What the Heck is a Dangling Modifier?

What is a dangling modifier?
The term dangling modifier refers to a word or phrase, usually at the start of a sentence, that does
not connect properly to the rest of the sentence. Dangling modifiers are easy to miss. In fact, they
surface from time to time in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. In other words, even
experienced editors sometimes miss them. But once you know how to spot dangling modifiers, they
are reasonably easy to fix.
How to undangle dangling modifiers
The best way to learn how to undangle a dangling modifier is to work through some examples:

Tempted by the three witches’ prophecy, Macbeth’s moral scruples give way to his ambition.
The problem with this sentence is that Macbeth’s scruples are not tempted by the prophecy;
Macbeth is tempted. Observe that the opening modifier implicitly raises this question of who or
what is tempted. The noun or noun phrase that immediately follows must supply the answer. To fix
the problem here, we can choose a noun or phrase that does answer the question of who:

Tempted by the three witches’ prophecy, Macbeth allows his moral scruples to give way to his ambition.

Another solution . . .  See More



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