Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Danger! Dangling participles ahead!

Yes, dear ones, I have returned, much to your great chagrin, I’m sure. My week in Australia on Ruthy’s virtual retreat gave me ample time to ponder today’s lesson, even while enjoying Jenny’s warm hospitality and Jemma’s fabulous cooking.

Today I am compelled to review a subject I encounter far too frequently in my reading material: the dangling participle.

We shall begin with a review of participles. Simply put, participles are verb forms used as modifiers of nouns.

The present participle form ends in -ing and expresses the action of the verb as in progress or incomplete.

The past participle ends in -ed and indicates the action of the verb is already complete.

Participles, then, are either -ing or -ed verbs, either alone or as part of a participial phrase, that are used as modifiers of the noun they are closest to.

Did you catch that? This is crucial, dear students. Participles and participial phrases modify . . . repeat it with me . . .

THE NOUN THEY ARE CLOSEST TO.

And therein lies the problem. To dangle your participle means you have inadvertently placed the noun the participle modifies in a position too far away from the participle for the sentence to make sense, thus creating an absurdity.

Ah, I see your eyes glazing over. Perhaps some relevant examples will help. Tell me, dear students, can you detect the problems with the following sentences?

  1. Walking along the cliff, Audra’s eyes fell.

  2. Planted in the garden, Mary watered her daisies.

  3. Roasted to perfection, Ruthy sampled her Thanksgiving turkey.

  4. Filling the bird feeder, a cat followed closely on Pam’s heels.

  5. One week after signing the contract, a check arrived in Tina’s mailbox.

  6. While singing a solo, the microphone slipped from Missy’s hand.

  7. Walking along the beach, the colorful shell caught Cara’s eye.
Are you brave enough to explain what is wrong in the above examples and attempt corrections? Do share in the comments!

Perhaps it will come as no surprise that participial phrases are not the only modifiers writers and speakers often misplace. A particularly annoying version of this error can be heard on many news broadcast teasers. For example:
“At six o’clock, a cow is hit by a train, causing a two-hour traffic delay.”
Shall we all plan to avoid that intersection this evening beginning at six?
“The bank at Fourth and Main is robbed at eleven.”
Good. That gives me ample time to close my account before the robbery occurs.

Yes, yes, I know these are not exactly misplaced modifiers. More like incomplete modifiers, for we all know the teasers have left out a few important words, as in, “In our six p.m. broadcast, we’ll have details about the cow hit by a train,” or “A bank is robbed at Fourth and Main. Details at eleven.”

Forgive me--I simply could not resist airing this pet peeve. I shall now return to today’s lecture.

As stated previously, modifiers should always be placed as near as possible to the word or phrase being modified, preferably immediately before or after. Otherwise, as we have already seen, the sentence either paints a ridiculous image in our minds or is so convoluted as to be undecipherable.

Let us now examine a few more examples. See if you can find and correct the misplaced or ambiguous modifiers in the following sentences.
  1. Janet requested assistance putting up Christmas decorations in her text message.

  2. Debby recommends often drinking grape juice to avoid tummy bugs.

  3. Sandra swerved to avoid the deer on her way to the post office.

  4. Julie announced on Saturday she will finish editing her next book.

  5. Glynna almost cries over every romantic novel she reads.
Are your dear little brains fried yet? If so, you have my permission to apply cold compresses and swallow two aspirin. Questions may be posed in the comment section, but no complaining allowed.

If you care to join in the discussion and perhaps win a copy of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, by Mignon Fogarty, an equally astute grammarian, simply mention your interest and I shall gladly drop your name into my crown for the drawing. Winner will be announced in the Weekend Edition, as usual.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seekerville’s very own Grammar Queen appears regularly as a guest of Myra Johnson. Myra claims she is a nuisance and a bore, but what can you do when you have a persnickety grammar snob living inside your brain? GQ does prove quite handy for edits and revisions! Sample her skills in Myra’s latest release, When the Clouds Roll By, book 1 in the Till We Meet Again historical romance series from Abingdon Press. Book 2, Whisper Goodbye, will be out this spring!

