dangling modifier
Definition - A word or phrase that modifies something that is not clearly present or identified in the sentence.

Example -
Coming home last night, the house was dark.
(We dangle because we don't know who or what was coming home.)

Oxford English Dictionary -
The term's first citation is from 1961:
"Let us examine, then, these dangling modifiers in ‘Bartleby’, looking at each of them in turn to see what … aid it can give us in understanding the obscurities of the tale."
(Amer. Speech XXXVI. 196)



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