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.