| #1 (permalink) Sun Jun 28, 2009 22:16 pm Misrelated participle
I'd like to ask about misrelated participles.
Usage Note: Participial phrases such as walking down the street or having finished her homework are commonly used in English to modify nouns or pronouns, but care must be taken in incorporating such phrases into sentences. Readers will ordinarily associate a participle with the noun, noun phrase, or pronoun adjacent to it, and misplacement may produce comic effects as in He watched his horse take a turn around the track carrying a racing sheet under his arm. A correctly placed participial phrase leaves no doubt about what is being modified: Sitting at her desk, Jane read the letter carefully. · Another pitfall in using participial phrases is illustrated in the following sentence: Turning the corner, the view was quite different. Grammarians would say that such a sentence contains a "dangling participle" because there is no noun or pronoun in the sentence that the participial phrase could logically modify. Moving the phrase will not solve the problem (as it would in the sentence about the horse with a racing sheet). To avoid distracting the reader, it would be better to recast the sentence as When we turned the corner, the view was quite different or Turning the corner, we had a different view. · A number of expressions originally derived from participles have become prepositions, and these may be used to introduce phrases that are not associated with the immediately adjacent noun phrase. Such expressions include concerning, considering, failing, granting, judging by, and speaking of. Thus one may write without fear of criticism Speaking of politics, the elections have been postponed or Considering the hour, it is surprising that he arrived at all.
I've found the following example on the web:
A tourist was lost in New York looking for a famous classical music concert venue called Carnegie Hall.
Of course I understand that "looking for" relates to "tourist". But is this the absolutely correct usage? Sometimes, when in documents (especially legal ones) participle is placed in the similar manner in the sentence it is very difficult to determine which word the participle refers to.
I'm here quite often ;-)
Joined: 17 Jun 2007