A weekly grammar tip created by Student Success Center Peer Writing Tutors.
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
Dangling Modifier Chronicles
Part II: Ways to Correct Dangling Modifiers
Previously on the
Dangling Modifier Chronicles…
We learned that a dangling modifier is a word or
phrase that does not clearly modify another word or
word group in sentences.
We also reviewed that a participle, a verb that may
function as part of a verb phrase or as a modifier,
is one clue for spotting a dangling modifier.
Usually dangling modifiers occur when this verb acts
as an adjective but does not refer logically to the
subject of the sentence.
Ex. Carrying the groceries to the car, my feet went
right into the mud puddle. (Incorrect.)
In this exciting episode, we will
discover one way to revise these confusing dangling
So, we know now about those confusing phrases we
call dangling modifiers and how to identify them.
But how on earth do you correct them?
One way to do this is by changing the phrase that
contains the dangling modifier into an introductory
clause by naming the doer of the action in that
clause. Keep in mind that the verb tense may
need to be changed.
Let’s try some examples.
Ex. After reading all afternoon, Hallie’s muscles
ached because of the inactivity. (Incorrect.)
We know the subject “Hallie’s muscles” does not make
sense with “after reading all afternoon.” Hallie’s
muscles read all afternoon?
Let’s add Hallie into the dangling phrase.
Ex. After Hallie read all afternoon, her muscles ached
because of the inactivity.
Ex. Maintaining a daily exercise program, my weight
seemed to decrease faster than usual. (Incorrect.)
We know the subject “my weight” does not make sense
with “maintaining a daily exercise program.” My
weight maintains a daily exercise program?
Let’s add the actor of the sentence into the
Ex. While I maintained a daily exercise program, my
weight seemed to decease faster than usual.
Stay tuned for the final episode of
the Dangling Modifier Chronicles next week when
we'll discuss another strategy for eliminating
is a peer writing tutor at the University of
Houston-Victoria and an education major. She began working
in the Student Success Center in spring 2008 and is CRLA certified
at level three. She enjoys spending time with her friends,
family, and her silly miniature schnauzer Dixie.
Dangling Modifiers (2004). Purdue University Online
Writing Lab. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
Glenn, C. & Gray, L. Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook (16th Ed.)
In the following
sentences, correct the dangling modifiers.
- While eating
lunch, the telephone rang.
- When only a
small boy, my father took me to a baseball game.
- Upon leaving the
store, the door locked.
- While he was
eating lunch, the telephone rang.
- When I was only
a small boy, my father took me to a baseball
- When Frank left
the store, the door locked itself.