Abi’s Complaint

“I can’t stand when people use dangling modifiers in their conversations,” Abi complained to Mats. It was a Sunday afternoon and she and Mats were spending it together at his mansion. Ever since her first visit which was about a couple of months ago, she had been coming here practically every weekend.

He stared blankly at her? “I beg your pardon?”

“Today, on my way over here, I have heard several people talking in dangling modifiers.”

“Care to explain what you mean?”

“Tell me what you think is wrong with this sentence. Stuck standing in line, the elevator was keeping people from getting to the party.”

“It sounds like the elevator was stuck standing in line.”

“Exactly! It makes more sense to say, stuck standing in line for the elevator, people were getting impatient to get to the party. Here’s another example. Having arrived late for practice, a written excuse was needed.”

“Who arrived late for practice?”

“That’s the problem. It’s not clear if it was the speaker who arrived late or someone else.”

“Just recently, I heard a woman say, entering the room, the lamp fell over. Is that a dangling modifier?”

“Yes. It sounds like the lamp entered the room and fell over. And we all know that’s not possible.”

He smiled. “How about this one? Always glad to see her.”

She stared at him. “That’s another example. Who’s always glad to see her?”

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“Let me say it the correct way. He is always glad to see her.”

“That’s much better.”

“The he is me and the her is you. I’m always glad to see you, Abi.”

She smiled. “Really?”

“Yes and now that you’re here, why don’t we go for a walk in the garden?”

“Sure. It’s a beautiful day. And you’ve always been promising to give me a tour of the grounds.”

“I will give you a tour of the garden, the grounds and then, we’ll have lunch on the patio afterwards.”

“That sounds very good to me.”

Mats preceded her out of the drawing-room. Perhaps when they were walking in the garden he would muster up the courage to ask her to go steady with him.

Source: Your Dictionary; Public Works and Government Services Canada;

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