Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dangler of the month

Surely, wherever you stand on the prescriptive/descriptive divide, you will have a who-did-what-to-whom moment with this participial phrase and the clause that follows it:

Leading Duke by 10 with 2 minutes and 38 seconds to play, the Blue Devils went on a 13-2 run to close the game and won it, 85-84, when Austin Rivers made a long 3 as the buzzer sounded.

Can we simply specify that whoever it was that was leading Duke by 10, it wasn't Duke?

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Anonymous raYb said...

Not much wrong with the story. Some of the Web commenters noted that the story showed one of the Plumlees with 11 rebounds and with 22 rebounds. Same guy, different tally. So, the writer didn't know how to make it a transitive sentence without using Duke as the subject and didn't know what the stats were.

11:41 AM, February 12, 2012  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

The problem is that the subject of a participial needs to be expressed if it's not the same as that of the main clause. "NC leading Duke..."

12:56 PM, February 12, 2012  
Anonymous Ed Latham said...

Hear hear. If the sentence structure identifies completely the wrong entity as the subject of a clause, it's not just 'peeving' to point it out. Think of the consequences that might arise in the reporting of criminal allegations if you lost control of your modifiers in a similar fashion and identified the wrong person as a suspect.

9:16 AM, February 13, 2012  

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