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View Full Version : Something's dangling, I think (technical term needed)



Netz
08-06-2018, 09:13 PM
Hi folks!

I'm after a technical term, so I'm hoping you can help me out. I know the sentence in the example below is wrong (which is intentional), but I always forget what the technical term for it is.

'Ladies and gentlemen, making his debut on stage, it is my pleasure to introduce...'

The grammar book I looked at indicated it would be a dangler/dangling participle. Is that correct?

Thank you! :)

Fallen
08-07-2018, 03:18 AM
Dangling/misplaced modifier? In my humbles, the participle phrase 'making his debut on stage' tries to modify a "dummy it".

"Dummy it" has a grammatical place in the sentence, but not a lexical one (no real meaning). E.g.,: It's a lovely day.... (You're left asking: what is 'it' exactly? So 'it' serves a grammatical function, but not lexical, making 'it' a dummy stand-in for... nothing). So with yours: Making his debut..., it tries to modify... nothing but 'it is my pleasure...", almost forcing dummy it into a pronoun it.

Dummy it is different from the pronoun it. E.g., "The dog barked. It was upset." (Here 'it' has both a grammatical and lexical meaning: you know exactly what 'it' refers to: the dog).

So with yours, you're almost expecting:

'Ladies and gentlemen, making his debut on stage, Johnny Cash!'

Instead you get:

'Ladies and gentlemen, making his debut on stage, it's my pleasure..."

But... oh man... I kind of don't mind your sentence at all. It's just messing with structure for emphasis. And dialogue's dialogue... not one for rules. :) Does it have to be wrong?

Netz
08-07-2018, 09:48 AM
Hi, Fallen, thanks for your reply (& helpful explanation about the example) :) I'm glad you didn't mind the sentence structure in my example. The person who's going to reply is a writer & they pick the first person up on their grammar, hence me needing the correct term for them to do so (ooh, the irony!). :greenie

Fallen
08-07-2018, 03:15 PM
Ah! Like that, is it. :) And you're welcome.

Netz
08-07-2018, 11:04 PM
Thanks again. :) I think I'll go with 'misplaced modifier'. (And now I can always come back to this thread again in the future for the terminology and the easy-to-understand explanation. Win-win! :greenie)

BethS
08-10-2018, 08:12 PM
Hi folks!

I'm after a technical term, so I'm hoping you can help me out. I know the sentence in the example below is wrong (which is intentional), but I always forget what the technical term for it is.

'Ladies and gentlemen, making his debut on stage, it is my pleasure to introduce...'

The grammar book I looked at indicated it would be a dangler/dangling participle. Is that correct?

Thank you! :)

Yes. "Making his debut on stage" is a dangling participle.

Netz
08-10-2018, 10:50 PM
Thank you, BethS. :)

angeliz2k
08-13-2018, 09:49 PM
It seems to me more like a parenthetical/interjection: "Ladies and gentlemen--making his debut on stage--it is my pleasure to introduce Whoever!"

Though it does still read somewhat awkwardly and would be better reworded.

Netz
08-15-2018, 10:55 PM
Sorry, angeliz2k, I've only just seen your comment. I hadn't considered putting the punctuation like that, so thanks for the suggestion. :)