The Wandering Minstrel
(D)angling for sense
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
Let's see if I can talk a bit about a very common grammatical error that many of us make, which sometimes have unintended comical consequences.
Picture source: https://www.unexpected.org/2013/01/its-okay-to-dangle/
What is a dangling participle?
Put simply, a phrase in a sentence that is rather like an orphan, trying its best to forge a link with the rest of the sentence. Despite the best intentions of the writer, a dangling participle can end up confusing the most astute reader. An example: "Being a sunny day, I decided to go for a walk." So am I the sunny day here? A more coherent construction would be: "As it was a sunny day, I decided to go for a walk."
A classic and some ripsnorters
Even the Bard wasn’t immune to this! “Sleeping in mine orchard, a serpent stung me.” (Hamlet)
A few more sparklers, for good measure:
Walking down the cliff, his smile went brighter.
Born in India, his most famous work is Geetanjali.
But the last word on this has to be a pearler that I came across in a letter of regret to one of the innumerable job applications I made in a past life: "After careful consideration, you have unfortunately not been successful on this occasion." Huh! Talk about victim blaming!
Recommended reading: https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/09/26/participles-how-not-to-dangle/