ESL Term:

Dangling Participle

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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dangling participle: Participles are often used incorrectly in both speech and writing. One common mistake is to use a participle loosely, not modifying any noun in particular.


Feeding the animals, the lion suddenly attacked.

Singing in the shower, the thief was able to sneak in unnoticed.

In the first one, the lion is not feeding the animals so feeding does not modify anything in the sentence. In the second one, it is the victim that is singing not the thief, and so, again, the participle is not modifying anything in the sentence.