Dangly bits…

I love the expression dangling modifier. But what is it? And is it catching?  

A dangling modifier refers to a phrase which doesn’t have a grammatical connection to the rest of the sentence. This can have hilarious consequences. Ok, it can be vaguely amusing: 

Having been kicked in the air, the baby caught the ball.

What was kicked? The ball or the baby? To avoid the dangling modifier the sentence needs to be changed to: 

When the ball was kicked in the air, the baby caught it.

Got it? Good.

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