Don’t dangle your participle! Now that sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it?
I came across this lovely little book on NetGalley and downloaded it in exchange for a review : Don’t Dangle Your Participle – by Vanita Oelschlager.
Words and pictures show children what a dangling participle is all about. Young readers are shown an incorrect sentence that has in it a dangling participle. They are then taught how to make the sentence read correctly. It is done in a cute and humorous way. The dangling participle loses its way and the children learns how to help it find its way back to the correct spot in the sentence. This is followed by some comical examples of sentences with dangling participles and their funny illustrations, followed by an illustration of the corrected sentence. Young readers will have fun recognizing this problem in sentence construction and learning how to fix it.
My short review of Don’t Dangle Your Participle
I love it when grammar learning is made fun – and this book is beautifully illustrated, simple and will really help children (and adults too! 😉 ) to recognize how silly a dangling participle is, why it should not be used and how you can fix a sentence to make sure you don’t use one! This is a great teaching and learning tool.
What are dangling participles anyway?
To understand them better, we have to understand participles and participles.
There are two types of participles – the present participle (ending ing) and the past participle (usually ending -ed, -d, -t, -en, or -n)
Here are some examples of participles used as adjectives:
verb past participle present participle
to cook the cooked vegetables the cooking vegetables
to exhaust the exhausted man the exhausting walk
Participles are often seen in participle phrases which also act as adjectives.
Examples: (The participle is in bold lettering and the participle phrase is underlined)
The lady carrying the child is my neighbour. (The participle phrase ‘carrying the child’ tells us about the lady)
He showed us the room filled with people. (The participle phrase ‘filled with people’ describes the room).
Singing an old song, Radha walked out of the house. (The participle phrase ‘singing an old song’ tells us about Radha)
What’s with the dangling then?
Consider the following sentence which contains a dangling participle:
Waving in the breeze, the soldier watched the flag.
The sentence seems to suggest that the soldier was waving in the breeze! However, the participle phrase ‘waving in the breeze’ was meant to talk about the flag that the soldier was watching. A re-write is in order, isn’t it?
Re-write: The soldier watched the flag waving in the breeze.
Do you want another example? Here you go:
After rotting in the box for weeks, the old lady gave us the fruit.
Hmmm…so the old lady was rotting in the box? She was a rotten old lady (okay, so she was to give them rotten fruit! :P)? No, it’s the fruit that had been rotting! Re-write?
The old lady gave us the fruit that had been rotting in the box for weeks.