Dangling modifier

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HifaMo

Senior Member
Moroccan Arabic
Hi,

My textbook writes:

The fact that women are still getting a worse deal than men, losing out on work, wages, education and rights, is now widely accepted.

I think the above underlined part is a dangling modifier since it seems to modify men not women.

I would write:
The fact that women are still getting a worse deal than men is now widely accepted, losing out on work, wages, education and rights.

Am I right?

Thanks.
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I think that, in the original, the comma after men makes the meaning clear; remove it and you are in difficulties.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    [...]Am I right?

    Thanks.
    I'd say not, Hifamo.

    The usual problem with a dangling modifier is that people forget that present participles naturally agree with the subject of the sentence - Running to work this morning my watch fell into the lake.

    In this case the fact can't be losing anything, so people would naturally assume you meant the women, I think.

    Note that there are two verbs, to lose - I lost my spectacles in the mud - and to loose - they loose their horses to run over the step. I suspect you mean to lose, here.
     
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    HifaMo

    Senior Member
    Moroccan Arabic
    I understood that the textbook's sentence is correct. What about mine? Is it wrong?
    Thanks.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Your sentence is confusing. The natural inclination is to assume that the descriptive phrase goes with the last noun mentioned -- in this case, that would be 'men'. It takes a rereading to straighten things out. It is not a good idea to put impediments in the way of your readers' understanding.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I completely agree with Cagey, although maybe I can make it clearer.
    The fact that women are still getting a worse deal than men, losing out on work, wages, education and rights, is now widely accepted. :tick: (non-dangling, very natural, easy to read and to understand)

    The fact that women are still getting a worse deal than men is now widely accepted, losing out on work, wages, education and rights. :cross: (now it's dangling: it's neither natural nor easy to understand)
    Obviously in both sentences the last noun mentioned before "losing..." is "men." But the "losing..." phrase is part of the idea "the fact that women..." - it shouldn't be separated from that. So all the blue parts of the sentence should be next to each other.

    Another reason that the participle doesn't dangle in the first sentence is that it echoes the word "getting." That kind of doubling (two -ing words, both linked to "women") makes the parallelism in the phrase easy to understand.

    Most participial phrases dangle, to a certain extent, but it doesn't need to be distracting if they're physically close to the part of the sentence that they relate to and​ if you use clues like parallel structure to tip the reader off to how your sentence is organized.
     
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