by C. S. Lakin
I am most comfortable when I am copy editing—that is where I began as an editor—and no matter what type of edit I’m working on, I’m happiest when I’m sifting through the technicalities that are involved with grammar. Grammar is black and white, it’s right or it’s wrong, for the most part. There aren’t that many gray areas.
One of the areas where we see the most grammatical errors is participial phrases. These can be in the form of misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, and the dreaded nonsimultaneous participial phrase. That last one is my personal favorite. You know the one… “I drank my coffee, yelling at the kids to hurry up.” Yes, it goes against the logic of sequential action, considering you can’t actually drink and yell at the same time—unless you’d like to choke.
So imagine how happy I was to find this article, “3 Grammar Gremlins That Sometimes Sneak into Our Writing,” by C. S. Lakin at www.grammarly.com while doing some research for an edit. It has exactly the information I was looking for and provides clear examples of each topic. Unsure what a dangling participle is? It’s all laid out for you. Not quite sure why your editor said you had misplaced modifiers? There are some handy examples.
I know we’re not all total geeks like me, but this article has some great information about participial phrases that every writer should know. So check it out!