I am trying to understand how to interpret the meaning of the following sentence,

John arrived late to the airport, causing him to miss his flight

I know that the present participle modifies the entire clause. But what does modifying an entire clause mean? Can I always put the present participle in the begin of the sentence and read it as follows: "Causing him to miss his flight, John arrived late at the airport"


Effectively, the participial phrase modifies the sense of the entire clause. But technically, the participle phrase only modifies the word. In your example, "causing him to miss the flight" serves as an adjective modifying the noun John.

As to your other question on positioning, putting it either in the beginning or end will result in correct construction. In this case, I would personally put the phrase before, just near the noun it modifies so that the confusion in re dangling modifier would be clarified.

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