English as a Second Language/Dangling Participle Phrase

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Question
Hello:

The following sentence contains a dangling participle phrase. Can you explain why it dangles?

"Funeral services will be held at Keever Chapel at 10 a.m. Thursday, the Rev. W. J. McCawley, pastor of the First Christian Church, officiating."

Why doesn't "officiating" modify Rev. W. J. McCrawley?

I thank you for your reply and explanation.

Answer
Hello Kenneth,

thank you for your very interesting question.

A few technical details first.

As you know participles are adjectives ending in - ed or -ing. When you "dangle" a participle, it means that the participial phrase is hanging in the sentence with no subject in sight. So, in writing, a dangling participle modifies the wrong noun. Usually it happens when you've left the subject implied and assume that reader knows what you mean.

In your example:

"Funeral services will be held at Keever Chapel at 10 a.m. Thursday, the Rev. W. J. McCawley, pastor of the First Christian Church, officiating."

the subject is not implied, the subject here is "the Rev W J McCawley" so I honestly don't see this as   a dangling participle (which by the way is to be avoided in writing as it can be confusing for the readers).

here are some links you may find helpful:

http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/WritingGuide/10dangpt.htm

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_30.htm

The only thing that may be questionable here is the verb tense in the second part of the sentence, but I'm assuming the writer used an elliptical construction here:

Funeral services will be held at Keever Chapel at 10 a.m. Thursday, the Rev. W. J. McCawley, pastor of the First Christian Church, (will be) officiating

Please feel free to follow up with me if you require further help with this topic, or if you have any other ESL related questions.

Best regards,

English as a Second Language

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