GMAT Verbal : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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.

Noticing the dates while they walked, the sun beat down on the children as they strolled through the orchard.

Possible Answers:

Noticing the dates that littered the ground, the sun beat down on the children as they strolled through the orchard.

Dates strolled through the orchard while the children beat down on the sun.

Noticing the dates that littered the ground, the children strolled through the orchard as the sun beating down on them.

The children noticed the dates as they strolled, through the orchard while the sun beat down on them.

Noticing the dates that littered the ground, the children strolled through the orchard as the sun beat down on them.

Correct answer:

Noticing the dates that littered the ground, the children strolled through the orchard as the sun beat down on them.

Explanation:

This sentence contains a dangling participle. A dangling participle is a participle in an introductory phrase that makes reference to the wrong noun. As written, it appears as if "the sun" is doing the "noticing," when "the children" should be the ones doing the "noticing." Rearranging the sentence so that "the children" is the noun that follows the introductory phrase rids the sentence of its dangling participle.

Example Question #251 : Correcting 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Rounding the corner, the mountains loomed large in front of the group.

Possible Answers:

Rounding the corner the mountains loomed large in front of the group.

The mountains loomed large in front of the group as they rounded the corner.

Rounding the corner, the mountains loomed large in front of the group.

Rounding the corner: the mountains loomed large in front of the group.

The mountains loomed large rounding the corner in front of the group.

Correct answer:

The mountains loomed large in front of the group as they rounded the corner.

Explanation:

The phrase "Rounding the corner" is a type of error is known as a "dangling modifier." What is described as "rounding" is not "the mountains" as the sentence's construction implies by having "the mountains" immediately follow the introductory phrase "Rounding the corner." "The group" is the noun being described by "Rounding the corner," so to correct this sentence's ambiguity, the sentence should be arranged so that "the group" is the noun that immediately follows "Rounding the corner." Thus, the correct answer is "The mountains loomed large in front of the group as they rounded the corner."

Example Question #301 : Correcting 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Although captured and executed, Americans still remember Nathan Hale for his patriotism and bravery during the revolution.

Possible Answers:

Nathan Hale is still remembered by Americans for his patriotism and bravery

the patriotism and bravery of Nathan Hale is still remembered by Americans

Americans still remember the patriotism and bravery of Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale, still remembered by Americans for his patriotism and Bravery

Americans still remember Nathan Hale for his patriotism and bravery

Correct answer:

Nathan Hale is still remembered by Americans for his patriotism and bravery

Explanation:

When the sentence begins with a descriptive phrase (e.g. prepositional or adverbial), the subject of that phrase should immediately follow. Only two choices correctly place the Subject, but one omits the primary verb, creating a new structure issue.

Example Question #371 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Gazing into the night sky, the stars prompted Galileo to invent one of the first telescopes.

Possible Answers:

Gazing into the night sky, the stars prompted Galileo

Gazing into the night sky, the stars had prompted Galileo

Gazing into the night sky, Galileo

Gazing into the night sky, Galileo prompted the stars

Gazing into the night sky, Galileo was prompted by the stars

Correct answer:

Gazing into the night sky, Galileo was prompted by the stars

Explanation:

This sentence contains a dangling participle. The way the sentence is phrased, the introductory phrase "Gazing into the night sky" appears to describe "the stars" instead of "Galileo." The only answer choice that corrects this issue while creating a grammatically correct sentence is "Gazing into the night sky, Galileo was prompted by the stars."

Example Question #61 : Modifier Placement 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Working out the kinks in his invention, the machine was exhibited by the tinkerer in 1904.

Possible Answers:

the machine was exhibiting by the tinkerer in 1904.

the tinkerer exhibited the machine in 1904.

the machine was exhibited by the tinkerer in 1904.

the machine exhibited by the tinkerer in 1904.

the machine was exhibited in 1904 by the tinkerer.

