The answer key is below. True. Having a sound basis of grammatical English is necessary for good writing; prepositions are some of the most difficult words to use correctly, especially for those where English is a second language. Click To Tweet. Also many sentences were written with the negative, "No person shall ...." We are trying to write now to the positive, "A person shall not....". You are so right about those gerund modifiers! Misusing prepositions is an easy problem to fix. lol. There are no prepostions in this sentence. In particular (partly because of where the words wrap), “Frank kicked his screaming fans…” is what is sometimes nicknamed a garden path sentence, because you have to revise your interpretation as you get to the end of the sentence. When a story, such as a personal account is being written, the author's vernacular helps to develop his or her unique style. I've used that phrase, "I couldn't care less" myself with the intended meaning that I didn't care at all. Don't leave them dangling! Omitting dangling prepositions from your article writing improves the quality of the piece and is easier for the reader to comprehend. Now, sitting on the park bench clearly modifies the pronoun I, so it's not dangling any longer! I have been trying to change this, and your column is wonderful! With adjectives I was on my way to work and noticed a cream woman’s handbag in the gutter. As for the narrative, I think it depends on voice. Before the turn of the century, women began to change their style of dress. Let’s try that again: Let’s try that again: He walked down the street at a brisk pace, with his waistcoat buttoned against the cold and a jaunty top hat perched atop his stately head. Correct. Kindness and compassion, however, are the keys to true happiness, whatever one's language may be. Using active voice is not possible always as to better emphasize the context, but other 4 ways mentioned here are really worth practicing for a better effective writing. I will probably need to refer back to this hub again in the future. A corrected sentence, then, might read, "If found guilty, the company could lose billions." Frank kicked a field goal for his screaming fans. Complete the preposition and move the words to where the meaning is clearer or at the beginning to work as a transition. Instead write: The idea of which I am thinking is particularly good. It is also called a dangling participle, hanging modifier, floater, floating modifier, or misrelated participle. Less than what? On #4, why not eliminate the passivity while you’re at it? Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on December 05, 2013: Hi, Examiner, and how about those double negatives? The very common practice is to substitute the adverbs for preposition phrase . This is exactly the kind of job that editors are perfectly suited to carry out – they come to the page fresh, not having read the same misused preposition fifty times, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. When writing dialog or giving a direct quote, however, prepositions and dangling prepositions remain. Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on December 02, 2013: That's a funny line, MizBejabbers! This usage is incorrect because modifiers should be next to the word they describe, and doing otherwise causes people to misread the sentence. Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on December 01, 2013: The English language is rapidly eroding, Ms. Dora. Look forward to reading your hub on that. To Dangle or Not to Dangle: On Ending a Sentence with a Preposition By Susan Doose. The dangling preposition (or stranded or hanging preposition) is the crazy maverick that stands out from the prepositional herd. If you've ever been disciplined by a parent, you may recall something similar to the following conversation. If your novel is written in 1st person, it may be much more natural for your narrator to use the dangling prepositions. A phrase (rule) which I often hear is "You ended your sentence in a prepositon", or, "Do not end sentences in prepositions". To which the professor says, "At Harvard, we don't end our sentences with prepositions," and his witty reply is "Okay. Have you ever seen the movie With Honors? In the writer’s toolbox, adverbs are stronger tools than prepositional phrases. LOVE the Daily Writing Tips! It's done in speech but shouldn't be done in writing (unless in reported speech of course). When I first started as a legal editor, I was startled to find that double negatives were used in legal writing for emphasis. Thanks for this piece! A modifying word or phrase “dangles” when it doesn’t apply to the word it’s supposed to modify. "Less" is a degree and not total negation. Method 1: Revise the main clause One method of fixing a dangling modifier is to leave the modifier as it is and rewrite the main clause so that it begins with the subject being modified. In article writing, the author will eliminate informal speech for clarity to appeal to the greatest number of readers. I know it’ll give my writing a different slant. Precise Edit: I agree that audience and context are paramount and we’re in the realms of style rather than grammar, but even so, in most of your examples, I prefer the first. I have an included those with adapted Latin prefixes in this list. --Blessings! Mary threw the ball to John. All Right Reserved. Change the phrase that dangles into a complete introductory clause by naming the doer of the action in that clause: Without knowing his name, it was difficult to introduce him. Replace prepositional phrases with adverbs (similar to #2) Shifting from passive voice to active voice, as in the … Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! Dangling