Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers Exercise (160)

A participle phrase is said to be "dangling" when the noun it is intended to modify is missing from the sentence. Similarly a modifier is said to be "misplaced" when it is separated from the word it modifies.

Choose the sentences that do not contain these errors.

    1.
    Working on research in the library, the construction workers made a terrific racket outside the window.
    Working on research in the library, I heard the construction workers making a terrific racket outside the window.

    2.
    The Senator made some insinuating comments rising from his desk about colleagues from another political party.
    Rising from his desk, the Senator made some insinuating comments about colleagues from another political party.

    3.
    Driving across the Serengeti, we saw groups of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra grazing near the vehicle.
    Driving across the Serengeti, there were groups of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra grazing near our vehicle.

    4.
    Louise was wearing a lovely cape around her shoulders, which she’d bought in Peru.
    Around her shoulders Louise was wearing a lovely cape, which she’d bought in Peru.

    5.
    The murder victim was found by his dearest friend lying on the kitchen floor.
    The murder victim’s dearest friend found him lying on the kitchen floor.

Answers and Explanations

1. Working on research in the library, I heard the construction workers making a terrific racket outside the window.
The correct version places I next to the participle phrase to identify the researcher.

2. Rising from his desk, the Senator made some insinuating comments about colleagues from another political party.
The participle phrase, rising from his desk, is misplaced in the incorrect sentence. It needs to be next to the noun, Senator, which it modifies.

3. Driving across the Serengeti, we saw groups of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra grazing near the vehicle.
The incorrect sentence is missing a logical word for Driving across the Serengeti to modify. Surely the animals are not Driving across the Serengeti because they are busy grazing near the vehicle.

4. Around her shoulders Louise was wearing a lovely cape, which she’d bought in Peru.
In the incorrect sentence the phrase, around her shoulders, is misplaced. It would also be grammatically correct to place the phrase after Louise was wearing, but it would sound awkward.

5. The murder victim’s dearest friend found him lying on the kitchen floor.
Who’s lying on the kitchen floor? In the incorrect version the dearest friend appears to make his discovery while lying on the kitchen floor.

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