Are danglers wrong?

The answer is: not really.

These two posts at Language Log explain:

Danglers aren’t grammatically wrong the way a sentence like “I bacon the ate” (as opposed to “I ate the bacon“) is wrong. Lots of native speakers of English use danglers, as do lots of native writers of English.

That said, danglers can be bad writing, which is reason enough to know what they are and how to avoid them.

Danglers aren’t always bad writing. Unfortunately, I lack the linguistic expertise to explain the difference between a good dangler and a bad one, so there the matter stands. For the moment.

[UPDATE 1/26/2016: explanation coming shortly]

I post danglers on English 109 because I like them; they tend to jump off the page at me (most of the time).

I also post them because I’m fairly certain that looking for the dangler in a sentence helps students see syntax. “Seeing” the syntax of a sentence isn’t easy if you were never taught formal grammar or sentence diagramming.

I’m in that category myself. Before teaching English 109, I had learned most of what little I knew about grammar in Spanish class. I wrote grammatically, but I wrote “by ear.”

When I began to learn the formal categories of grammar and linguistics, I was thrilled to finally find out what the sentences I had been writing for all these years were actually made of.

*Sentence fragment intentional.

Find the dangler

Sometimes, when teaching Physics in the traditional fashion, students might “accept” the scientifically correct theory, only within a certain framework–and often will “memorize” that theory only to pass the tests.


(I believe English is a second language for this writer.)

Find the dangler

As a stylist and magazine editor, the blog includes not just a daily outfit but also tips from friends and photos of industry-only events.

NYC Fashion Bloggers: 10 Blogs Worth Reading


Complete passage:

Christine of My Style Pill posts polished outfits with a vintage flair that make even fellow style bloggers swoon. As a stylist and magazine editor, the blog includes not just a daily outfit but also tips from friends and photos of industry-only events.

And see: Are danglers wrong?

Find the dangler

Katie Trumpener, a Yale comparative literature and English professor who considered Mr. See a dear friend, said he told her and others that he was H.I.V. positive, but bound them to secrecy. In April, Mr. Ganglani wrote to alert her that Mr. See had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Later, Mr. See told her how “it was like being tortured to be there.”

After not having seen Mr. See in a while, he rang Ms. Trumpener’s bell about two months ago. “He said he had further physical problems and his doctor thought he had perhaps had a small stroke,” she said. “He said he was having terrible hallucinations and he feared that he might harm his husband inadvertently, because he wouldn’t be able to tell fantasy from reality.”

Questions Linger After Death of Yale Teacher in Police Custody | New York Times | 12/18/2013

And see: Are danglers wrong?