GMAT Verbal : Correcting Dangling Modifier Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #61 : 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.

Caring for a pet, responsibility is something children can learn.

Possible Answers:

Responsibility is something children can learn by caring for a pet.

Caring for a pet responsibility is something children can learn.

Caring for a pet, responsibility is learned by children.

Caring for a pet, responsibility is something children learn.

Caring for a pet, responsibility is something children can learn.

Correct answer:

Responsibility is something children can learn by caring for a pet.

Explanation:

With the sentence phrased the way it is, the thing that is "caring for a pet" appears to be "responsibility." This dangling modifier needs to be changed to make it clear that "children" are "caring for a pet." The correct answer choice is "Responsibility is something children can learn by caring for a pet."

Example Question #72 : 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.

Having tallied all of the votes in the municipal election, the candidates hoped for the best as the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results.

Possible Answers:

the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results with the candidates hoping for the best

the candidates hoped for the best as the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results

the candidates hoped for the best, and the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results

the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results as the candidates hoped for the best

the candidates, hoping for the best, as the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results

Correct answer:

the election officials meticulously reviewed the final results as the candidates hoped for the best

Explanation:

The modifier "Having tallied . . ." must modify "the election officials," so "the election officials" must be the subject of the sentence. Otherwise, the opening clause of the sentence would be considered a dangling modifier.

Example Question #73 : 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.

Feared throughout the company for his fiery temper, the VP's reputation preceded him.

Possible Answers:

Feared throughout the company for his fiery temper is the VP, whose reputation preceded him.

Feared throughout the company for his fiery temper, the VP's reputation preceded him.

Feared throughout the company for his fiery temper, the VP's reputation is one that preceded him.

Feared throughout the company for a fiery temper, the VP's reputation preceded him.

Feared throughout the company for his fiery temper, the VP had a reputation that preceded him.

Correct answer:

Feared throughout the company for his fiery temper, the VP had a reputation that preceded him.

Explanation:

The modifier "Feared throughout the company..." modifies "the VP" as a person, not the "VP's reputation," which is the subject of the main clause. The subject that a modifier modifies must correspond. In other words, "the VP" has to be the subject of the following clause, not "the VP's reputation." When a dependent introductory clause modifies a subject that is not the subject of the main clause it creates what is called a dangling modifier.

Example Question #81 : 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.

Trying to keep her balance on the tightrope, the trapeze artist’s toe caught the rope and somersaulted onto the net below.

Possible Answers:

the toes of the trapeze artist caught the rope and somersaulted onto the net below.

the trapeze artist’s toes caught the rope and somersaulted onto the net below.

the trapeze artist caught the rope with her toes and somersaulted onto the net below.

the trapeze artist caught the rope with her toes, which made her somersault onto the net below.

the trapeze artist somersaulted onto the net below when her toes were caught in the rope.

Correct answer:

the trapeze artist caught the rope with her toes and somersaulted onto the net below.

Explanation:

After the comma we need the name of the person. In this sentence the dependent introductory clause (which is not underlined) is "her" which cannot describe a "toe." In order to fix this dangling modifier, the subject of the main clause needs to be changed to "the trapeze artist."

Example Question #82 : 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.

Although not nearly as well-known a monarch as his son Charlemagne, historians consider Pepin the Short almost as important to the success of the Carolingian dynasty.

Possible Answers:

Although not nearly as well known a monarch as

Although not nearly as well-known a monarch as

While not a monarch as nearly well-known as

While he is not as nearly a monarch as well-known as

Although he is not nearly as well-known a monarch as

Correct answer:

Although he is not nearly as well-known a monarch as

Explanation:

There are two major errors here: a modification error; and an idiomatic expression that must be in the correct form, "the idiom X is not nearly as well-known a Y as Z[is]."

As the phrase Although not… Charlemagne would be nonsensical as a description of the historians instead of Pepin the Short, the first clause must become an independent clause by inserting "he is." Moreover, the idiom must be corrected to "he is not nearly as well-known a monarch as … Charlemagne [is]."

Example Question #83 : 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.

Striving all night to complete the level, the game transported Richard through various water worlds filled with otherworldly creatures.

Possible Answers:

Striving all night to complete the level, the game carried Richard

Striving all night to complete the level, the game's transport of Richard

Striving all night through the beautifully designed levels, Richard was transported

Striving all night to complete the level, the game transported Richard

Striving all night to complete the level, the game took Richard

Correct answer:

Striving all night through the beautifully designed levels, Richard was transported

Explanation:

This is a classic dangling modifier error. The dangling modifier should always be followed by the noun it modifies. In this case, the only answer choice which correctly resolves this issue also implements the passive voice. Although this might dissuade you, it is important to weigh your options and ask yourself what the nature of the problem is and which answer choice resolves that issue.

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