Correct answer:

the tinkerer exhibited the machine in 1904.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in a manner that makes it appear that "the machine" was "working out the kinks," when the only logical noun to do this action is "the tinkerer." The sentence needs to be rearranged so as to indicate clearly who was doing the "working," a task best achieved by the answer choice "the tinkerer exhibited the machine in 1904."

Example Question #2221 : Act English

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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Walking out of the house, the breeze nearly knocked the girl down.

Possible Answers:

Walking out of the house made the breeze nearly knock the girl down.

The breeze nearly knocking the girl down as walking out of the house.

The breeze nearly knocked the girl down as she walked out of the house.

Walking out of the house so the breeze nearly knocked the girl down.

Walking out of the house, the breeze nearly knocked the girl down.

Correct answer:

The breeze nearly knocked the girl down as she walked out of the house.

Explanation:

The sentence as written features a dangling modifier, which makes the sentence read as though "the breeze" was "walking out of the house." The sentence needs to be rearranged to make it clear that the girl was the one doing the walking. The only answer choice that does this is "The breeze nearly knocked the girl down as she walked out of the house."

Example Question #61 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Flying into the city, the smog was visible to everyone on the plane.

Possible Answers:

Flying into the city, everyone on the plane was visible to the smog.

The smog was visible to everyone on the plane flying into the city.

The smog visible to everyone on the plane flying into the city.

Everyone on the plane was visible with smog flying into the city.

Flying into the city, the smog was visible to everyone on the plane.

Correct answer:

The smog was visible to everyone on the plane flying into the city.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in a way that makes it appear that "the smog" was the thing "flying into the city." The sentence needs to be restructured to show that the plane, and the people on it, were "flying into the city." The answer choice that best clarifies the meaning of the sentence is "The smog was visible to everyone on the plane flying into the city."

Example Question #1891 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Working diligently in the garden, the weeds were being removed one by one by the farmer.

Possible Answers:

the weeds were removed by the farmer one by one

the farmer had been working to remove the weeds one by one

the weeds were being removed one by one by the farmer

one by one, the weeds were removed by the farmer

the farmer removed the weeds one by one

Correct answer:

the farmer removed the weeds one by one

Explanation:

The sentence is incorrect because it has a dangling modifier. The thing “working diligently in the garden” is the farmer, not the weeds, so it should start with “the farmer” directly after the comma. Also, “removed” is the most precise and least redundant verb tense to use. 

Example Question #51 : 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Walking at night through the graveyard, noises always seem much creepier than they actually are during daylight.

Possible Answers:

Walking at night through the graveyard, people hear noises that seem

Walking at night through the graveyard, noises always seem

Walking in night in the graveyard, noises always seem

Walking through the graveyard at night, noises always seem

Walking at night through the graveyard, noises seem always

Correct answer:

Walking at night through the graveyard, people hear noises that seem

Explanation:

The sentence as written contains what is known as a "dangling modifer," as the introductory clause does not describe action taken by the subject, "noises." This means the sentence needs to be fixed to make the subject fit with its modifying clause. The best choice among the answers is "Walking at night through the graveyard, people hear noises that seem."

Example Question #51 : 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

After eating a pan of cake, Jimmy's stomach felt ill.

Possible Answers:

After eating a pan of cake, Jimmy's stomach had been feeling ill.

After eating a pan of cake, Jimmy's stomach felt ill.

After eating a pan of cake, Jimmy's stomach feels ill.

Jimmy, after having ate a pan of cake, felt ill.

After eating a pan of cake, Jimmy felt ill.

Correct answer:

After eating a pan of cake, Jimmy felt ill.

Explanation:

The modifier is "after eating a pan of cake." The only conceivable thing that could eat a pan of cake is Jimmy, not his stomach. So, the initial modifying phrase needs to be placed next to "Jimmy" in the sentence so that it is clear to the reader that this is what is happening. This means that "Jimmy" needs to immediately follow the sentence's initial modifying phrase. "Jimmy, after having ate a pan of cake, felt ill" is incorrect due to the incorrect verb construction "having ate." The correct verb phrase would be "having eaten."

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