What Is a Dangling Modifier?

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A dangling modifier is a modifier that is not immediately followed by the subject of what is being modified. Rearrange a sentence to correct a dangling modifier with help from a writer and English tutor in this free video on grammar and punctuation.

Part of the Video Series: Grammar & Punctuation
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm here to explain, what a Dangling Modifier is. A modifier is a word or a phrase that describes another word in a sentence. So for example, Whispering loudly. The girls annoyed everyone else in the theater. Whispering loudly is the modifier here and it describes the girls. When you begin a sentence with a modifier like that. Your reader is going to expect the subject of the next clause to be the actor. To be the things that's being modified. And if that's not the case. Then you have a Dangling Modifier. So here, as they fell to the floor. The children watched the dishes shatter. What's going on in this sentence, should be that the dishes are falling to the floor. And shattering. But because children is the first subject that comes after this modifier. It seems to apply to them. There are a couple ways to fix this in this sentence. You can add the correct subject that's being modified. Into that first phrase here. As the dishes fell to the floor, the children watched them shatter. You can also just move things around within the clause that follows the modifier. Just say, As they fell to the floor. The dishes shattered, while the children watched.


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