Teachers secretly love dangling modifiers (a type of misused modifiers) because they sometimes create ridiculous sentences:
- Wearing a blue backpack, a green field is where Chopper danced.
Here’s why it’s wrong: according to the sentence, the thing that is “wearing a backpack” is a green field. That makes no sense: a field—even a green one—cannot wear anything.
There is an easy way to fix it:
- Wearing a blue backpack, Chopper danced on a green field.
According to the new sentence, the thing that is “wearing a blue backpack” is now Chopper, which makes sense.
Here’s another example:
- Feeling extremely hungry, hot ramen was desired by Naruto.
Here’s why it’s wrong: according to the sentence, the thing that is “feeling extremely hungry” is hot ramen. That makes no sense: hot ramen cannot feel hunger.
Here are two (of many) ways to fix it:
- Feeling extremely hungry, Naruto desired hot ramen.
- Because Naruto felt extremely hungry, he desired hot ramen.
See if you can tell which of the following sentences have dangling modifiers:
1. Looking forward to the weekend, many plans were made by Peter.
2. Stretching from ear to ear, we saw a big smile on Henry’s face.
3. To beat the best, you must be the best.
4. Running quickly, Nan caught up with the other racers.
5. When upset, ice cream is the first thing Peter looks for.
6. After receiving a big bonus, a new TV was purchased by Henry.
7. Devastated by her team's defeat, Nan’s tears flowed freely.
ANSWERS: 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7 all had dangling modifiers.