrid easily.
 Defining your terms clearly strengthens
  your argument.
                                Yes…No..
  Do all of these statements    Maybe…
         make sense?             I’m not
                                 sure…
Dangling Modifiers
 Re-read this
  statement:
Decked out in a
  stunning vintage
  Versace gown, the
  man couldn't take
  his eyes off his
  Academy Awards
  date.
 Who’s “decked out in
  a stunning vintage
  gown”?
                                                       A modifier
                                                       describes, clarifies,
                                                       or gives more
Dangling Modifiers                                     detail about a
                                                       concept.
   A dangling modifier is usually a phrase or elliptical clause that does not
    modify any specific word in a sentence or (worse) modifies the wrong
    word. Consider this sentence:

    Having finished the assignment, Jill turned on the TV.

   "Having finished" states an action but does not name the doer of that
    action. In English sentences, the doer must be the subject of the main
    clause that follows. In this sentence, Jill is the subject. She seems
    logically to be the one doing the action ("having finished"), and this
    sentence therefore does not have a dangling modifier.
   Now consider this sentence:

    Having finished the assignment, the TV was turned on.

   Having finished is a participle expressing action, but the doer is not the
    TV set (the subject of the main clause): TV sets don't finish assignments.
    Since the doer of the action expressed in the participle has not been
    clearly stated, the participial phrase is said to be a dangling modifier.
Dangling Modifiers
 Now back to our stunning vintage Versace gown…

Decked out in a stunning vintage Versace gown, the man
   couldn't take his eyes off his Academy Awards date.

 How would you revise this to eliminate the dangling
  participle and clarify meaning?

The man couldn’t take his eyes off his Academy Awards date
   because she was decked out in a stunning vintage
   Versace gown.
Strategies to Revise Dangling
Modifiers
Name the appropriate or logical doer of
  the action as the subject of the main
  clause
 Having arrived late for practice, a written
  excuse was needed.
 To revise, decide who actually arrived late.
 possible revision: Having arrived late for
  practice, the team captain needed a written
  excuse.
 The main clause now names the person
  (the captain) who did the action in the
  modifying phrase (arrived late).
Strategies to Revise Dangling
Modifiers
Change the phrase that dangles into a complete
   introductory clause by naming the doer of the
   action in that clause:
Without knowing his name, it was difficult to introduce
   him.
This sentence says that "it“ didn't know his name. To
   revise, decide who was trying to introduce him.
Possible Revision:
Because Maria did not know his name, it was difficult to
   introduce him.
The phrase is now a complete introductory clause; it does
   not modify any other part of the sentence, so is not
   considered "dangling."
Strategies to Revise Dangling
Modifiers
 Combine the phrase and main clause
   into one.
To improve his results, the experiment was
   done again.
This sentence says that the experiment was
   trying to improve its own results. To revise,
   combine the phrase and the main clause
   into one sentence.
Possible Revision:
He improved his results by doing the
   experiment again.
Misplaced Modifiers
 Take a look at another statement:

After our conversation lessons, we could
  understand the Spanish spoken by our
  visitors from Madrid easily.
 Do we understand the Spanish easily,
  or do the visitors speak it easily? We
  can eliminate some of this confusion.
 Misplaced Modifiers
 You have a certain amount of freedom in
  deciding where to place your modifiers in a
  sentence:
          We rowed the boat vigorously.
          We vigorously rowed the boat.
          Vigorously, we rowed the boat.

 However, you must be careful to avoid
  misplaced modifiers -- modifiers that are
  positioned so that they appear to modify
  the wrong thing.
Misplaced Modifiers
 In general, you should place single-word
  modifiers near the word or words they modify,
  especially when a reader might think that they
  modify something different in the sentence. Consider
  the following sentence:
 [CONFUSING] After our conversation lessons, we
  could understand the Spanish spoken by our visitors
  from Madrid easily.
 Do we understand the Spanish easily, or do the
  visitors speak it easily? This revision eliminates the
  confusion:
 [REVISED] We could easily understand the Spanish
  spoken by our visitors from Madrid.
           Pay
        Attention!
Misplaced Modifiers
It is particularly important to be careful about where you
    put limiting modifiers. These are words like "almost,"
    "hardly," "nearly," "just," "only," "merely," and so on. Many
    writers regularly misplace these modifiers. You can
    accidentally change the entire meaning of a sentence if you
    place these modifiers next to the wrong word:

   [CONFUSING] Randy has nearly annoyed every professor
    he has had. (he hasn't "nearly annoyed" them)
   [REVISED] Randy has annoyed nearly every professor he
    has had.

   [CONFUSING] We almost ate all of the Thanksgiving
    turkey. (we didn't "almost eat" it)
   [REVISED] We ate almost all of the Thanksgiving turkey.
Squinting Modifiers
 So, we know how to avoid dangling and
  misplacing our modifiers. What about
  preventing squinting? That’s right.
  Squinting is not just for eyes in this new
  millennium.
 Read this statement:
  Defining your terms clearly strengthens your
  argument.

        Everything
      looks clear to
           me.
           I can see
         clearly now…


  Squinting Modifiers
 A squinting modifier is an ambiguously placed modifier
  that can modify either the word before it or the word
  after it. In other words, it is "squinting" in both directions
  at the same time.
 These problems can usually be solved by rearranging the
  elements already present in the sentence.
 [CONFUSING] Defining your terms clearly
  strengthens your argument.

 Does defining "clearly strengthen" or does "defining
  clearly" strengthen?

 [REVISED] Defining your terms will clearly
   strengthen your argument.
                           OR
A clear definition of your terms strengthens your
   argument.
Quick Re-Cap
 You have freedom with the placement of
  modifiers, but you should be careful.
  Treating them improperly could lead to
  misunderstanding and overall confusion.
  Remember to check for dangling,
  misplaced, or squinting modifiers when you
  revise.
 Do not misplace them.
 Do not let them squint.
 Do not dangle your participles in
  public.
References
 http://www.arts.uottawa.ca/writcent
  /hypergrammar/msplmod.html
 Purdue University Online Writing Lab
 Big Dog’s Grammar: Misplaced
  Modifiers

								
To top