Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Learn eglish

participle problems
A present participle can be used to form a non-finite clause. If this is placed at the beginning of the sentence it should always refer to the subject of that sentence:
Having left Tony and his Mum at his appointment, I set off in the direction of the motorway.
Here the present perfect participle having left is attached to the subject of the sentence, I.
Sometimes writers forget this and begin a sentence with a participle that is not attached to anything stated in the sentence. The participle is said to be ‘hanging’ or ‘dangling’. For example:
Travelling to Finland, the weather got colder and colder. He wished he had brought more warm clothes with him.
Grammatically this means that the weather was travelling to Finland, whereas what the writer means is:
As he was travelling to Finland, the weather got colder and colder …
Good writing practice means avoiding ‘hanging’ or ‘dangling’ participles by making sure that the participle is attached to the subject of the sentence.