Hanging, Dangling or Unattached Participles
© Laraine Anne Barker
Dangling participles, which often start with the gerund (a verb ending in -ing) occur where the first part of the sentence and the clause that follows don't belong together, and therefore don't make sense.
Driving through Taranaki, Mt Egmont dominates the landscape.
Mt Egmont (now more usually called Mt Taranaki) definitely DOES dominate the landscape of Taranaki; but it most certainly can't drive!
Crossing the room, her foot bled all over the carpet.
Ever seen a foot cross the room all on its own?
Driving home in yesterday's storm, a tree fell on the back of my car.
Once again, we have a distinctly strange driver at the wheel.
The above examples all use present participles, but you need to beware of dangling past participles too:
If properly installed, you shouldn't be able to open the door without first pressing the safety button.
If the (whatever item is actually being installed) is properly installed, you shouldn't be able to open the door without first pressing the safety button.
In evening clothes and with her hair specially styled, Mark always thought his mother as glamorous as a film-star.
It pains me to admit it, but this example came from my own writing and it was many months before I noticed it and rewrote it to read:
"In evening clothes and with her hair specially styled, his mother had always seemed to Mark as glamorous as a film-star."
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