The AMA Handbook of Business Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Style, Grammar, Usage, Punctuation, Construction, and Formatting

By Kevin Wilson; Jennifer Wauson | Go to book overview

D

Danger Notice

See Notices.


Dangling Modifiers

A modifier is a word or phrase that gives more detail about a subject. A dangling modifier modifies a word that is not clearly stated in a sentence.

Example: Having struggled through the long commute, Dan parked
his car in his usual spot.

The doer must be the subject of the main clause that follows. In the example, Dan is the logical doer; therefore this sentence does not have a dangling modifier.

Example: Having struggled through the long commute, the car was
parked in the usual spot.

“Having struggled” is a participle that expresses action, but the doer is not the parking spot. Because the doer of the action is not clearly stated, this participial phrase is a dangling modifier.


Characteristics of Dangling Modifiers

Dangling modifiers typically occur at the beginning of a sentence as an introductory clause or phrase. Dangling modifiers can also appear at the end of a sentence. Dangling modifiers often have a gerund (-ing word) or an infinitive (to + be word) near the beginning of the sentence.

Incorrect: Not having made contingency plans, the project was a
failure.

-153-

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The AMA Handbook of Business Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Style, Grammar, Usage, Punctuation, Construction, and Formatting
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Business Documents Figures xxiii
  • Introduction xxv
  • Acknowledgments xxvii
  • Section 1 - The Writing Process 1
  • Section 2 - The Business Writer’s Alphabetical Reference 31
  • A 33
  • B 88
  • C 103
  • D 153
  • E 178
  • F 195
  • G 209
  • H 214
  • J 250
  • K 252
  • L 255
  • M 268
  • N 280
  • O 296
  • P 301
  • Q 342
  • R 347
  • S 358
  • T 388
  • U 407
  • V 412
  • W 418
  • X- Y Z 423
  • Section 3 - Sample Business Documents 425
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