Posts Tagged ‘grammar’

Dangling Modifiers

What is a Dan­gling Modifier?

Dan­gling mod­i­fier is a word or a phrase that mod­i­fies the clause inap­pro­pri­ately. A writer may intend to mod­ify the sub­ject, but gram­mar rules seem­ingly mod­ify the object instead. Con­fus­ing? Maybe some exam­ples would help you to appre­ci­ate the prob­lem asso­ci­ated with Dan­gling Modifiers.

Hav­ing fin­ished the assign­ment, the TV was turned on.

Here ‘the TV’ is not the sub­ject of main clause (fin­ished the assigned). “Hav­ing fin­ished” is a clause express­ing action but there are no sub­jects claim­ing this action. In this exam­ple, the TV cant doesn’t qual­ify to be sub­ject because TV sets can’t com­plete assignments.

Hav­ing fin­ished the assign­ment, John turned on the TV.

In this case, we could actu­ally work out the cen­tral idea. But the catch is read­ers shouldn’t be work­ing out the mean­ing. They should appre­ci­ate the writ­ing as it is. In short, dan­gling mod­i­fiers lead to dif­fi­culty in under­stand­ing and some unin­ten­tional humour.

Golden Rules

If at any point of time you draw a chuckle, due to how you have said it rather than what you have said, then it has unfavourable out­comes. Few care­ful steps would go a long way in avoid­ing such mishaps.
Step1: Under­line all the mod­i­fiers in your sen­tences.
Step2: Match all the nouns fol­low­ing your dan­gling mod­i­fiers.
Step3: Ensure that your mod­i­fier and noun goes together log­i­cally. If not, you have a dan­gling mod­i­fier! Name an appro­pri­ate doer of the action as the sub­ject of the clause.
Step4: Rewrite the sen­tence.

Remove Dan­gling Modifiers

“Being asleep, the tele­phone star­tled me when it rang.”
Now, we would apply the above rules in this sen­tence and check for dan­gling mod­i­fiers.
Step1: Being asleep, the tele­phone star­tled me when it rang
Step2: Being asleep, the tele­phone star­tled me when it rang
Step3: The tele­phone can’t go to sleep. So we have a dan­gling mod­i­fier here. Here we have to intro­duce the doer of the action. Let us intro­duce the doer as “I”. Now “I” is the sub­ject of the main clause.
Step4: “Being asleep, I was star­tled when the tele­phone rang.”
Some­times, comb­ing the main clause and the dan­gling phrase helps in resolv­ing the con­flict.
The exper­i­ment was a fail­ure, not hav­ing stud­ied the lab man­ual care­fully.
As it is, the sen­tence would mean that the exper­i­ment failed because the exper­i­ment didn’t read the lab man­ual. This is illog­i­cal.
Apply­ing the above rules, we observe that we need to intro­duce a noun.

They failed the exper­i­ment, not hav­ing stud­ied the lab man­ual carefully.

Differences between Spoken English and Written English

There are some very notable dif­fer­ences between writ­ten and spo­ken Eng­lish. Spo­ken Eng­lish, as a lan­guage is quite relaxed. This means that in many occa­sions peo­ple speak and their Eng­lish gram­mar is not quite cor­rect. Often peo­ple will say things like, ‘If I was a boy’ which does not sound too gram­mat­i­cally incor­rect, but in writ­ten form it looks slightly odd. The rea­son is that ‘if’ is already a ‘wish­ing word’ and, as such, needs the sub­junc­tive tense to be used. So the proper writ­ten form of this sen­tence is, ‘If I were a boy’. It is also notable that when one is writ­ing, he/she tends to use words that would not nor­mally be used when speak­ing about the same subject.

Differences between Spoken English and Written English

Dif­fer­ences between Spo­ken Eng­lish and Writ­ten English

It is thus easy when speak­ing Eng­lish to get away with not hav­ing very good gram­mar, but this will show up when the same words are writ­ten down. If one is learn­ing Eng­lish, it is impor­tant to try to make sure that gram­mar is checked. You should make sure that when you are speak­ing Eng­lish you pay atten­tion to gram­mar and gram­mat­i­cal issues. When writ­ing in Eng­lish, ensure that you always check your gram­mar, either using an online gram­mar check­ing pack­age, or just by going through it. But the gram­mar checker is much more reliable.

