SAT Writing : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

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Example Questions

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Example Question #146 : Identifying Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Observing from the summit, the valley that stood below Mike's tour group seemed unfathomably extensive and arid. No error

Possible Answers:

arid

Mike's

Observing from the summit,

No error 

unfathomably 

Correct answer:

Observing from the summit,

Explanation:

“Observing” is apart of a misplaced modifier that should refer to Mike's tour group, not the valley. The way the sentence is written, it seems as if "the valley" is "observing from the summit," not "Mike's tour group."

Example Question #147 : Identifying Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Damaged beyond repair, the tow truck hauled the totaled car away from the accident scene and to the local junkyard. No error

Possible Answers:

away from

hauled

No error

Damaged beyond repair,

scene and

Correct answer:

Damaged beyond repair,

Explanation:

“Damaged beyond repair” is a modifier that refers to the totaled car, but with its current placement it appears to be describing the (obviously functional) tow truck. The modifier should be moved next to “the totaled car.”

Example Question #148 : Identifying Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Facing snow, ice, and starvation, I can’t imagine how the early Arctic explorers survived their hazardous expeditions, some of which lasted for weeks. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

expeditions

early Arctic

Facing snow, ice, and starvation,

some of which

Correct answer:

Facing snow, ice, and starvation,

Explanation:

“Facing snow, ice, and starvation” is a dangling modifier, since it is obviously meant to describe not the speaker of the sentence but rather the Arctic explorers. To correct the sentence, the modifier would have to be moved next to the phrase it modifies.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Jumping up and down in joy, Annie's excitement was evident when she saw her sister, who had been deployed for nearly a year and whom she had dearly missed. No error

Possible Answers:

Jumping up and down in joy,

No error

who

sister,

nearly

Correct answer:

Jumping up and down in joy,

Explanation:

“Jumping up and down in joy” is a misplaced modifier that refers to “Annie," but as the sentence is currently written, is seems as if “Annie's excitement” is jumping up and down in joy, not Annie. The sentence should therefore be rephrased so that “Annie" is modified by the introductory phrase, e.g. "Jumping up and down in joy, Annie was excited when she saw her sister."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Smelling like old dirty socks, Andy threw the wheel of cheese into the dumpster at the end of the street. No error

Possible Answers:

of 

Smelling like old dirty socks

into the dumpster

No error

end

Correct answer:

Smelling like old dirty socks

Explanation:

"Smelling like old dirty socks" is a misplaced modifier that refers to the wheel of cheese, but in the current form of this sentence seems as if it is modifying Andy.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Barely hanging from the tree branch, the outstretched arms of its owner seemed like they were a million miles away from the scared kitten. No error

Possible Answers:

the scared kitten

they were

No error

Barely hanging from the tree branch,

its owner

Correct answer:

Barely hanging from the tree branch,

Explanation:

"Barely hanging from the tree branch" is a misplaced modifier in the current incarnation of this sentence, as it is modifying "the outstretched arms" rather than correctly referring to "the scared kitten."

Example Question #7 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Shaking the rafters of the old gymnasium, the varsity basketball team was overwhelmed by the hometown crowd's vigorous cheers after the epic championship victory. No error

Possible Answers:

No error 

was overwhelmed

epic

vigorous cheers

Shaking the rafters of the old gymnasium, 

Correct answer:

Shaking the rafters of the old gymnasium, 

Explanation:

"Shaking the rafters of the old gymnasium" is a misplaced modifier that is intended to refer to the crowd's vigorous cheers, but here incorrectly modifies "the varsity basketball team."

Example Question #8 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Facing a harsh winter and a lack of food in a new land, the students were engrossed in the story of how the Pilgrims survived their first winter in America. No error

Possible Answers:

were engrossed

Facing a harsh winter and a lack of food in a new land

No error

their first winter

how the Pilgrims

Correct answer:

Facing a harsh winter and a lack of food in a new land

Explanation:

"Facing a harsh winter and a lack of food in a new land" is a dangling modifier that should modify the Pilgrims, not the students. We will need to update the sentence so that the modifier more clearly reflects the correct noun.  

Example Question #9 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Projecting a stately demeanor as he descended from the helicopter, the Secret Service officer immediately stepped up to protect the smiling President. No error

Possible Answers:

to protect

Projecting a stately demeanor as he descended from the helicopter

No error

immediately

smiling

Correct answer:

Projecting a stately demeanor as he descended from the helicopter

Explanation:

"Projecting a stately demeanor as he descended from the helicopter" is a dangling modifier that should refer to the President, not to the Secret Service. 

Example Question #10 : Identifying Dangling Modifier Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all. 

Shaking every building in the downtown area, Winona crouched in the corner of her bedroom when the massive earthquake hit. No error

Possible Answers:

hit

No error

Shaking every building in the downtown area

in

when

Correct answer:

Shaking every building in the downtown area

Explanation:

"Shaking every building in the downtown area" is a dangling modifier that should correctly refer to "when the massive earthquake hit" and not to Winona. 

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