Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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So What's a Dangling, or Misplaced Modifier?
A dangling modifier occurs when the subject of an introductory phrase is not stated BEFORE the
introductory phrase. Modifiers describe, clarify, or give more detail about a subject.
Dangling modifiers are a great way to confuse your readers and leave them wondering
what the heck you were trying to say but not like in the good way when you metaphors or symbolism.
And we want to avoid that because a confused readers will probably leave bad reviews on your book.
The fix for this is to re-write the sentence to clearly specify WHO is completing the action
(aka the subject of the sentence). Let's look at some, unintentionally hilarious, examples and how to
Problem here is we don’t know what or who returned from the dead, the plants or my sister.
Assuming this book isn't titled “Night of the Living Dead Gardners, we can fix this two ways:
Example: After the plants returned from the dead, my sister took them outside.
Example: My sister took the plants outside after they returned from the dead.
Example: Numero Dos (that's number two)
Similar to the last one, we don’t know WHO finished the dinner here.
If it was my waitress, I wouldn't be leaving a tip (but they'd get a bad Yelp review).
Fix it like this: "After I finished my dinner, the waitress brought out the dessert tray."
And there you have it!
Self-editing your work for dangling modifiers will ensure that your writing is as crisp
as a freshly-ironed shirt. And you readers will appreciate it too!