 

95 comments :

  1. Thank you, Grammar Queen.
    My eyes are glazed over, but it's not from your lesson. I just need to get some sleep!
    I must confess I did enjoy the examples you gave us (especially the one with the "cat filling the bird feeder"). Hmmm....wonder if I could teach my cats how to do that?!
    Please tell Myra that I am SO looking forward to her next book coming out this spring! WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY was a wonderful story, and has a place of honor on my "Keeper Shelf".
    Thank you again, dear GQ.
    Blessings, Patti Jo

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  2. I chuckled at your examples, GQ! I may not be a writer, but I do catch those when I am reading. Thankfully, most of the authors whose novels I read are part of Seekervile, and know how to write a good story! And please tell Myra I am looking forward to her next novel!

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  3. I'm nervous about Ruthy being roasted to perfection.

    It sounds painful for her.

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  4. Im only going for 2 because laughing makes me cough and coughing really hurts.

    Walking along the cliff, Audra’s eyes fell. (am wondering where Audra's eyes fell too)

    Planted in the garden, Mary watered her daisies. (wondering how Mary can water her daisies if she is planted in the garden)

    Please make it stop or I will hurt to much.

    Gramma Queen I had a great time last week and am so thankful that it wasn't this week. 110 and rising is not what I call fun! I hate being a shut in but I am not going outside for anything. (not til the sun goes down.) Tomorrow I will go out at 7am to get some milk and a few other supplies but that will be about it.
    (I have actually slept half the afternoon away yet again.

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  5. I just have to say that cat is very clever to fill the bird feeder. If I was Pam I would be worried what it may do to her heals.

    (ok the heat has got to me.)

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  6. So, Glynna, have you ever actually cried over a romance book? :)

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  7. I'm with Patty Jo, these examples were so funny! I'll leave it to the others to explain what was wrong, but I had a good laugh.

    I wish Myra the best of luck in her historical ventures--it seems to be going so well and the covers are beautiful!

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  8. I like when the Grammar Queen arrives in Seekerville. She helps explain things with wonderful examples for my poor muddled mind. Here are my comments for her sample sentences. Hopefully I didn't dangle any other participles.

    1. Audra's eyes can walk?
    2. Mary got planted in her garden? (with as many characters she's had shot, perhaps getting planted in her garden is apropos)
    3.Ruthy perfectly roasted? only by Mary
    4. Clever cat, filling a bird feeder so it can feed on the birds
    5. A check that signs contracts, hmmmm
    6. I need that singing microphone for the next time I do karaoke
    7. Shells can walk? that explains me losing that clam...

    sentence fixes
    1. In her text message, Janet requested assistance with putting up Christmas decorations.
    2. To avoid tummy bugs, Debby reommends drinking grape juice often.
    3. On the way to the post office, Sandra swerved to avoid the deer.
    4. On Saturday, Julie announced she will finish editing her next book.
    5. When she reads, Glynna almost cries over every romantic novel.

    okay, brain exercise for the morning complete. Thank you, GQ, for helping this plebe with her grammar skills.

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  9. p.s.
    Myra, I love your book covers. As a graphic artist, they appeal to me greatly. They make me sigh with pleasure. Great covers for great stories - packaging matches content... awesome!

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  10. I would LOVE to win Mignon Fogarty's book. I can see myself making some of the errors in the second set of examples, and I'm always looking for ways to improve my grammar and writing.

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  11. GRAMMAR QUEEN, You are so helpful with your advice. I'm afraid I fail often with some of these rules you remind us of so thank you.

    DEB H. I agree with you. I love those covers also. MYRA's books inside are great also.

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  12. I absolutely LOVE you book covers, Myra.

    I'm one of those awful people that make these mistakes all the time. I see how they can be taken the wrong way, but it's extremely rare I notice one in a book. Uh, which means they read normal to me.

    I have trouble writing past, "See Spot run." I will try to find these in my writing, but it would be much easier if Word would come out w/a find and replace button for dangling participles.

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  13. Good morning, dear students! I am still slightly jet-lagged after returning from my lovely week in virtual Australia, but as soon as I finish my Earl Grey and pull myself together, I shall pop back in and discuss dangling participles with you.

