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    #1

    Dangling structure

    Dear Native Speakers,
    Is the first part of the following sentence a "dangling structure"? If yes, why the subject used after the comma is a different one?
    "Until recently proven incorrect, astronomers had assumed that the insides of white dwarfs were uniform."
    Or it is better to say the following:
    "Until recently proven incorrect, the assumption was that the insides of white dwarfs were uniform."
    Thanks.

  1. shannico's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Dangling structure

    Yes they are both dangling structures and to me they both sound fine as you can prove both subjects of the main sentences wrong, i.e.
    - you can prove "astronomers" incorrect in their assumptions.
    - you can prove " an assumption" incorrect.

    I would prefer the second one though. I think it reads better.

    I hope it helps.
    Lucia

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Dangling structure

    We normally use the expression 'dangling' (or 'misrelated') participle' when an participle clause has a different subject from the main clause:

    Beaten by Manchester United, we booed the Arsenal players for their pathetic performance.

    It was the Arsenal players, not 'we'. who were beaten.

    In the first of your sentences, the subject of both clauses is 'astronomers'; in the second it is 'the assumption'. There are therefore no dangling structures.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Dangling structure

    I agree. The astronomers and the assumption have both been proven incorrect, so while the sentences strictly mean slightly different things, neither has a dangler.

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    #5

    Re: Dangling structure

    Dear 5jj,
    I don't agree that the subject of my first sentece is "astronomers" because if you write the full form of the sentece (I mean you add the omitted words) you will see that the "assumption" is the subject. (Although it is passive, the superficial subject is "assumption".)
    I have studied in several books and internet sites that the subject of the dangling structure and the main clause should be the same. In your example, it's better to write
    Beaten by Manchester United, the Arsenal players were booed for their pathetic performance.
    In this way, this sentence is quite meaningful.
    Thanks.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Dangling structure

    "Until recently proven incorrect, astronomers had assumed that the insides of white dwarfs were uniform."
    Quote Originally Posted by mehdihas View Post
    I don't agree that the subject of my first sentence is "astronomers" because if you write the full form of the sentence (I mean you add the omitted words) you will see that the "assumption" is the subject. (Although it is passive, the superficial subject is "assumption".)
    No it isn't:"Until they were recently proven incorrect, astronomers had assumed..."
    I have studied in several books and internet sites that the subject of the dangling structure and the main clause should be the same.
    I think you have misunderstood what you have read. The subject of the two clauses should be the same in order to avoid a dangling participle.
    In your example, it's better to write
    Beaten by Manchester United, the Arsenal players were booed for their pathetic performance.
    In this way, this sentence is quite meaningful.
    Quite. My sentence was showing a dangling particle. That was the point.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Dangling structure

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdihas View Post
    Dear 5jj,
    I'm not 5jj. But I think you're missing something important.
    I don't agree that the subject of my first sentece is "astronomers" because if you write the full form of the sentece (I mean you add the omitted words) you will see that the "assumption" is the subject. (Although it is passive, the superficial subject is "assumption".)
    You first sentence does not contain "assumption" therefore "assumption" cannot be the subject. There is no indication that there are any omitted words in your first sentence.
    If you are claiming that the first sentence is actually, "Until recently proven incorrect, the assumption of astronomers had been that the insides of white dwarfs were uniform.", and that your sentence 1 is actually that sentence with some words omitted, then you are misusing the concept of a sentence.
    Your sentence 1 is legitimate; it has a subject, and the subject is "astronomers".

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