Dangling Modifiers


What is a Dangling Modifier?

A dangling modifier is a grammatical error that occurs when a word or phrase modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. This can lead to confusion for the reader as the modifier is left “dangling,” without a clear target.

Examples of Dangling Modifiers

Walking to the park, the ice cream tasted delicious.
In this sentence, the modifier “Walking to the park” is dangling because it’s unclear who or what was walking.

After studying hard, the test was easy.
Here, the modifier “After studying hard” doesn’t have a clear subject to modify.

How to Correct Dangling Modifiers

To correct a dangling modifier, ensure that the subject being modified is clearly stated in the sentence. For example, you could rewrite the first sentence as:
Walking to the park, she thought the ice cream tasted delicious.

Why Dangling Modifiers Matter

Dangling modifiers can change the intended meaning of a sentence, leading to miscommunication and confusion. By understanding and correcting these errors, you can improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.

Practice Makes Perfect

To avoid dangling modifiers in your writing, practice identifying and correcting them regularly. Over time, this will become second nature, and you’ll spot these errors easily.

Wrap Up

Dangling modifiers may seem perplexing at first, but with practice, you can master the art of clear and concise writing. By taking the time to understand and correct these errors, you can elevate the quality of your writing and effectively communicate your message.

Remember, clear and error-free writing is key to engaging your audience and conveying your ideas effectively. Keep an eye out for dangling modifiers in your writing and watch your communication skills soar!


Incorrect: Hearing the good news, happiness was mine.

Or Hearing the good news, happy I was.

Correct: Hearing the good news, I was happy.

Incorrect: Having finished the assignment, Jill turned on the TV.

Correct: Having finished the assignment, the TV was turned on.

Incorrect: Having arrived late for practice, a written excuse was needed.

Correct: Having arrived late for practice, the team captain needed a written excuse.



Incorrect: Without knowing his name, it was difficult to introduce him.

Correct: Because Maria did not know his name, it was difficult to introduce him.

Incorrect: To improve his results, the experiment was done again.

Correct: He improved his results by doing the experiment again.

Incorrect: After reading the original study, the article remains unconvincing.

Correct:  After reading the original study, I find the article unconvincing.

Incorrect: Relieved of your responsibilities at your job, your home should be a place to relax.

Correct:  Relieved of your responsibilities at your job, you should be able to relax at home.

Incorrect: The experiment was a failure, not having studied the lab manual carefully.

Correct: They failed the experiment, not having studied the lab manual carefully.

There are some particular grammatical structures or phrases or clauses in which dangling modifiers occur. Such as:

1. Present Participle or Participle Phrase

Incorrect: Entering the room, the light was off.

Correct: Entering the room, I found the light off.

Incorrect: Walking in the park, a snake bit him.

Correct: Walking in the park, he was bitten by a snake.

Incorrect: Walking through the forest, the moon appeared like a luminous ball.

Correct: Walking through the forest, the traveler saw the moon above the trees.

Incorrect: Crossing the street, a car almost struck us.

Correct: As we crossed the street, a car almost struck us.

Incorrect:  Flying out the window, he grabbed the papers.

Correct: Flying out the window, the papers were grabbed by him.

Incorrect:  Plunging into the water, the drowning child was rescued.

Correct: Plunging into the water, he rescued the drowning child.

Incorrect: Not looking where he was going, a car hit him.

Correct: Not looking where he was going, he was hit by a car.

Incorrect: Knowing little algebra, solving the problem was difficult.

Correct: Knowing little algebra, I found it difficult to solve the problem.

Incorrect: Reading the regulations, the dog did not enter the park.

Correct: After reading the regulations, I did not enter the park with my dog.

Incorrect: Understanding the daycare’s policies, the baby waited for her mom.

Correct: Understanding the daycare’s policies, the mother picked up her baby.

2. Past Participle or Past Participle Phrase

Incorrect: Tired and exhausted, a nap was taken by the passer-by.

Correct: Tired and exhausted, the passer-by took a nap.

Incorrect: Worn out by a long walk, she fainted.

Correct: As she worn out by a long walk, she fainted.

3. Perfect Participle (having+v3)/ (having been +v3)

Incorrect: Having arrived late for practice, a written excuse was needed.

Correct: Having arrived late for practice, the team captain needed a written excuse.

Incorrect: Having been served lunch, the problem was discussed by the members of the committee.

Correct: Having been served lunch, the committee members discussed the problem.

4. Adjective Phrase

Incorrect: Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me.

Correct: Young and inexperienced, I thought the task easy.

Incorrect: Old and pervert, fourth marriage seemed not to criticize to him.

Correct: Old and pervert, he didn’t think the fourth marriage to be criticizing. 

5. Reduced Adverbial Clause:

Incorrect: While walking in the garden, her leg was broken.

Correct: While she was walking in the garden, she broke her leg.

Incorrect: While going to class, a dog bit me.

Correct: While going to class, I was bitten by a dog.