    Ta-ta for now!

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  14. Thanks, Grammar Queen, that was fun. I'll be printing this one out to keep. :-)

    Hmm, hard on Audra's eyes.

    Bet Mary sometimes feels like she's been planted in the garden. Watering takes forever!

    By the time the turkey was served, I bet Ruthy was roasted to perfection!

    And what's wrong with Pam making the cat help with chores?

    And I bet Tina didn't care that the check signed the contract, as long as it landed in her mailbox!

    That'll teach Missy to compete with a singing microphone!

    Cara, please avoid those colorful shells along the beach.

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  15. Loved this. I learn a ton from you every time you stop by, Grammar Queen. And it was fun to boot. :)

    I understand this concept better now. :)

    BTW, it was great seeing you in Australia. Did you enjoy boogie boarding? :)

    Myra, your new book has a lovely cover!

    And yes, I'd love to be included in the drawing!

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  16. Dear Grammar Queen, I'm in awe of anyone who can keep all those grammar rules in her head. Thanks to you and Myra for the post.

    You explained it so well I understand the problem in all your examples, but I have to say I don't see anything wrong with Mary being planted in the garden. I can see her sitting on the ground, smelling the roses as she decides who to kill off next.

    Actually, I plant my characters in a lot of different places. Maybe I should stop.

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  17. Oh, my, I accidentally signed in under Myra's account and must redo my deleted comment.

    Ah, well. Here I am once again, and feeling much more refreshed and clearheaded after my morning pot of Earl Grey.

    So now to work.

    PATTI JO, I caution you not to teach your kitties how to fill the bird feeder. They may have . . . other ideas.

    MARIANNE, I'm delighted you found my teaching examples humorous, although I wonder how certain Seekers will feel to see their names bandied about. At any rate, Myra will be delighted to know of your interest in her next book.

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  18. MARY, please keep in mind Ruthy's roasting was merely figurative. I'm certain she will survive.

    JENNY, so terribly sorry to cause you pain from laughter! Indeed, it sounds horrendously hot Down Under this week. Do stay cool. Perhaps Will can take you for an early-morning stroll before the sun heats the day.

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  19. DEBRA, I have it on good authority that Glynna does weep over a good romance novel from time to time.

    PIPER, if you think I am visiting Seekerville only to amuse you . . . well, I daresay!

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  20. DEB H, thank you so much for attempting to correct these faulty sentences. You are the bravest among us this lovely morning. So sorry about the lost clam, however. Perhaps you can chase it down. I do love a tasty bowl of clam chowder.

    And Myra will be thrilled to know you are sighing over her book covers. She is known to sigh occasionally as well.

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  21. This may seem like a dull topic but it is so RELEVANT!!

    What a difference this makes in our work.

    THANK YOU!!! GQ.

    Do you have a hotline for questions?

    You should.

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  22. JENNIFER, I'm so pleased to know of your desire to improve your grammar skills. Knowing our weaknesses is half the battle.

    SANDRA, you know where to find me should you ever require my assistance.

    CONNIE, I believe entire books have been written on the premise "See Spot run." The obvious plot possibilities aside, the writer of this sentence runs little risk of misplacing a comma or dangling a participle.

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  23. Oh my, MARY HICKS, my brain is now seared with the image of ROASTED RUTHY. Pardon me while I chuckle behind my white gloves . . .

    JEANNE, it's good to know my humble instruction has inspired you to improve your grammar skills. As for boogie-boarding, I tried it once and vowed never again. I don't do well with water up the nose. Besides, once one reaches a certain age, one should NOT be seen wearing a bikini!

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  24. ELAINE, it's fine to plant your characters in a variety of places as long as you also plant clues for your readers.

    TINA, grammar topics are never dull, especially when taught by moi. As for a hotline for questions, anyone seeking assistance is invited to contact me privately via my email address. Just don't interrupt me during teatime.

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  25. Grammar Queen, just seeing your picture makes me smile and eager to sit in your class. Myra has accused me of brown nosing you, but really, who would not enjoy your tutelage? My critique partner has pointed out a few dangling participles in my work. I'm better at catching them now.

