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Dangling Modifiers

Using Dangling Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers   

Play the quick video lesson HERE and click the upper left back arrow to return to this lesson.   

Common Core Language Standard 1

Dangling modifiers provide quite a bit of humor for your English-language arts teachers. They are also favorite sources of humor for many cartoonists. Cartoonists find much of their humor in word play. The way they use language makes a joke or punchline funny or not. To understand the humor in a dangling modifier, you have to be able to recognize and explain one when you see it. Now, not every dangling modifier is laugh-out-loud funny, but each of them creates misunderstanding for the reader.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on dangling modifiers. Remember that an adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and answers Which one? How many? or What kind? An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb and answers What degree? How? Where? or When? A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that serves as an adjective or adverb to describe, limit, or add to another word, phrase, or clause.

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

A dangling modifier is an adjective or adverb that does not have a clear connection to the word, phrase, or clause to which it refers. A dangling modifier usually takes the form of a present participle (“__ing”), a past participle (“__d,” “__t,” “__ed,” “__ en”), or an infinitive (to + the base form of a verb). To eliminate the dangling modifier, place the doer of the sentence as the subject of the independent clause or combine the phrase and independent clause. Example: Fired from your job, your car became your home. (Your car was not fired; you were.)

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: Having finished her homework, she turned on the television.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers:

Having finished her homework, she turned on the television.


She turned on the television show after finishing her homework.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write two of your own sentences: the first with a dangling modifier and the second with that modifier placed properly within the sentence.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary   Grades 4‒8 programs.


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