Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sneaky dangling participle

I'm scouting nearby rental houses for a friend, and in an email to her about one house, I -almost- committed a dangler:
I just saw the sign driving by, so all I know is the house is for rent by owner.

Before I finished the "-ing," I felt something was wrong. And I immediately backspaced and made it:
I just saw the sign as I was driving by, so all I know is the house is for rent by owner.

Constant vigilance is the price of freedom... from danglers.

Anyone else "almost dangle" lately? Some of them are sneaky little buggers.


Anonymous said...

easeI think I am guilty of this on a regular basis when it comes to the spoken word. I would lay odds that we all are, and now that there is such a proliferation of quick, informal writing in the form of emails and texts, and the colloquial form that they often take, I am sure it happens on an alarmingly regular basis to everyone.

That said, I find it interesting that if you were to say the original sentence to me out loud, I would never misinterpret it, but as soon as I read it the dangler jumped out at me. Or rather, it whizzed by on spinning wheels in all it's red and white "For Sale" glory.

Anonymous said...

Dang computer trackpad. That is not supposed to be easeI at the start of that comment, just plain I. The rest is a remnant from the word verification I ended up entering in the comment box by mistake. Oops.

Technology and I do not seen to get along very well.

Edittorrent said...

And here I thought you were speaking of yourself as "easel!" That creative, innovative canvas of creativity. :)

I was just thinking that, "Driving by, I saw the sign" would work fine. "Driving" would then modify "I", so no problem.