Resources: dangler examples

Having worked on non-canonical SPARS — called dangling modifiers (or danglers, for short) on Usage Street — for several decades now, my files of SPAR examples have piled up alarmingly. I’ve cited a fair number of the examples in my postings on danglers (see the Page on this blog on dangler postings), but in line with general urgings to make data sources publicly available wherever possible, I’ve now posted the files here as a Page (where, like the dangler postings Page, I can update it regularly).

(SPAR: a subjectless predicative adjunct requiring a referent for the missing subject. In a canonical SPAR, this referent is supplied by the subject of the main clause the SPAR is adjoined to as a modifier; in a non-canonical SPAR, not. Details in postings linked to on the dangler postings Page.)

The files were assembled from many diverse sources over 20 years, so they’ve required an enormous amount of editing and reformatting (10 hours so far for the largest one, AZ3), but they probably still contain typos and ill-formatted entries. On the other hand, the earlier AZ file entries include much (potentially valuable) discussion of particular examples, sometimes at length, by danglerologists (me, Geoff Pullum, Rodney Huddleston, Chris Potts, and others).

There is a coding scheme for the examples, given at the beginning of the dangler postings Page, but it wasn’t applied consistently until the file AZ3.

As time has drawn on and the entries in the files topped 500 in number, I’ve collected fewer and fewer examples of non-default (and contrasting default) SPARs, occasionally adding items of special interest; life is short, and the pool of data is endless.

Index of the materials

AB1-50: examples collected by Andrea Burbank for a Stanford class in 2003

Digression. There’s not much of visual interest in the topic of non-canonical SPARs, so here’s some information about the admirable Stanford alum Andrea Burbank, with a photo:

Data Scientist at Pinterest (in San Francisco) since 2012; Stanford BS (in physics) and BA (in linguistics), 2006; other tech positions before Pinterest

GS1-10: examples from Greg Stump’s 1985 book on absolute constructions

MW1-2: examples accompanying MWDEU‘s entry on dangling modifiers

AZ1.1-11: examples from various sources, collected ca. 2001

AZ2.1-19: examples from varous sources, collected ca. 2002-3

AZ3.1-442: examples from many sources, collected ca. 2004-11

AZ4.1-86: current open file of examples, collected from 2011 on

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