ACT English : Dangling Modifier Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #1241 : Psat Writing Skills

Under the heavy weight, the rock was crushing the people trapped underneath.

Possible Answers:

the rock was crushing people who were trapped underneath.

the rock crushing the people trapped underneath.

the people being underneath trapping by the rock's crushing.

the rock was crushing the people trapped underneath.

the people trapped underneath the rock were being crushed.

Correct answer:

the people trapped underneath the rock were being crushed.

Explanation:

The sentence is confusingly written, as the modifier clause "Under the heavy weight" reads as though it is describing the rock. Actually the "people trapped underneath" are the ones "Under the heavy weight," and the sentence should be reworded to reflect this and clear up the confusion. The answer choice that does this and becomes clear is "the people trapped underneath the rock were being crushed."

Example Question #21 : Correcting Modifier Placement Errors

Behind the rock, the bullets could not hit the soldiers.

Possible Answers:

Behind the rock, where the bullets could not hit the soldiers.

Behind the rock, the bullets could not hit the soldiers.

The soldiers being not hit by bullets behind the rock.

The bullets could not hit the soldiers behind the rock.

Behind the rock the bullets could not hit the soldiers.

Correct answer:

The bullets could not hit the soldiers behind the rock.

Explanation:

As the sentence is written, it makes it seem like the bullets are behind the rock instead of the soldiers. The sentence needs to be reworded to clarify the sentence, and make it clear who is hiding where and from what. The answer choice that does this best is "The bullets could not hit the soldiers behind the rock."

Example Question #21 : Dangling Modifier Errors

Walking out the door, the bright sunshine blinded the shoppers.

Possible Answers:

the shoppers blinding the sunshine.

the bright sunshine blinding the shoppers.

the bright sunshine blinds the shoppers.

the shoppers were blinded by the bright sunshine.

the bright sunshine blinded the shoppers.

Correct answer:

the shoppers were blinded by the bright sunshine.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in a manner that makes it appear the sunshine is what is "walking out the door." The underlined portion of the sentence must be reworded to make it clear the shoppers are the ones doing the walking. The answer choice that best fixes this problem is "the shoppers were blinded by the bright sunshine."

Example Question #1251 : Psat Writing Skills

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.

Like his father before him, the army was something the boy always wanted to join.

Possible Answers:

the boy wanted something to join the army.

the army was something the boy wanted always to join.

the army was something the boy always wanted to join.

the boy always wanted to join the army.

the army was a thing the boy always wanted to join.

Correct answer:

the boy always wanted to join the army.

Explanation:

The sentence is written with a dangling modifier. As it is written, it seems that "the army" always wanted to do something "like his father." The wording needs to be rearranged so that it is clear that "the boy" wanted to join the army "like his father" and the sentence's meaning is kept intact. The answer choice that does this the best is "the boy always wanted to join the army."

Example Question #21 : 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 into the restaurant, the big screen television dominated the patrons' view.

Possible Answers:

Coming into the restaurant, the big screen television dominating the patrons' view.

Coming into the restaurant as the big screen television dominated the patrons' view.

Coming into the restaurant, the big screen television dominated the patrons' view.

Coming into the restaurant, the patrons' view dominated the big screen television.

The big screen television dominated the patrons' view when they came into the restaurant.

Correct answer:

The big screen television dominated the patrons' view when they came into the restaurant.

Explanation:

The sentence is written to make it seem like the "big screen television" was what was "coming into the restaurant," as the sentence contains a dangling modifier. The sentence's word order should be switched around to make it clear that the patrons were coming into the restaurant. The only answer choice that does this is "The big screen television dominated the patrons' view when they came into the restaurant."

Example Question #21 : 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.

Hoping to make amends, the flowers were given to the young man's girlfriend.

Possible Answers:

Hoping to make amends, the flowers were given by the young man's girlfriend.

Hoping to make amends, the young man gave his girlfriend the flowers.

Hoping to make amends, the flowers were given for the young man's girlfriend.

Hoping to make amends, the flowers were given to the young man's girlfriend.

Hoping to make amends, the flowers gave to the young man's girlfriend.

Correct answer:

Hoping to make amends, the young man gave his girlfriend the flowers.

Explanation:

The sentence as it is written contains a dangling modifier, because it is unclear who or what was "hoping." The sentence needs to be rewritten to make it clear who is actually doing the "hoping." The answer choice that does this best is "Hoping to make amends, the young man gave his girlfriend the flowers."

Example Question #1852 : Correcting Grammatical 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.

Making plenty of mistakes, the project was taken away from the young associate.

Possible Answers:

Making plenty of mistakes, the project being taken away from the young associate.

The project was taken away from the young associate because he was making plenty of mistakes.

Making plenty of mistakes, the project was taken away from the young associate.

Making plenty of mistakes so the project was taken away from the young associate.

The project was taken away from the young associate because it made plenty of mistakes.

Correct answer:

The project was taken away from the young associate because he was making plenty of mistakes.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in such a way to make it seem like the "project" was "making plenty of mistakes." The sentence needs to be reworded and restructured to show that it was "the young associate" who was "making plenty of mistakes." The correct answer choice is the only answer choice that makes this clear, "The project was taken away from the young associate because he was making plenty of mistakes."

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.

Walking into the street, the parade blocked the pedestrians' path.

Possible Answers:

Walking into the street, the parade blocked the pedestrians' path.

Walking in the street, the parade blocked the pedestrians' path.

Walking into the street, the parade blocked the pedestrians path.

Walking into the street, the parade was blocking the pedestrians' path.

Walking into the street, the pedestrians had their path blocked by the parade.

Correct answer:

Walking into the street, the pedestrians had their path blocked by the parade.

Explanation:

The sentence contains a dangling modifier, making it seem as though the "parade" was "walking into the street." The sentence needs to be rearranged to make it clear that the "pedestrians" were walking. The only answer choice that does this is "Walking into the street, the pedestrians had their path blocked by the parade."

Example Question #22 : 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.

Moving into his new house, the wallpaper was completely renovated by the homeowner.

Possible Answers:

 the wallpaper were completely renovated by the homeowner.

the homeowner completely renovated the wallpaper.

 the wallpaper were completely renovation by the homeowner.

 the wallpaper completely renovated by the homeowner.

 the wallpaper was completely renovated by the homeowner.

Correct answer:

the homeowner completely renovated the wallpaper.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in such a way that it makes it seem like "the wallpaper" was "moving into his new house." The sentence needs to be rearranged to show that the "homeowner" is actually the one doing the moving. The only answer choice that does this is "the homeowner completely renovated the wallpaper."

Example Question #351 : Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

Under a great deal of stress, cooking a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager.

Possible Answers:

Cooking a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager, who was under a great deal of stress.

Under a great deal of stress cooking a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager.

Under a great deal of stress, cooking a meal was too hard for a newly-promoted manager.

Under a great deal of stress, to cook a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager.

Under a great deal of stress, cooking a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager.

Correct answer:

Cooking a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager, who was under a great deal of stress.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in such a way to make it appear that "cooking a meal" is what is "under a great deal of stress." The sentence needs to be rearranged and reworded to clarify this confusion. The answer choice that does this best is "Cooking a meal was too hard for the newly-promoted manager, who was under a great deal of stress."

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