So, an acquaintance states the following newspaper correction:

As stated in the paper - “10 years ago: The girls track and field team placed fifth at the Class 1A Western Regional Championships in Cherokee, one of the highest finishes the team ever had.“
 
Grammar violation alleged - “Had" is the past participle of the transitive verb "to have."  It is improper in English grammar to conclude a sentence with a participle.  It is, in fact, called a "dangling participle."  

Help: how is this a dangling participle or even a participle at all? Where is the misplaced modifier? A little confused...thx

Original Post

Hi Craig

Do you mean this is the correction made or this is a problematic sentence to be corrected?

I personally don’t see any problems with this sentence.

Last edited by Kinto

Hi, Craig, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

@Craig posted:

So, an acquaintance states the following newspaper correction:

As stated in the paper - “10 years ago: The girls track and field team placed fifth at the Class 1A Western Regional Championships in Cherokee, one of the highest finishes the team ever had.“
 
Grammar violation alleged - “Had" is the past participle of the transitive verb "to have." It is improper in English grammar to conclude a sentence with a participle.  It is, in fact, called a "dangling participle." 

I agree with Kinto that there's nothing wrong with that text (actualy, it's not a sentence but merely a noun phrase, perhaps used as a title, a bullet point, or a caption).

"had" is the past tense of "have" -- as you must know, "ever" can be used with the past simple in AmE (source):

Past-time adverbs, such as justeveralready and yet are often used with the past simple in American English, whereas in British English they would normally be used with the present perfect. Compare the following:

  • Did you phone her yet?
  • Have you phoned her yet?

  • Did you eat already?
  • Have you already eaten?

  • Garry? You missed him. He just left.
  • Garry? You've missed him. He's just left.

  • Did you ever go to Canada?
  • Have you ever been to Canada?


The text in question can be parsed as a noun phrase containing an apposition which in turn contains a relative clause:

The girls track and field team placed fifth at the Class 1A Western Regional Championships in Cherokee, [apposition] one of the highest finishes [relative clause] (that) the team ever had.

Thank you both for the responses. To Kinto: the sentence I posted is the one that supposedly has a dangling participle. Appreciate the answers!

@Craig posted:

the sentence I posted is the one that supposedly has a dangling participle.

Even if the phrase ended with a participle, it wouldn't be a dangling one, for example:

- The girls track and field team placed fifth at the Class 1A Western Regional Championships in Cherokee, one of the highest finishes ever experienced / enjoyed.

For the participle to be dangling, the real subject has to be missing. In the original sentence, "had" is a finite verb and the subject is "the team," and in my version above "experienced/enjoyed" are passive participles and the subject is "one of the highest finishes."

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

Hello, Craig, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

Gustavo and Kinto have already answered your question about the example sentence. I wanted to respond to the "rule" you have given:

@Craig posted:
It is improper in English grammar to conclude a sentence with a participle.  It is, in fact, called a "dangling participle." 

There is no such rule. A sentence may be concluded with a participle, present or past. This happens all the time, in utterly faultless sentences. The concept of a dangling participle has nothing whatsoever to do with ending a sentence with a participle.

Examples of sentences ending with a present participle:

  • He went running.
  • She is eating.
  • I am typing.

Examples of sentences ending with a past participle:

  • He has showered.
  • John was arrested.
  • The cake has already been eaten.
Last edited by David, Moderator

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