Dangling Modifiers

What do you think of this sentence?

Although it’s just eight inches tall, baby rubber plant’s stems can creep sideways up to two feet.

If you noticed that it’s a dangling modifier, you’re an exceptionally good editor. Yes, baby rubber plant is just eight inches tall. But the real subject of the sentence is baby rubber plant’s stems.

Here’s the correct version:

Although baby rubber plant is just eight inches tall, its stems can creep sideways up to two feet. CORRECT

Here are two more dangling modifiers:

Driving home from work, the radio had an interesting report about Venezuela. (The radio can’t drive!)

Better: While I was driving home from work, the radio had an interesting report about Venezuela.

We saw the Eiffel Tower flying from London to Paris.  (The Eiffel Tower can’t fly!)

Better: We saw the Eiffel Tower while we were flying from London to Paris.

A caveat: Sometimes when you try to fix a dangling modifier, you end up with a hopelessly awkward sentence. Always make sure the cure isn’t worse than the original ailment!

sticky notes that say "right" or "wrong"

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