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Dangling Modifiers Lesson Plan
A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence.
Students should have some knowledge of modifiers and dangling modifiers prior to this activity. An easy quick lesson might be to use some of the sentences that follow on an overhead projector and ask students the different ways in which the sentences can be interpreted. It takes some modeling, but they will get the idea. Then you can give the students some of the sentences of your choosing to rewrite on their own in which the subjects are properly modified. There are 95 sentences with dangling modifiers so you should have enough to do lots of practice.
Some sentences are a little more complex and have higher vocabulary, those I reserve for higher students.
Each sentence contains a dangling modifier. Cut the sentences into strips. Each student gets one strip of paper and must illustrate the funny or quirky meaning of that dangling modifier. Students must write their dangling modifier sentence on the front of their illustration. On the back of their illustration they are to rewrite the sentence so that there is no confusion about which subject is being modified.
For example, on sentence #1 a student would draw a woman walking down a sidewalk or street, leading a tiny dog and the tiny dog will be wearing a long black dress.
- A woman passed by, leading a tiny dog in a long black dress.
- After trying the combination several times, the lock finally opened.
- Disappointed that vacation would soon end, September came all too quickly.
- He went to the library wearing a leather jacket.
- After reading the paper, the telephone rang.
- Working all afternoon, the foundation was completed.
- Running from New York to Florida , people ride the Silver Star.
- Laughing loudly, the joke pleased the audience.
- Forgetting to buy gas, the car wouldn't start.
- Typing slowly, the paper seemed endless.
- Eating too much, my stomach was upset.
- Hopping briskly through the vegetable garden, I saw a toad.
- Hard and full of clay, one must cultivate the soil.
- Using high-powered binoculars, the lost child was found.
- Celebrating my victory, a dinner with my friends lasted till midnight.
- Not seeing the pothole, the skateboard wentflying.
- My cousin went on and on, describing the details of her wedding in the elevator.
- The guide found the lion following its trail.
- We saw dinosaurs on a field trip to the natural history museum.
- Driving the old car, the brakes gave out.
- Watching the documentary, the television went dead.
- Oswald and Hilda found the flowers hiking up the mountain.
- I found my missing baseball glove cleaning my room.
- Don't try to pat the dog on the porch that is growling.
- The photojournalist took a picture of a demonstrator with a long lens camera.
- Blaring from the stereo, I didn't recognize the strange music.
- From our seats we could see the stage clearly in the balcony.
- The guest speaker had dedicated his new book to his dog who was an archaeologist.
- I bought the red coat from the new shop owner with the enormous hood.
- Peering through the trees, the path ahead was evident.
- The smoke alarm went off while cooking my dinner.
About this Document
This is a lesson that illustrates, literally, to students the problems with sentences that contain dangling modifiers. It's really fun to see their illustrations and they really learn how to clearly write what it is they want to say.