Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grammar Blunders

I have decided to institute a weekly, grammar blunder post to my blog line-up.  Fear not, I have made all of these errors myself; and, as my beta readers can attest, I am still making some of them. I am by no means a grammar perfectionist, so I decided to call on the expertise of my favorite copy-editor to help out with these posts.

In my mind, the comma splice is the most egregious offense a writer can make.  Copy-editor extraordinaire, of course, disagrees.  Her pet peeve --  the dreaded dangling participle.

What is a dangling participle phrase?  They are adjective clauses, often found at the beginning of a sentence, that are intended to modify something other then what it actually does. For example:
Having been dead for weeks, my brother dug up Mom’s rosebush.

In this instance, the participle phrase “having been dead for weeks” actually modifies “my brother” when the writer probably intended it to modify the rose bush.

Just keep in mind that your opening phrase, no matter how intriguing it may be, should always modify what immediately follows the comma. If it doesn’t, then you’ve got yourself a dangling participle and one very irritated copy-editor.  Sorry Mom!


  1. Good reminder. I probably need to go back and look for danglers. Two other ideas for your grammar blunders: ending senteces with prepositions and misplaced modifer.

  2. ahh yes Becky -- I will attack those next week once I clear them out of my own ms LOL!

  3. Get tip....

    Grammar is not my strongest point. Now if you could just explain the other thousands of rules in grammar. lol

    Just kidding. Have a great day.


  4. Great example! I'm def. guilty of using a few of those Bad Boys (DPs), but have been working to weed them out. So much of it is training your eyes/ears what to spot.

    Big grammar theme in the blog world today ... I love it/need it!

  5. well, it certainly would have been more interesting if it WAS the brother who had been dead for a week... ;) Great help on this one. I appreciate it!

  6. I definitely am an offender of those dangling participles. This was a good lesson for me, I'm definitely going to keep better track of how I use those. Thanks for the post!

  7. Dangling participles make some of the funniest reading!

  8. Yes, I just figured that sentence came from a zombie book...