Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dangling Modifiers and Double Negative Modifiers

Task: Revising sentences by correcting Dangling Modifiers - The following sentences contain dangling modifiers. Revise each sentence so that its meaning is clear and correct.

Example:
Waiting at the bus stop, my older brother drove by in his new car.
While I was waiting at the bus stop, my older brother drove by in his new car.
1. Frightened by our presence, the rabbit’s ears perked up and its nose twitched.
2. To interpret this poem, a knowledge of mythology is helpful.
3. All bundled up in a blanket, the baby’s first outing was a brief one.
4. When performing onstage, the microphone should not be placed too near the speaker cones.
5. To be a good opera singer, clear enunciation is extremely important.
6. To help colonial soldiers during the Revolutionary War, Solomon’s efforts raised money to buy food and clothing.

The Double Negative:

A double negative is a construction in which two negative words are used where one is enough. Although acceptable until Shakespeare’s time, double negatives are now considered non-standard.

Non-standard She has not read none of Nadine Gordimer’s books.
Standard She had not read any of Nadine Gordimer’s books.
Standard She has read none of Nadine Gordimer’s books.
Non-standard I do not know nothing about the Peloponnesian War.
Standard I do not know anything about the Peloponnesian War.
Standard I know nothing about the Peloponnesian War.
Nonstandard Grandma said that she hadn’t never seen another pumpkin that was as large as this one.
Standard Grandma said that she hadn’t ever seen another pumpkin that was as large as this one.
Standard Grandma said that she had never seen another pumpkin that was as large as this one.

Note: Avoid the common error of using n’t, the contraction of not, with another negative word, especially barely, hardly, or scarcely.

Nonstandard I can’t hardly take another step in these new boots.
Standard I can hardly take another step in these new boots.
Nonstandard The film is so long that we couldn’t scarcely see it in one class period.
Standard The film is so long that we could scarcely see it in one class period.

The words ‘but’ and ‘only’ are considered negative words when they are used as adverbs meaning ‘no more than’. In such cases, the use of another negative word with ‘but’ or ‘only’ is considered informal.

Task: Revising sentences to eliminate double negatives - Revise each of the following sentences to eliminate the double negative. Although the following sentences can be corrected in more than one way, you need to give only one revision.

Example:
He hadn’t no pencils on his desk.
He had no pencils on his desk.
Or
He hadn’t any pencils on his desk.

1. Tom didn’t have no time to buy the books.
2. Haven’t none of you seen the dog?
3. Isn’t nobody else interested in going to visit the exhibition this morning?
4. We haven’t but one day to visit the fair.
5. She didn’t contribute nothing to the project.
6. The lights were so dim that we couldn’t barely see.

1 comment:

H S Consultants said...

I always learn something new from your post!Great article. I wish I could write so well.



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