It’s been a while since I posted about the absolutist (vs. the contextualist) position on subjectless predicational adjuncts requiring a referent for the missing subject (SPARs, for short), namely that they must obey the Subject Rule (that the missing subject of the adjunct must be supplied by subject of the clause it’s adjoined to); if a SPAR doesn’t obey the Subject Rule, it’s labeled a “dangler” and is judged, by absolutists, to be always ungrammatical, regardless of context, discourse organization, or real-life plausibility. So examples like
After writing a book, it seems that Harry is at loose ends.
are rejected as irredeemably ungrammatical by some writers. For them, the Subject Rule is a matter of God’s Truth, not a preference in referent-finding.
What I said on the matter last year:
How do people get to the absolutist [vs. the contextualist] position? The full journey is twisted and complicated, but the crucial midpoint is where the Subject Rule comes to be seen not as a rule of thumb but as a rule of grammar (for standard English). Once you buy that, then there’s no point in looking at context; context can’t ameliorate ungrammaticality. Kisses pleases me (with kisses understood as the plural of the common noun kiss ‘act of kissing’) is not standard English, and no amount of preceding or following linguistic context or scene-setting story-telling can change that …
So almost everyone writing about “danglers” cites examples isolated from context of any kind and bereft of background knowledge about the substance of the text. The internal content of the examples is almost entirely irrelevant, in this view …
Now two recent instances of absolutist criticism.