Dangling modifier

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circus rabbit

New Member
Chinese
Currently I am revising my paper, and I found a sentence which have a dangling modifier.

To fully understand the changes in media contents, a new paradigm for media-audience relation study is needed.

My question: if I move the modifier to the end of the main clause, is it still a dangling modifier? Like:

A new paradigm for media-audience relation study is needed to fully understand the changes in media contents.
A new paradigm for media-audience relation study is needed in order to fully understand the changes in media contents.

If I add the subject as "I", "us", or "scholars", is it correct? Is it a necessity?

A new paradigm for media-audience relation study is needed for us to fully understand the changes in media contents.

What is the best sentence structure for revising this sentence?
To fully understand the changes in media contents, we should build a new paradigm for media-audience relation study. Is this better?
 
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  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think it is dangling, rather it's a full infinitive used to express purpose, moved to the front of the sentence. The 'to' means 'in order to'. Perhaps some would say it's a split infinitive and 'fully' should come after 'understand'.
    See what other answers you get. :)
    (You need to check subject/verb agreement for number in your first sentence.)
     

    circus rabbit

    New Member
    Chinese
    I see nothing wrong with the original sentence. Which modifier are you talking about, and what do you think it should modify?
    I thought "to fully understand the changes in media contents" was a adverbial modifier to indicate purpose..? Is it not? Because the subject of the infinitive is "I," but the subject of the main clause is "a new paradigm." That's the reason I thought it was dangling.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I thought "to fully understand the changes in media contents" was a adverbial modifier to indicate purpose..? Is it not? Because the subject of the infinitive is "I," but the subject of the main clause is "a new paradigm." That's the reason I thought it was dangling.
    Yes, it is an adverbial, modifying the main clause.

    What do you mean by 'the subject of the infinitive is "I"'. Infinitives don't usually have subjects, and this one does not, that I can see.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is as good as a clause using 'in order to'. An infinitive doesn't have a subject. The subject of the main clause is 'a study' and the main verb is 'is needed'. It's that verb which 'to fully understand' modifies by telling us why the study is needed. I prefer to think of it as a 'to+ infinitive phrase/clause of purpose'.

    It's an extremely common construction.
     
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    circus rabbit

    New Member
    Chinese
    It is as good as a clause using 'in order to'. An infinitive doesn't have a subject. The subject of the main clause is 'a study' and the main verb is 'is needed'. It's that verb which 'to fully understand' modifies by telling us why the study is needed. I prefer to think of it as a 'to+ infinitive phrase/clause of purpose'.

    It's an extremely common construction.
    I appreciate your reply. The reason that this sentence confuses me is because I accidentally read a sentence with dangling modifier, which I think is very similar to my sentences:

    "To improve his results, the experiment was done again." from Purdue Owl

    Actually I can't see the differences between this sentence and mine...Does "his results" make the second sentence have a dangling modifier? Thank you!

    +++++++++++++
    Should I create a new thread?
     

    circus rabbit

    New Member
    Chinese
    Yes, it is an adverbial, modifying the main clause.

    What do you mean by 'the subject of the infinitive is "I"'. Infinitives don't usually have subjects, and this one does not, that I can see.
    Because a paradigm can't "fully understand", how could an object understand something? -from an non-native English speaker's mind. But I got what you and Hermione Golightly mean. Thanks!
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Because a paradigm can't "fully understand", how could an object understand something? -from non-native English speaker's mind. But I got what you and Hermione Golightly mean. Thanks!
    "Need" is in the passive voice. It is not the new paradigm that would fully understand, but the unstated person or people who need(s) the new paradigm. You can rephrase the sentence to use the active voice:
    To fully understand the changes in media contents, we need a new paradigm for media-audience relation study.​

    Perhaps this makes it clearer to you.

    "To improve his results, the experiment was done again." from Purdue Owl

    Actually I can't see the differences between this sentence and mine...Does "his results" make the second sentence have a dangling modifier? Thank you!
    I would not have called it a dangling modifier, but "his" is awkward as it needs an antecedent. Conceivably, the antecedent is in a previous sentence, but if it isn't, there is a temptation to read that it was "he" who did the experiment again. However, this is not justified by the passive voice, and the sentence would need to be reworded, either by replacing "his" with the person's name, or else by making "he" the subject of "do" in the active voice.
     
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