Can you tell what’s wrong with the sentences in the list below? I think many of you will see the problem in these sentences now that they have isolated. On the other hand, context can certainly help a editor figure out how to fix such problems.
* Whether trying to conceive, pregnant or a new mom, trianglemom2mom.com will be the leading source of information for Moms in the Triangle.
* Overgrown with weeds, Megan thought he was crazy for even considering the purchase.
* Born in Clayton, not far from her present home, Little’s parents farmed cotton, corn and tobacco. Like many daughters of the South, her parents had no money to send her to college.
They all contain dangling modifiers. The phrases at the beginning don’t describe the subject of the sentence. These mistakes are easy to read over, especially for a writer in a hurry. That’s another good reason for having more than one person read copy before publication.
Of course, as I am reminded every day, even multiple readings by smart, capable editors don’t catch every typo, every missing article, every misused word or every misplaced modifier. But we continue to try.
To fix these dangling modifiers, an editor often must break up the sentences or perform some other invasive surgery. Here are edited versions of the example sentences:
* Whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant or a new mom, you will find trianglemom2mom.com the leading source of information for Moms in the Triangle.
* The place was overgrown with weeds, and Megan thought he was crazy for even considering the purchase.
* Little was born in Clayton, not far from her present home, to parents who farmed cotton, corn and tobacco. Like many people of the South, her parents had no money to send their daughter to college.
Please leave a comment if you have other suggestions for rewriting these sentences or if you have other examples of misplaced modifiers or dangling participles.
This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.