Ah yes, the dreaded dangling participle; the grammatical error that frequently results in hilarity. Now just who was wearing the pajamas? Was it the elephant or the shooter? If it was the elephant, just how did it get into those PJs?

Wearing is the participle and it is dangling because it is not clear if it is modifying the elephant or the shooter (the word “I” in this case). Participles are words that modify other words, usually nouns, and they usually end with –ing or –ed. The easiest way to fix a dangling participle is usually just place it closest to the word you want to modify with it. For example we could rewrite the sentence as follows: While wearing my pajamas last night, I shot an elephant. While this is grammatically correct, it just is not as much fun as the error.

Here are a few other fun Dangling Participles:

The boy was playing with the dog in short pants.

A hunter hid behind a bush waiting for a mountain lion to come along with a bow and arrow.

The guest speaker had dedicated his new book to his dog who was an archaeologist.

We saw several fish swimming on the way to school.

David saw the rock walking to the store.

The ballerina saw a hippo in a tutu.

These dangling participles can be great fun. See how many you can come up with, then correct them.