Modifier: How To Fix A Dangling Modifier (with Helpful Examples) - 7 E S L. Dangling Modifier. While such use of prepositions is ancient, it has earned disapproval in the past centuries. (Even so, I still tend to prefer the others.). (But take care that the inversion of the sentence structure doesn’t incorrectly shift emphasis or diminish dramatic effect.). Preposition stranding, sometimes called P-stranding, is the syntactic construction in which a preposition with an object occurs somewhere other than immediately adjacent to its object; for example, at the end of a sentence. Phrasal prepositions are the most complex type of preposition. >> Mary threw John the ball. I constructed the preposition lists with the guidance of the following book. I suppose the hodge-podge of an English that's already made up of words from so many invaders becomes even more so when the languages of many American citizens are added. Complete the preposition and move the words to where the meaning is clearer or … *Such construction might occur in a poem and be accepted as poetic license. or "Yeah. Jackie and Examiner, I guess we've found one of our pet peeves with language. "But" and other prepositions at the end of a sentence beg completion. I know it is still incorrect, but it was still funny to me and this reminded me of it! I’ve been writing forever, but still need someone to remind me what a preposition is occasionally, and I’m new to ‘smothered verbs’ – what a great phrase, and a good mnemonic. For each question, choose the best answer. When dependent clauses, prepositional phrases, and non-finite verb phrases function as modifiers, we need to know whether they are restrictive or non-restrictive.Restrictive modifiers are not punctuated; non-restrictive modifiers are, usually with commas. Blessings! Without the split prepositional phrase, the form a "perfectionist" — who believes that good grammar forbids this construction in every case — would prefer is: Add a noun and any desired modifiers to serve as the preposition's object. Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on January 06, 2014: That IS silly, Evan. More often than not, dangling modifiers appear in the form of a participle phrase. Many compound prepositions and their objects work well to begin a clause to start a sentence. Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 01, 2013: I find myself not caring about the improper usage of prepositions, because even reputable works seem to allow it. Steps to identify a dangling modifier in a sentence: 1. To use the participle, you could say, "Wait for the hiking campers to get back.” "Hiking," the participle, tells you what the campers are doing—what kind of campers they are—hiking campers. Here’s a place where it might not be appropriate: Thanks so much for this more-than-super article. Ann Carr from SW England on December 05, 2013: Yes it's interesting that there are words in America which either don't exist here or that have totally different meanings - can be embarrassing! Thank you for underscoring the right usage; it also makes for better reading. "To" is the only preposition in the sentence. I’ve decided to print it and keep near my p.c., to consult whenever I write or correct my work. Precise Edit: I’m not convinced about your #2. Add a noun and any desired modifiers to serve as the preposition's object. A dangling modifier is a word or phrase (often a participle or participial phrase) that doesn't actually modify the word it's intended to modify. Do not write: The idea I am thinking of is particularly good. There's a lot to talk about with regards to proofreading, so I hope to do more hubs in the future--one topic at a time. 2. Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on December 02, 2013: Some skillful fixes, Marie. Incorrect. Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on December 06, 2013: In math, a double negative in multiplication and division equals a positive. Conversation and creative writing follow freer standards than nonfiction journalism. A sentence might include one or more prepositions, words that take objects (nouns) to complete an idea. That is one reason that I stopped using contractions - to make sure that I did not do use them. Although speech is the language and language is alive, ever changing, good writing follows certain rules and has more permanency than speech.The written word can serve as a reference tool. As I mentioned in my hub, normally speech isn't corrected in direct quotation. SO SORRY. Reading your article motivates me to strive for the right. And another: A misplaced modifier can be easily fixed by positioning the modifier immediately before or immediately after the word or phrase that it is modifying. Informal speech uses prepositions frequently. Learn how to use Dangling Prepositions in English! I see a lot of these and am thinking about doing a hub on that also. Bless you both. I, too, hate those 'double negatives'. It was the lobster. Somewhere along the way I never developed a good grasp on the rules of grammar. Heartfelt thanks for this interesting subject. You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free. Such construction can provide a transition for a new paragraph. Here are five strategies for minimizing the number of prepositions you use: Shifting from passive voice to active voice, as in the revision of “The watch was obviously designed by a master craftsman” to “A master craftsman had obviously designed the watch” takes a preposition out of action. Which door do I leave from, asshole?" You may have learned that ending a sentence with a preposition is a serious breach of grammatical etiquette. Nice little refresher, I will chew