Sunday, August 09, 2009

Dangling ... no, don't go there

Not all dangling participles are created equal. Their outcomes range from "technically 'ambiguous' but unlikely to be misread" to "all but guaranteed to mean something you didn't want." Here, I am delighted to say, we have the latter.*

Here's another who-did-what-to-whom from this morning's trawl. It's even easier to fix (just move the prepositional phrase), but that risks obscuring a bigger point. If "news partner" WCNC can't tell a machete from a sword, the editor's job is to fix the text, not amplify it in big type. Does anyone bother to read this stuff before it goes up?

* Why is this tale a big deal -- bigger even than "Bear found feeding on elderly Colo. woman's body" and "Police: Officer hit, dragged by drunk driver in Idaho"? Not only is it a chance to say "sex toys" in display type, but it pushes the "all Islam is scary" button too. Hard to beat that.

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