Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier is a modifier that has nothing to modify. The writer has not used the word that the modifier is meant to be modifying.

  • Having finished the cleaning, the TV was turned on.
    (Having finished the cleaning is the dangling modifier. A TV cannot finish the cleaning. So the dangling modifier doesn’t seem to modify anything in the sentence.)
    Having finished the cleaning, Jill turned on the TV.
    (Jill is the subject, and the phrase having finished the assignment modifies Jill.)
  • Hungry, the leftover chicken was eaten.
    (Reads like the name of the chicken was Hungry.)
    Hungry, we ate the leftover chicken.
  • Looking in her purse, the keys could not be found.
    Looking in her purse, she could not find the keys.