Time for another writing tip from Daryl L.L. Houston – dangling modifiers!  I’m often guilty of this and have to monitor myself constantly.  Houston is right, the results have been hilarious.

The Daily Post

A dangling modifier is a grammatical construction in which a modifying word or phrase is placed at too great a distance from the word or phrase it aims to modify, resulting in a lack of clarity or, in some cases, hilarity. An example from the Wikipedia article:

Walking down the street, the trees were beautiful.

The “walking down the street” here is intended to modify (or describe) the person who is expressing the opinion that the trees were beautiful, but since that person makes no appearance within the sentence, the grammar of the sentence is such that the phrase applies to the trees. And we all know that outside of certain fantasy fiction, trees do not walk.

To clarify this sentence, we might rewrite it as follows:

Walking down the street, I thought the trees were beautiful.

Here we’ve added the subject “I” right next to the modifier “walking down…

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