Dangling modifiers occur when a phrase doesn’t have the subject that it’s supposed to modify.
Sentences with dangling modifiers are often funny because they have unintended meanings.
Wrong: Having eaten a small lunch, dinner tasted especially good.
Right: Having eaten a small lunch, Elaine thought that dinner tasted especially good.
The subject, Elaine, was left out of the first sentence, so it seems like dinner is the one that ate a small lunch, which doesn’t make sense.
Wrong: After finishing work, swimming is relaxing.
Right: After finishing work, Alexei relaxes by swimming.
Swimming didn’t finish work; Alexei did.
Misplaced modifiers are a special type of dangling modifier that occur when the modifying phrase is separated from its subject.
Wrong: Piers saw a bear on the way to the gym.
Right: On the way to the gym, Piers saw a bear.
In the first sentence, it isn’t clear if it’s Piers or the bear that’s going to the gym.
Wrong: Wounded by falling off her bike, the paramedics put Jade on a stretcher.
Right: The paramedics put Jade, who was wounded by falling off her bike, on a stretcher.