ACT English : Dangling Modifier Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #3 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Coming around the corner, the skyscrapers came clearly into view across the river.

Possible Answers:

Coming around the corner, the people got a view of the skyscrapers across the river.

Coming around the corner, the skyscrapers came clearly into view across the river.

Coming around the corner, the skyscrapers are viewed clearly across the river.

Coming around the corner, the skyscrapers come clearly into view across the river.

Comes around the corner, the skyscrapers came clearly into view across the river.

Correct answer:

Coming around the corner, the people got a view of the skyscrapers across the river.

Explanation:

The sentence as written contains a dangling modifier, as the construction of the sentence implies the skyscrapers are what is "coming around the corner." The word order can be changed to make this much more clear. The correct answer is "Coming around the corner, the people got a view of the skyscrapers across the river." 

Example Question #4 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Coming upon the hills, the sun began setting behind the travelers.

Possible Answers:

As the travelers came upon the hill, the sun began setting behind them.

Coming upon the hills, the sun began setting behind the travelers.

As the sun began setting, travelers coming upon the hills.

Coming upon the hills, the sun set behind the travelers.

Coming upon the hills as the sun began setting begind the travelers.

Correct answer:

As the travelers came upon the hill, the sun began setting behind them.

Explanation:

The sentence as written contains a dangling modifier, in that "the sun" is not what is "coming upon the hills." The sentence needs to be rewritten to show that the travelers were the ones "coming upon the hills." "As the travelers came upon the hill, the sun began setting behind them," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Passing by the waterfront, the ducks and geese floated around as spectators strolled.

Possible Answers:

spectators strolled as the ducks and geese floated around.

the ducks and geese and spectators floated around and strolled.

spectators strolled but the ducks and geese floated around.

the ducks and geese were floating around as spectators strolled.

the ducks and geese floated around as spectators strolled.

Correct answer:

spectators strolled as the ducks and geese floated around.

Explanation:

The best answer fixes the dangling participle that starts the sentence (the subject of the main clause should be the one doing the action described in the opening phrase), and uses a logical coordinator.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

A power-hungry dictator who killed millions of people, I wrote my term paper on the infamous Joseph Stalin.

Possible Answers:

A power-hungry dictator who killed millions of people, my term paper was about the infamous Joseph Stalin.

A power-hungry dictator, I wrote my term paper on the infamous Joseph Stalin, who killed millions of people.

I wrote my term paper on the infamous Joseph Stalin, a power-hungry dictator who killed millions of people.

A power-hungry dictator who killed millions of people, I wrote my term paper on the infamous Joseph Stalin.

I wrote my term paper on the power-hungry dictator and he was the infamous Joseph Stalin.

Correct answer:

I wrote my term paper on the infamous Joseph Stalin, a power-hungry dictator who killed millions of people.

Explanation:

As it is written, the initial sentence suggests that the speaker and author of the term paper is a murderous dictator, which is almost certainly not the speaker's intended claim. To fix this, we need to bring the modifying clause closer to the person to whom it is referring. One way that we can do that is by reversing the order of the two clauses.

Example Question #11 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Forced to draw a freehand map of the United States, all of her knowledge of geography suddenly left her.

Possible Answers:

she forgot all of her knowledge of geography suddenly.

all of her knowledge of geography suddenly left her.

all of her knowledge of geography suddenly forgotten.

all of her knowledge of geography was suddenly leaving.

she suddenly forgot all of her knowledge of geography.

Correct answer:

she suddenly forgot all of her knowledge of geography.

Explanation:

This sentence has a dangling participle; its word order separates "forced to draw a freehand map of the United States" from its object, "her," by a significant amount. The sentence can be made clearer by making sure that the object described by its introductory phrase immediately follows that phrase. The best answer choice, "she suddenly forgot all of her knowledge of geography," fixes this and keeps the adverb “suddenly” close to its verb, resulting in the sentence, "Forced to draw a freehand map of the United States, she suddenly forgot all of her knowledge of geography."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Although she studied traditional French cuisine, food critics praised the master chef for her culinary innovations.

Possible Answers:

food critics praised the master chef for her culinary innovations.

food critics praised the master chef because of her culinary innovations.

the master chef received praise from critics for her culinary innovations.

food critics have praised the master chef for her culinary innovations.

food critics praising the master chef for her culinary innovations.

Correct answer:

the master chef received praise from critics for her culinary innovations.

Explanation:

The original text contains a misplaced modifier, making it sound as though the food critics were the ones who studied traditional French cuisine.

Only the answer choice "the master chef received praise from critics for her culinary innovations" avoids the misplaced modifier error because it places the person who did actually study traditional French cuisine—the master chef—immediately after the introductory modifying phrase.

Example Question #9 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Walking down the street, the time is something that Erica lost track of.

Possible Answers:

Walking down the street the time is something that Erika lost track of.

Walking down the street, the time lost track of Erica.

Walked down the street, the time is something that Erika lost track of.

Walking down the street, Erica lost track of the time.

Walking down the street, the time is something that Erika lost track of.

Correct answer:

Walking down the street, Erica lost track of the time.

Explanation:

The sentence as it is written contains a dangling modifier, because it appears that "the time" is "walking down the street." We need to rewrite the sentence so that it is apparent that "Erica" is the one who is "walking down the street." So, the correct answer is "Walking down the street, Erica lost track of the time."

Example Question #10 : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Alighting on the deck, the aircraft carrier shook from the force of the plane.

Possible Answers:

the aircraft carrier shaking from the force of the plane.

the aircraft carrier shakes from the force of the plane.

the aircraft carrier shook from the force of the plane.

the plane shook the aircraft carrier with its force.

the plane shaking the aircraft carrier's force.

Correct answer:

the plane shook the aircraft carrier with its force.

Explanation:

The sentence features a dangling modifier, making it seem like the "aircraft carrier" is the object "alighting," when in fact the plane "alights" on the carrier. To remedy this, the words must be rearranged to make the plane the subject of the sentence. "The plane shook the aircraft carrier with its force," is the only answer choice that does this and is completely grammatically correct.

Example Question #21 : Correcting Modifier Placement Errors

Rounding the corner, the park was right in front of the tourist group.

Possible Answers:

Rounding the corner, the park was right in front of the tourist group.

As the tourists rounded the corner, the park being right in front of them.

Rounding the corner, the park became right in front of the tourist group. 

Rounding the corner, the park was in right front of the tourist group.

As the tourists rounded the corner, the park was right in front of them.

Correct answer:

As the tourists rounded the corner, the park was right in front of them.

Explanation:

The sentence as written contains a dangling modifier, which confusingly makes it read like the park was what rounded the corner. The only answer choice that fixes this issue and is grammatically correct is "As the tourists rounded the corner, the park was right in front of them."

Example Question #22 : Correcting Modifier Placement Errors

Descending the stairs, the young man thought his prom date looked beautiful on the landing.

Possible Answers:

Descended the stairs

As she descended the stairs

Descending from the stairs

Descending the stairs

Descending of the stairs

Correct answer:

As she descended the stairs

Explanation:

The sentence indicates with its final phrase that the "prom date" was the one on the stairs, but is written like the "young boy" is the one "descending." The introductory phrase needs to be restructured to make this distinction clear. The only answer choice that does this is "As she descended the stairs."

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