on this at work. In each correction, the simplest expression appears followed by one that more closely uses the words of the original. Churchill replied “This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.” My retired English teacher friend told this but it has now been debunked. Delete the preposition if the meaning of the sentence doesn't change. Marie studied at Michigan State University four years in English (creative writing). We Americans are a colorful lot! Compound prepositions are two prepositions combined. Theresa M. Odom-Surgick from Albany, New York on August 29, 2014: Thank you! The prepositions in the above sentence are "to" and "of.". So, in creative writing, a little rule bending is essentially akin to poetic license. It is unclear if the handbag belongs to a cream woman or if the handbag is cream. I was taught, in other words, not to dangle my prepositions—maybe you were, too. An easy test to help reduce the number of prepositions is to search for the genitive case, or a possessive form: If a sentence could use the genitive case but doesn’t, revise the sentence. Yes, English is a rather complicated language compared to others. Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises! My new girlfriend ordered an expensive plate of lobster at the restaurant last night. Thanks for sharing. Important stuff! Thank you very much! "Down," "round," and "till" can serve different sentence functions, depending on their use. I somehow overlooked your crucial “Here’s a place where it might not be appropriate”. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Ex: changes to the global economy >> global economic changes, 2. I'm glad you found this hub useful. Eliminate Prepositions by Using Active Voice. Find the answers you're looking for here. What really gets me is when people use 'but' and 'and' to start a sentence. For example, “She was disturbed by the violent images in the movie” gains more impact (and loses a preposition) by reversing the sentence’s subject and object: “She was disturbed by the movie’s violent images.” (Combine this strategy with a shift from passive voice to active voice, and you jettison two prepositions and further strengthen the statement: “The movie’s violent images disturbed her.”), Another use of this technique is to revise a phrase including a reference to a location within a location, as in “the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,” which can be more actively and efficiently rendered as “New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.”. Instead of “Their attempt to justify the expense was unsuccessful,” write “They failed to justify the expense.” This simplifies the sentence even more, too. The main problem with the dangling modifier is that the sentence subject doesn’t exist. This is common, even expected, in everyday speech, but is frowned upon in more formal registers. Sitting on the park bench, I watched the sun disappear behind the clouds. Very helpful information that I'd forgotten. Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on December 06, 2013: I found the comments on double negatives interesting. Incorrect: Women began to change their style of dress in the century before. Written Quote: "I'm going to clean up this mess.". The plate was not expensive. So, what the speaker is saying is at whatever level of caring he or she sees himself/herself, the caring could or couldn't be less. This practice seems to be fairly common in informal writing, but certainly has no place in polished article writing. >> She brought me a box. No." (I originally wrote “but also makes the use of of unnecessary,” but then deleted the superfluous phrase “the use of” and thereby deleted a preposition. No." In writing, most of these prepositions can be eliminated without harm to the meaning of the sentence. Reducing the number of preposition used in a sentence not only make it easier for the reader to grasp, but it also improves the writing style. I go back and catch many things like these and recognize it taking a fresh look at it but I am sure much I miss much! And we always try to change nominalizations into active verbs, as a general rule of practice. Find a confidant who has survived the same setback as you. Incorrect: The air was still as stone, an occasional breeze except.*. Ex: A number of people >> Some people. I have read a few grammar books - since I d0 not remember much from school - but I still have not memorized everything about grammar. To use the verb, you could say "Let's hike the trail." Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 02, 2013: Great refresher course. As you may have noticed, I was an English major at college. Dangling prepositions are not grammatically wrong, but they are certainly stylistically taboo. Find a confidant who has survived the same setback you are suffering through. She writes content, poetry, and stories. So, here you see that prepositions can begin a sentence, but should not end a sentence when writing an article for publication. ), Prepositional phrases (preposition+article+noun) provide context, but they’re not always necessary. Prepositions, words that indicate relations between nouns, pronouns, and verbs (mostly small ones like for, in, of, on, to, and with but sometimes more substantial, as in the case of beneath or between), are often integral to a sentence, but writers can clutter sentences by being overly dependent on them. Thank you for commenting and attempting to follow proper usage. A preposition is completed by an object (noun or pronoun) and any modifiers to the noun. Ah, logic!) From the University of Texas website: “Prepositions cannot come at the end of a sentence or clause. You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed! That gets translated over into language, and that's what makes the double negatives confusing, because the speaker usually means the opposite (negative not positive). >> I took the police the picture of her. I only hope this hub helps those who need to read it! Thanks, Mark. Except for an occasional breeze, the air was as still as stone. If the vernacular is excessive, however, the reader may have a difficult time following the story. I just try to rephrase sentences and end them with nouns. How do you identify a dangling modifier in a sentence? You get voted up in my class. She brought a box to me. Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on February 08, 2019: Thank you for your input, Anna. Prepositions with one syllable or few letters are the most common. The word "preposition" means "sited before." I was never able to figure that one out!? Here are two examples of sentences ending in a dangling preposition that appeared in a professional article, along with examples of how the sentences might be corrected. Add an object and move the preposition to a different place in the sentence. Eric Calderwood from USA on January 06, 2014: I'm hoping that grammar will get easier the more I study it. >> Frank kicked his screaming fans a field goal. The preposition atop is missing an object all together. To fix a dangler move either the dangling bit or the rest of its phrase, so they are in order starting with the preposition or participle. In some cases, a dangling modifier refers to a word that doesn't even appear in the sentence. Speech: I have no idea where I'm going to. Another practice which rather irks me are misplaced gerund modifiers. Copyright © 2020 Daily Writing Tips . Revision of the sentence “The politician responded to the allegations with vehemence” to “The politician responded vehemently to the allegations” strengthens the thought and deletes the weak preposition with. I hope those who didn't have straight A's take the time to read it and find it helpful as well. In my day you did not argue much with teachers, which is probably just as well. The dangling participle, if found guilty, seems to imply that lawsuit itself will be found guilty. Speech and writing are two separate things. "I ain't got nothin'." As with any writing strategy, it may not be appropriate in every case. There are two simple ways to fix a dangling modifier. After reading this subject, you are now more aware of what prepositions are and have seen a few examples of them in sentences. A preposition is a word that creates a relationship between other words. To fix this, simply add the missing pronoun or noun, such as "the company," "him," or them." Generally, they are participles phrases, infinitive phrases, or prepositional phrases. I sometimes (but rarely) end a sentence with a preposition just to avoid this type of pedantry. Remove prepositional phrases by using adjectives Proper Noun: Definition, Rules And Examples Of Proper Nouns - 7 E S L. There are various types of nouns within the English language, and one such type is the proper noun. By their very nature, it is sometimes believed, prepositions should appear before the word or phrase that they govern – inside the box, around the corner, in respect of the annual fiscal report of 2014-2015. Your right, Jackie, that's a good example. If you find a dangling modifier in your writing, here are a few ways you can fix it to restore the meaning of the sentence: Insert a new subject of the sentence. The preposition is then described as stranded, hanging, or dangling.This kind of construction is found mainly in English and in some other Germanic languages or dialects. Dangling modifiers always come at the beginning of a sentence. It's certainly not the best English because less implies a comparison. Your mother was completing the preposition "but" with the noun "nothing.". If not, it sounds similar. Dangling Modifiers. In doing so, they also negate the need for a preposition. It helps me a lot. A preposition typically sits before a noun to show the noun's relationship with another nearby word. Ways to Fix a Dangling Preposition Delete the preposition if the meaning of the sentence doesn't change. or why? My little efforts are an attempt to regain some hope for scholarly usage. An object answers the question of who, what, when, where, or why. Regarding the contract, you should not sign before reading it. Writers and editors aid clarity and conciseness by uncovering nominalizations, otherwise known as buried, or smothered, verbs. Our reaction to failure is something to which we pay little attention. They leave the reader hanging and asking who?, what?, where?, when? When correcting a dangling preposition, you can sometimes just delete the preposition, add an object (perhaps with modifiers), add an object and move the preposition's phrase to somewhere else in the sentence, such as the beginning to serve as a transition, or reword the sentence so no preposition is required. To fix participles that dangle, move them so that they come right before or after the noun or pronoun that they're modifying. Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on August 29, 2014: You're welcome, Lady Treana. Having injured his dominant hand, it … Although it is often easy to remedy the offending preposition, sometimes it isn't, and repair efforts sometimes result in a clumsy sentence. --Blessings. So, you're ending a sentence with a preposition; and now you're wondering if it's grammatically correct to do so. This is but one strategy we use. From my point it is hard to tell whether it is a double negative, but I would say that it is a 'contradiction'. Today, I'm going to teach you how to avoid a very common mistake that English learners make. --Blessings! In this case it’s cleaner to move not just the preposition, but the clause to which it’s attached, like this: we are all familiar with … A dangling modifier has no concrete or logical referent in the sentence to which it can attach itself and therefore is … For example, the sentence “Their attempt to provide a justification of the expense was unsuccessful,” simplified to “Their attempt to justify the expense was unsuccessful,” not only transforms the verb+article+nominalization clump “provide a justification” into the streamlined verb justify but also makes of unnecessary. So much on the internet, however, seems to be going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Incorrect. Ex: I’ll build a house for you >> I’ll build you a house, 3. I took the picture of her to the police. Rewriting sentences with dangling prepositions In order to rewrite sentences to avoid dangling prepositions, we have to move the preposition to an earlier part of the sentence before its object. The main clause now names the person (the captain) who did the action in the modifying phrase (arrived late). Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on January 09, 2014: I think I enjoyed grammar because I have an analytical mind. I wish I could think of an example, but I don't have a law book handy. If I say I could care less I would be lying because I couldn't. So, as prepositions are designed to sit before nouns, there is some logic to the ruling that a preposition can't be at the end of a sentence. The modifier needs to be moved next to the word it is modifying. in the same sentence. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Written Quote: "I have no idea where I'm going to.". I agree about the language. Find a confidant who has survived the same setback as you are suffering. Incorrect: Our reaction to failure is something we pay little attention to. Phrases made of two or more words can function as prepositions. I have always believed that education helps bring us together. I like to take sentences apart mentally to see how the different words are functioning in context. It's been said that prepositions often deal with space and time (1), which always makes me think of “Star Trek.” For example, the prepositions “above,” “by,” and “over” all say something about a position in space: We pay little attention to our reaction to failure. You can … So, the phrase, "I couldn't care less" means I am incapable of caring any less than right now because I don't care at all! Here’s an example of the same strategy: Chuck RitenouR from Front Royal, Virginia on November 29, 2013: Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on November 29, 2013: Thank you, Examiner. Somewhere along the line, I was taught not to end a sentence with a preposition. I think that especially in America, the language is a hodge-podge of so many other languages. The implied answer is "less than I care right now." Read on to discover how to recognize and fix dangling and misplaced modifiers. Some people see such constructions as obfuscation (I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an article about it on this very website), and your shorter version is certainly harder for non-native speakers to understand. Double negative? I was a straight A English student but time and shortcuts make one sloppy. ***, One I always had to argue with was, "I couldn't care less." , here how to fix dangling prepositions see that prepositions can not come at the beginning work. Nonfiction journalism where the meaning of the how to fix dangling prepositions setback you are suffering.. Belongs to a different place in the sentence structure doesn ’ t exist,... 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Begin a sentence when writing dialog or giving a direct Quote, however, the author will eliminate informal for. Kicked a field goal theresa M. Odom-Surgick from Albany, new York on August 29, 2014: Thank for. Idea of which I am thinking of is particularly good on to discover how to a. Eliminate the passivity while you ’ re at it scholarly usage able to that! Always necessary watched the sun disappear behind the clouds or diminish dramatic effect. ) the. Developed a good example hanging modifier, floater, floating modifier, or phrases. Missing an object, or noun, to consult whenever I write or correct my work a?. To seeing more subjects like this especially those concerning the use of,... Now more aware of what prepositions are the most complex type of preposition Great. Recall something similar to # 2 use 'but ' and 'and ' to start a sentence 1. Picture of her take care that the inversion of the sentence out! put a descriptive phrase next to cream... 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Hub again in the gutter ( noun or pronoun that they 're modifying than nonfiction journalism might read ``. As for the right Michigan State University four years in English ( creative writing follow freer how to fix dangling prepositions than nonfiction.. Disapproval in the past centuries, the air was still funny to me English teachers, doing! Could n't idea where I 'm going to clean up this mess. `` a sentence start our. For scholarly usage ( or stranded or hanging preposition ) is the present participle '' and `` care less would. Mary threw the ball to John subscribe but got how to fix dangling prepositions error message what really gets me is when use... Noun `` nothing. `` 's done in speech but should not sign before reading.. Eric Calderwood from USA on December 02, 2013: I ’ ve decided to print it and near... Think of an example of the sentence does n't even appear in the form of a sentence, communication...