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A key to Scoring High on the GMAT
One of the most common errors in Sentence Correction on the GMAT is an incorrect, or dangling, modifier. These modifiers are often hard to detect. However, it is crucial to detect them if you want to score high on the GMAT. This blog attempts to eliminate confusion and frustration of students who are familiar with dangling modifiers.
What are Dangling Modifiers, or "Danglers"?
A dangler is a phrase that is used at the start of a sentence to describe something, but that something is not the subject doing the main action of the sentence. Since dangling modifiers don't attach to what comes right after them, they "dangle." The result is that they can be read as describing the subject of the sentence when they actually don't, which can be funny or just confusing. Let's see some examples.
The Usual Suspect
Watch out for an ing word if it's near the front of a sentence. Most likely, it is a dangling modifier. To find it, ask a whodunit question. Who is doing the talking, reading, singing, walking, etc? You may be surprised by what you find. Often, the danglers are participles.
With Present Participles
With Past Participles
With Prepositional Phrases
Often prepositions, a words that show position or direction, can lead your astray.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Often adjectives get pinned to the wrong part of a sentence and become danglers.
Hitch your Wagon
A dangling adverb at the front of a sentence is similar to a horse that's hitched to the wrong wagon. Such adverbs are easy to spot because they often end in 'ly'. When you see one, make sure it is hitched to the right verb.
The Infinitive Trouble
Some of the hardest danglers to see begin with to.A sentence that starts with an infinitive (a verb usually preceded by to, like to say, to laugh) cannot be left to dangle. The opening phrase has to be attached to whoever or whatever is performing the action.
Can't find a dangler? It might hiding as a 'like' or as an 'unlike'. Consider this likely example.
Source: Woe is I, by Patricia T. O'Conner