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I am confused when i read the following sentences.

  1. Her cruel sisters had brought expensive new clothes for the party and laughed at her when they saw Cinderella crying , dressed in her plain, dirty rags.

  2. I decided on a suitable model, priced at $2000.

I was taught that participial phrases are used to modify the subject of a sentence. But " dressed in her plain, dirty rags" modifies the object " Cinderella in sentence 1. and " price at $2000" modifies the suitable model in sentence 2.

Are these two sentences examples of dangling modifiers?

Thank you for your help!!

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    Participle phrases at the beginning of a sentence are anchored to the next noun phrase, which is ordinarily the subject. Participle phrases elsewhere are anchored to the preceding noun phrase. Aug 27, 2017 at 11:03
  • No, they are not danglers. The past-participial clause "Dressed in her plain, dirty rags" is a predicative (depictive) adjunct relating to "Cinderella" (the 'predicand'). Same analysis for "priced at $2000" which relates to "model".
    – BillJ
    Aug 27, 2017 at 11:27
  • You were taught wrong. Participial phrases can be used to describe just about any nominal constituent in a sentence, not just the subject. Aug 27, 2017 at 20:12

1 Answer 1

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Participle phrases at the beginning of a sentence are anchored to the next noun phrase, which is ordinarily the subject. Participle phrases elsewhere are anchored to the preceding noun phrase. - StoneyB

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  • This isn't quite right. It's perfectly legal for a participle phrase at the end of a sentence to modify the subject that appeared at the start of the sentence. Consider this example from chompchomp.com/terms/participlephrase.htm: "Cooper enjoyed dinner at Audrey's house, agreeing to a large slice of cherry pie even though he was full to the point of bursting." Per the rule you advance here, that sentence is ungrammatical (or else the house is male, and full to the point of bursting), yet it seems perfectly grammatical and clear to me.
    – Mark Amery
    May 27, 2018 at 23:16
  • @MarkAmery Can you please elaborate? To me, it seems that the trailing participle phrase "to the point of bursting" applies to the preceding noun "he", which is consistent with StoneyB's comment. If you're referring to the phrase headed by "agreeing", I think the preceding comma changes things.
    – Lawrence
    May 28, 2018 at 0:01
  • Yeah, I'm referring to the phrase headed by "agreeing" - sorry for the ambiguity there! I agree that the preceding comma changes things - but this answer doesn't hint at that possibility, so that makes no difference to the correctness of this answer.
    – Mark Amery
    May 28, 2018 at 7:51
  • @MarkAmery Thanks for clarifying :) ! Feel free to add to the community wiki.
    – Lawrence
    May 28, 2018 at 10:38

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