Archive for the ‘Danglers’ Category

Subject finding

June 1, 2011

From “Among Bodies Discarded on a Beach, One That Doesn’t Fit” by Manny Fernandez (NYT, 5/30/11):

The police cut a path into the brush and made a small clearing where the body was found. She appears to have been laid on a patch of dirt about 50 steps from the edge of Ocean Parkway, at the foot of a thin tree, leafless and largely branchless.

The intention is that the final phrase (boldfaced here) should pick up its subject from the immediately preceding NP a thin tree, but some readers will first latch onto the Subject Rule (for interpreting subjectless predicative adjuncts, preferring that the omitted subject of the adjunct be picked up from the subject of the clause to which its attached), as they would if the final phrase were, say, naked and bruised.

Another tribute to the power of the Subject Rule, especially notable for sentence-final adjuncts; see the discussion in “Dangling advice”, here.


Annals of danglerology

March 23, 2011

Volume 59, No. 1 (March 2011) of the journal Names (the journal of the American Name Society) arrived on Monday, and I immediately noticed Frank Nuessel’s article “A note on the names of mathematical problems and puzzles” — noticed it because I was trained as a mathematician many years ago and published in and taught mathematical linguistics for some time (and sort-of-married into a nest of mathematicians: my husband-equivalent Jacques’s father and older brother were both mathematics professors).

Interesting piece, though it’s just a scratch into the immense range of material available.

What then caught my eye was the very first sentence:

While writing a paper entitled “The Representation of Mathematics in the Media” for a weeklong symposium …, it became evident that many mathematical problems, puzzles, conjectures, and equations had specific names attached to them.

Most people wouldn’t have noticed this, but since I’m a scholar of SPARs (here and here), I caught the subjectless predicational adverbial requiring a referent for the subject.


Dangling postings

October 8, 2009

Here’s an inventory of postings, on Language Log and this blog, on non-default SPARs (subjectless predicational adjuncts requiring a referent for the subject — non-default when they don’t obey the Subject Rule, that is, when they don’t pick up this referent from the subject of the main clause), commonly known as “dangling modifiers” (though some writers extend this label to a variety of other phenomena).

The inventory isn’t annotated, and it doesn’t include postings that mention danglers only in passing. I might have missed some relevant postings; I invite readers to suggest further postings in comments.

GP, 12/14/03: Dangling etiquette: (link)

AZ, 7/7/04: Don’t dangle your participles in public: (link)

GP, 3/1/05: Without Washington’s support… who?: (link)

GP, 3/10/05: Stunningly inept modifier manners: (link)

GP, 5/12/05: The Fellowship of the Predicative Adjunct: (link)

AZ, 5/16/05: The Dangling Participles: (link)

GP, 7/4/05: Dangling modifier in the Declaration of Independence: (link)

GP, 1/24/06: Unlike dangling: (link)

ML, 4/26/06: Who is the decider?: (link)

AZ, 3/24/07: Dangling in court: (link)

ML, 3/25/07: Dangling in Paris: (link)

AZ, 5/21/08: Why are some summatives labeled “vague”?: (link)

ML, 6/2/08: Advice from numbers: (link) [see comment by ML]

AZ, 6/14/08: by-topicalization (link):

AZBlog, 2/26/09: A spiritual accessory (link)

ML, 2/26/09: Teaching zombie rules: (link)

GP, 4/15/09: Who’s been to Australia?: (link)

ML, 8/14/09: Compared: (link)

GP, 10/8/09: A dangler in The Economist: (link)


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