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  1. #1
    CaseyA is offline Banned
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    Arrow Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Seven ways Rick Perry wants to change the Constitution | The Ticket - Yahoo! News
    From ending lifetime tenure for federal judges to completely scrapping two whole amendments, the Constitution would see a major overhaul if the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate had his druthers.
    Does anyone think that "From...To..." is dangling, since it seems to refer to "a major haul" but "Constitution" is right between them?

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    Seven ways Rick Perry wants to change the Constitution | The Ticket - Yahoo! News


    Does anyone think that "From...To..." is dangling, since it seems to refer to "a major haul" but "Constitution" is right between them?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Like you, I am also waiting for a teacher's answer to your intriguing question.

    (2) I should only like to respectfully suggest that a reordering of the sentence

    might help us to better analyze your sentence.

    (3) In other words, we could have:


    (a) The Constitution from ending lifetime tenure to scrapping two

    amendments would see a major overhaul.

    (b) The Constitution would see a major overhaul from ending lifetime tenure

    to scrapping two amendments.

    (4) Does the prepositional phrase modify "The Constitution" or "overhaul"?

    That is the question.

    (a) I do not have the confidence to answer the question.

    (5) Is there any chance that the prepositional phrase is actually parenthetical?

    That is, it does not belong to any noun. That it actually refers to the whole

    statement. See what two commas do:

    The Constitution, from ending lifetime tenure to scrapping two amendments,

    would see a major overhaul.

    Now let's put a comma in the other sentence:

    The Constitution would see a major overhaul, from ending lifetime tenure to

    scrapping two amendments.

    (a) I most humbly suggest that in reading both sentences aloud, one would

    "naturally" pause after the comma(s). Does that "prove" that the p.p. is, in fact,

    parenthetical? IF it does, then the sentence as written is felicitous:

    From ending lifetime tenure to scrapping two amendments, the Constitution

    would see a major overhaul if ....

  3. #3
    CaseyA is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    So, it is ungrammatical and poorly written?

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    So, it is ungrammatical and poorly written?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I am certainly not qualified to call anything "ungrammatical."

    (2) Like you, I am waiting for a teacher to give us an informed answer to

    your great question. (I really like analyzing sentences. You are 100% correct:

    sentences should be accurately written so that the reader knows exactly what

    modifies what.)

    (3) I will say, however, that most native speakers would get the idea of the sentence

    without any problems. They would probably not give any thought to what modifies

    what. And, of course, most native speakers don't even know what a hanging or

    dangling participle is. Grammar is not a popular hobby!

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    It might benefit from a bit of editing, but as a BrE speaker, I don't worry much about dangling structures- we seem to take a more lenient view than American speakers. The problem is not so much one of grammar as one of meaning to me.

  6. #6
    CaseyA is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Dangling sentence structures is okay, and the following is also okay?

    Driving to London that night, a sudden thought struck me.
    My understanding is "driving to London that night" modifies "me", but there is "a sudden thought" between them. Maybe this is some kind of evolution of the English language that I have missed out on?

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    Dangling sentence structures is okay, and the following is also okay?

    My understanding is "driving to London that night" modifies "me", but there is "a sudden thought" between them. Maybe this is some kind of evolution of the English language that I have missed out on?
    This falls into the same area as was discussed on another thread a few days ago (sorry, I can't remember which one) - we make sense of a sentence as we read it or after reading it, not one word at a time. We know it wouldn't make sense that the "sudden thought" was the thing that was "driving through the night" so no matter what order the words are in, or how they're structured, we know it's "me" who was "driving through the night" and also "me" that the "sudden thought struck".

  8. #8
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    Dangling sentence structures is okay, and the following is also okay?

    My understanding is "driving to London that night" modifies "me", but there is "a sudden thought" between them. Maybe this is some kind of evolution of the English language that I have missed out on?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I agree with you that the sentence is not very elegant.

    (2) The sentence seems to say that a thought was driving to London and struck me.

    (3) Of course, as the Editor of usingenglish just told us, dangling participles do not

    confuse native speakers. We all "know" what the meaning of the sentence is.

    (4) Of course, learners should try to avoid them. So I would suggest:

    (While) driving to London one night, I suddenly had a thought.

    (5) I found this example in The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar:

    "Sleeping in mine orchard, a serpent stung me."

    Who wrote that? Answer: Shakespeare!

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    Dangling sentence structures is okay, and the following is also okay?

    My understanding is "driving to London that night" modifies "me", but there is "a sudden thought" between them. Maybe this is some kind of evolution of the English language that I have missed out on?
    I said that the original sentence might benefit from some editing, as would this one. However, I don't think it's a particularly serious issue. Please read what people say- I talked of editing and did say there was a problem, though small. I also pointed out that there are some differences in degree between the variants- dangling participles and comma splices seem to be given more leeway in BrE than in AmE. Please don't twist words and put words into people's mouths. And who would seriously believe that a sudden thought was driving to London?
    Last edited by Tdol; 21-Aug-2011 at 13:20.

  10. #10
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    Bennevis is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Dangling Sentence Structure?

    "From ending lifetime tenure for federal judges to completely scrapping two whole amendments, the Constitution would see a major overhaul if the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate had his druthers."

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    Does anyone think that "From...To..." is dangling, since it seems to refer to "a major haul" but "Constitution" is right between them?
    The sentence in question is OK. There is hardly anything dangling about it. The comma does it. Your second example ("Driving to London that night, a sudden thought struck me.") does have a dangling structure, for we don't see the word "I" in the 2nd part. It does sound awkward.

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