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There are two questions I'm struggling with.

(1) That I have little interest in art is not the fault of my parents, taking me to art exhibits and galleries from the time I was ten years old.

Why is the "taking" wrong? I'm guessing it has to be "who have taken" because of "from the time I was ten years old" but I still don't understand why it's wrong to say "taking." The word "parents" comes right before the comma so it shouldn't be an ambiguous modifier. After all, wouldn't it be correct to say the following:

Taking me to art exhibits and galleries from the time I was ten years old, my parents are not at fault for my having little interest in art.

My next question:

(2A) Though she missed her old friend, Sharon was generally happy at her new school, having much smaller classes than her previous school.

(2B) Though she missed her old friend, Sharon was generally happy at her new school: it had much smaller classes than her previous school.

I know why (2B) is correct, but I don't understand why (2A) is incorrect. The modifier "having much smaller classes than her previous school" is correctly describing "her new school" so what exactly is the problem?

Thanks in advance!

  • In the first sentence I would say "who took" – Barmar May 3 '14 at 8:46
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The fact that

(1') That I have little interest in art is not the fault of my parents, taking me to art exhibits and galleries from the time I was ten years old as they did.

is correct (if long-winded) implies that the elision may be considered to 'unbalance' the whole. It probably could be claimed that in the original, the -ing clause is modifying 'the fault ...' rather than 'my parents'. Your rewrite is the best single-sentence option.

In the second, it is being claimed that Sharon now had smaller classes than her previous school did. Possibly true, but unbalanced. These work:

(2A') Though she missed her old friend, Sharon was generally happy at her new school, now having much smaller classes than [she had had] at her previous school.

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You wrote:

The modifier "having much smaller classes than her previous school" is correctly describing "her new school" so what exactly is the problem?

Your proposition is incorrect. Your version of 2A contains a dangling modifier: the sentence reads as though the smaller classes are a property of Sharon rather than of her new school.

  • Why is the modifier describing Sharon? Isn't it supposed to describe the first noun before the comma (new school)? – user61133 May 2 '14 at 10:36

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