“One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I don’t know.” — Groucho Marx
Dangling modifiers are probably best known, but there are a number of ways to cause confusion with a misplaced modifying word or phrase. See if you can pick out the problems below. At least one possible way to rephrase will be included in the answer e-mail.
Hanging from his drawer, Ralphie saw his underwear.
- Hearing the thunder overhead, Davey grabbed his red rubber boots and umbrella.
- Driving home, a deer ran into the road.
- Bob loves swimming, rollerblading, and jogging on the beach.
- The mom dragged the child, kicking and screaming.
- A classic dangler, this sentence makes it seem like Ralphie, not his underwear, is hanging from the drawer. (Although an aerial view may have helped him in his search.)
Ralphie saw his underwear hanging from his drawer.
(Note: See the answer to number five for why it should not have a comma after underwear.)
- Adjectives followed by multiple nouns can cause confusion. In this sentence, it makes it seem like both the boots and the umbrella are made of a red rubber.
Hearing the thunder overhead, Davey grabbed his umbrella and red rubber boots.
- Another classic dangler, this sentence makes it seem like the deer was the one driving.
Driving home, we saw a deer run into the road.
- Prepositional phrases at the end like this modify each noun. So in this sentence, it makes it seem like Bob not only loves to jog on the beach but also loves to swim and skate on the beach, too.
Bob loves jogging on the beach, swimming and rollerblading.
- Even though it is a possibility when dealing with a young child, the mom was most likely not the one doing the kicking and the screaming as this sentence implies. To keep kicking and screaming from modifying the subject (mom), delete the comma.
The mom dragged the child kicking and screaming.