Try­ing to speak Eng­lish as it is writ­ten helps you make sure that you don’t allow your stan­dard of gram­mar to slip. In spo­ken lan­guage, every­thing we talk will give some mean­ing and the lis­tener is not par­tic­u­lar about the gram­mat­i­cal cor­rect­ness of the lan­guage. He/she is inter­ested only to get the sub­ject but when it comes to writ­ten Eng­lish, every­body will keenly observe all these things and a small mis­take, becomes a big issue. In my opin­ion, peo­ple who write good Eng­lish will def­i­nitely increase their spo­ken Eng­lish skills.

Speaking English Clearly and Grammatically Can Boost Your Success

Speak­ing good Eng­lish does not mean using com­plex words which leave your audi­ence per­plexed but rather, using clear and gram­mat­i­cally cor­rect Eng­lish words. Speak­ing cor­rect Eng­lish tells your audi­ences that you are a pro­fes­sional who knows the mean­ing of suc­cess and has taken time to mas­ter this impor­tant language.

If for are a pro­fes­sional whose work involves a lot of talk­ing, then speak­ing clearly will serve to ensure that your mes­sage is deliv­ered in the best way pos­si­ble. To speak clearly, you have to pro­nounce the words as they should and speak in such a way to make the audi­ence under­stand you, not too slow, not too fast. Too slow may be bor­ing and no one will hear you if you are too fast.



It’s good to iden­tify and accept your weak­nesses con­cern­ing the lan­guage and seek pro­fes­sional help. Enroll for classes to boost your gram­mar and prob­a­bly pub­lic speak­ing classes to help you speak clear Eng­lish. Get experts to teach you on how to pro­nounce words. If you are in busi­ness, this will prob­a­bly be worth it con­sid­er­ing the stiff com­pe­ti­tion in the market.

Worth not­ing is that if you are to deliver a speech, be pre­pared hours before the func­tion. When you know what you are going to talk about per­haps writ­ten down in short notes helps you con­struct sen­tences in your head faster than when you are not prepared.

As a stu­dent, learn­ing to speak good Eng­lish will help you write well too and you can express your ideas bet­ter in your exam papers and get good marks. Pass­ing well in school is just the first sign of success.

Hav­ing clear and gram­mat­i­cally cor­rect words may not help you if you can­not com­bine them in the right order to pro­duce coher­ent sen­tences. Hence know­ing how to con­struct sen­tences is cru­cial too.

Learning Basic English Is Easy

How many times have you thought about going back to school because the level of your Eng­lish gram­mar errors is wor­ry­ing? Poor gram­mar can impede your busi­ness rela­tions or it can affect your con­fi­dence in class and all. Eng­lish is not the first lan­guage to many, but its com­mand defines you. To learn­ers, there are auto­matic gram­mar mis­takes and poor sen­tence con­struc­tion. This prob­lem changes after few lessons, tests and ideas. A teacher stands in to give direc­tion to a learner.

Read widely. It can be fic­tion or non fic­tion books. They give you more pat­terns when it comes to Eng­lish. Like any other world lan­guage, sim­plic­ity is the hall mark of learn­ing. Eng­lish is sim­ple. This is how good spelling and gram­mar is built. You are not learn­ing to impress but to com­mu­ni­cate. When under going the learn­ing, flu­ent nature ought to come later.



There is noth­ing like too much read­ing. In fact read­ing has never been more than enough as it is a knowl­edge that learn­ers live with for­ever. Sim­pli­fied terms and sen­tences work for every­one. If you can under­stand what you have writ­ten about, another per­son who is going to read your sen­tences will also under­stand. You have to see the sense in your sen­tences. You need to write a sen­tence and put your self in the shoes of other readers.

Tune to known radio and tele­vi­sion net­works and lis­ten to how they read and deliver sto­ries. The Eng­lish used is sim­ple and neu­tral. This kind of spe­cial Eng­lish is accept­able world over. You’ll improve on pro­nun­ci­a­tion when you make it a habit of lis­ten­ing to such media. Soft­ware of text to speech read­ers is com­mon these days. This tech­no­log­i­cal soft­ware can be down­loaded to assist learn­ers. A book is the trea­sure to learn­ing English.

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