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					Avoiding Dangling Participles

       Prepared for classroom use by
ASU English Education student Jason McKenzie
                                               1
                 Introduction
What’s a Participle?
In a participial phrase, a verb is changed
into a verbal by adding –ing, or an –en (or
equivalent) ending. The verbal then acts
as an adjective to describe the subject of
the sentence, e. g.
   Walking home from school today, I
   saw a man with his dog.
In this example, walking and all the
modifiers that come with it form the
participial phrase, which describes I.        2
 Introductory participial phrases
  should describe the subject of
  the sentence.
 Just like a normal adjective,
  participial phrases should
  describe the closest noun or
  pronoun in the sentence.
                                     3
-ing Phrases:
Present Participial (functioning as a modifier)
Gerund Phrases (functioning as noun replacements)

 A present participial phrase or a gerund
  phrase is a verbal with an –ing ending. For
  example:
 Being in the Olympics for the first time, the
  athlete was nervous.
 Running around the track tired me out.
 Leaving my breakfast on the table I rushed
  out to catch the bus.

                                                    4
Past Participial Phrases


 A past participial phrase has a verb
  ending in –en or –ed or their
  equivalents. for example:
 Voted off the island, Mary left the
  show.
 Pushed from the table, the plate
  shattered.
 Left behind, the little girl screamed.

                                           5
    So, What’s a dangling participle?

 A dangling participle does not describe the
  subject of the sentence. For example:
 DANGLING: Thrown into the air, the dog
  chased after the stick.
 CORRECT: Thrown into the air, the stick flew
  away from the dog.
 As the first sentence is written, it says that
  the dog, not the stick, was thrown into the
  air. Since the phrase does not describe the
  subject it is a dangling participial phrase.

                                                   6
              More Examples

 DANGLING: Driving home in the storm, a
  branch nearly fell on my car.
 CORRECT: Driving home in the storm, I
  watched as a branch nearly fell on my car.
 DANGLING: Watching the play, the actors
  enthralled the audience.
 CORRECT: Watching the play, the audience
  was enthralled by the actors.

                                               7
             A Helpful Hint

 When you use a present participle, the
  subject of the sentence should be
  doing the action described in the
  participial phrase.
 When you write a past participle, the
  subject of the sentence should receive
  the action of the participle.


                                       8
FIND THE PARTICIPIAL PHRASES IN THESE
CORRECT SENTENCES.

 Flying from flower to flower, the bee made its
  way through the field.
 Shown in theatres everywhere, the movie set
  a new box office record.
 Painting a picture, the artist lost track of
  time.
 Left home alone by his parents, Johnny
  stayed up later than usual.

                                                 9
 FIGURE OUT HOW TO CORRECT THESE
 SENTENCES WITH DANGLING PARTICIPIAL
 PHRASES
 Surrounded by Secret Service, the crowd
  could barely see the President.
 Walking along the beach, the waves crashed
  at my feet.
 Catching the ball, the last out caused a
  celebration.
 Dropped from the table, the chair stopped
  the fork from hitting the floor.

                                              10
                 PRACTICE

 Now try creating a sentence of your own that
  uses a present participial phrase.




 Now try creating a sentence of your own that
  uses a past participial phrase.




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posted:8/10/2011
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