Need-to-know Grammar: The Dangling Participle

May 7, 2006

Both the SAT and the ACT will test your ability to identify and correct a dangling participle, which is a participial phrase that does not clearly modify a word in a sentence.

Reading the question carefully, it was obvious that there was a grammatical error.

When you encounter a participial phrase ("Reading the question carefully"), ask yourself, "Who is doing the action?" and then find the subject in the sentence. If the subject is doing the action, the sentence is correct. If not, you must correct the dangling participle.

In the example, the subject is "it." "It" was not reading – a person has to do the reading.

Reading the question carefully, she spotted the obvious grammatical error.

Here, we see that "she" is the subject. Who was reading? She was reading. The dangling participle has been corrected.

Fortified by hours of studying, the test was a breeze.

Who was fortified? The subject is "test" – was the test fortified? No.

Fortified by hours of studying, he found that the test was a breeze.

"He" was fortified. This sentence is correct.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: