Archive for the ‘Dangling modifiers’ Category

Shirtless body types

July 4, 2015

My recent postings on shirtlessness showed a fair range of body types for the extraordinarily fit, well-muscled men pictured there, from relatively slim to massive (on somatotypes, see here). And now comes a recently married couple illustrating the relatively slim end of the scale and also the Law of Attraction (“like attracts like”) in gay pairings: the ridiculously cute couple of Olympic skater Blake Skjellerup and designer Saul Carrasco:


(in the Queerty story “Blake Skjellerup Talks About His Husband, His Hawaii Wedding, And How Marriage Equality Is Changing The World”.

Yes, they can share their wardrobes.


Double anaphoric difficulties

May 27, 2015

From the NYT in print this morning, in Adam Nossiter’s “Nigeria Puts Its Hope in Former Strongman as a Scorned Leader Exits”:

(1) Despite being one of the world’s leading oil producers, Nigerians have lined up miserably at gas stations because of the fuel shortage, which has been choking the Nigerian economy, the continent’s largest, for weeks.

To start with, it’s an X-SPAR (a “dangling modifier”), in which the subjectless predicative despite being one of the world’s leading oil producers fails to have the subject Nigerians of the main clause provide the referent for the missing subject in the modifier. (Inventory of postings on danglers here.)

In fact, thngs are worse than that: though the possessive Nigeria’s in something like Nigeria’s people could serve to provide this referent, in (1), the reference to Nigeria in tucked inside the derived noun Nigerian — inside an “anaphoric island”, where it’s hard to find. (On islands, see here.)