How would you rewrite this funny modifier:

Freshly painted, Jim left the room to dry.

Does this sentence mean that he left the room for something else, and he left the room to dry?

How would you rephrase it so that it makes sense?

Is it a participial phrase - or a dangling modifier?

Feedback is always greatly appreciated.

I have another one:


After drinking too much, the toilet kept moving.


It's obvious what is meant by this - and many people say that but ... how can you rewrite it. Now matter how often I tried this, I always get the same meaning: the toilet is moving (and not in my head) .

2 Answers 2


I believe the best way to rephrase this would be: "Jim left the freshly painted room to dry."

In this sentence you indeed have a participial phrase. "Freshly painted" acts like an adjective and modifies the noun "room".

  • This works as long as Jim knows where his towel is.
    – MetaEd
    Apr 21, 2016 at 22:49

"Is it a participial phrase - or a dangling modifier?" It is certainly a participial phrase. Whether it is a dangler depends on what you mean to say. Currently, it says that Jim has been freshly painted, and that to dry out, he left the room. If that's what you mean, there's no problem.

If you mean the room was freshly painted, it is definitely a dangler. Try this instead:

Jim left the freshly painted room to dry.

Also possible,

The freshly painted room was left by Jim to dry.

As to the second, the only noun you have there is "the toilet." There can be no other meaning than that the toilet has been drinking. You need to specify who was drinking, as in:

After drinking too much, he saw the toilet moving.

  • Doesn't "Jim left the room, freshly painted, to dry." mean that Jim was freshly painted?
    – mscola1975
    Apr 21, 2016 at 20:12
  • I like "The freshly painted room was left by Jim to dry." - I wonder what other Stackexchange readers like
    – mscola1975
    Apr 21, 2016 at 20:13
  • @user260648 Yes, you're right. It could.
    – user66965
    Apr 21, 2016 at 20:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.