Dang, Girl, your participle is dangling…


Oct 10, 2016 In the Grammar Tree 0 Comments

I find it incredibly satisfying to correct a dangling participle because they are just so obvious.  Now remember a participle is an adjective born of a verb.  Usually they end in “ed” or “ing.” His goose is cooked.  Cooked is the past participle, a kind of adjective.  Someone “cooked” (verb) his goose.  So now the goose is “cooked.”  See… adjective.  Often times participles anchor phrases that describe nouns in sentences. ” Singing very loudly, I attracted the stares of onlookers.”  “Singing” is an adjective derived from the verb.  It now describes ME, and it lives inside the phrase “singing very loudly.”  The whole phrase describes me. This all seems pretty simple, but it’s very common for people to misplace the participle phrase so that it’s modifying the wrong noun– often times creating nonsensical sentences.  The trick is to place your participle or participle phrase as close to the noun that it is modifying as possible.   Otherwise, you get all kinds of funny scenarios. “Jumping for joy, the acceptance letter had finally reached the hands of the helicopter mom.” “Pulling her hair out and turning beat read, the report card really upset the helicopter mom.”  Or “Neatly listing a long line of A’s, the helicopter mom beamed at the report card.”  Dangling participles might make admissions reps smile, but they might also signal your lack of attention to detail!

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