    My dh has accused me of getting carried away with decorating for Christmas, but I think he'd agree that decorating text messages is over the top, even for me.

    Tell Myra that I can't wait to read Whisper Goodbye! I bonded with the red-headed nurse in When the Clouds Roll By, a fabulous book!

    Grammar Queen, what snack did you bring to nibble at recess?

    Janet

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  26. Jenny, I'm glad the heat wave waited until the retreat ended! Staying inside is a smart decision!

    Janet

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  27. JANET, dear, always thinking of recess. Well, if you must snack, please sample the blueberry scones and pour yourself a cup of Earl Grey.

    Oh, and Myra said she simply adored the cute little holly bushes decorating your Christmas texts.

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  28. Slightly off topic, and yet relevant.

    Let's eat grandma.

    Let's eat, Grandma.


    COMMAS SAVE LIVES

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  29. Is it just me of does Dangling Participle sound kinda dirty?

    Shame on you, Grammar Queen!

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  30. Popping in to see how things are going with GQ this morning. Glad she's annoying all of you for a change and leaving me alone!

    Heh, heh, I even bribed her to leave MY name out of her creative grammar quiz. Guess she was feeling a bit mellow after a week in virtual Australia. I heard she made the acquaintance of another handsome gentleman--Ian, I believe. I sure hope wind of this doesn't get back to Jake!

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  31. Seekerville is always elevated by your presence Grammar Queen.

    You uplift us all with your knowledge and we thank you for visiting and for your patience with our questions.

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  32. MARY. I should certainly hope you find my presence elevating, especially considering where it appears your mind has drifted this morning.

    And please, let's NOT eat Grandma. She isn't done roasting yet.

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  33. PS I don't water flowers.

    I feel strongly that watering plants and flowers only encourages the decline of all nature. The strong need to survive and the weak die.

    Thin the herd so to speak.

    If the flowers can't survive in nature without unnatural intervention, like me bringing them water, then it's best they just die and make way for what is natural.

    Have I mentioned my home is surrounded by weeds. Hardy things.

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  34. Have you noticed Ruthy hasn't commented?

    I hope there isn't a meat thermometer involved in her absence.

    (nervous)

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  35. Grammar Queen,
    It's always a good day in Seekerville and even better when you're at the chalk board.

    (Pet peeve of mine...whiteboards. Had to use one at my church writing class last night. I'm not a fan.)

    My two cents? You need to write your own grammar book, GQ. Really! Think about it. Pretty please.

    Love the cover of WHISPER GOODBYE, Myra's second book in her Till We Meet Again series...the nurse and horse have piqued my interest, for sure. Can't wait for its release.

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  36. Yes, MARY, we all know you are a "back to nature" kind of girl. I'm sure the weeds appreciate your thoughtfulness.

    Frankly, I've been wondering about poor Ruthy. Perhaps she is even more jet-lagged than I after returning from the retreat. Heaven knows I saw her burning the midnight oil more than once!

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  37. Wanted, babysitter for child who does not smoke or drink.

    Don't let worry kill you, let the church help.

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  38. DEBBY, I must agree with you on the subject of whiteboards. The problem, in my humble opinion, isn't so much the boards themselves as the silly little markers that are forever drying up and become so faint as to hardly make a legible mark! One simply doesn't encounter such issues with chalkboards, unless one's students fail to clean them regularly.

    Anyone care to earn some extra credit?

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  39. MARY, have you been culling the church bulletins again? I daresay they are a rich source of grammar faux pas. What does this say about church secretaries everywhere? Alas, the poor, underpaid dears. Myra was one herself for a short time, and I promise you, no grammar errors slipped past her as long as I was on duty!

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  40. Playing "God save the queen" in your honor, Grammar Queen :)

    I'm a big sis who helps homeschool her younger siblings. Dangling participles have always been (and probably always will be) one of the grammar favorites in our classroom! Everyone loves to read and laugh over the wrong ones.

    This sentence about Glynna is a fun one. One strategically-placed word can mean so many different things...

    -Glynna almost cries over every romantic novel she reads.
    -Glynna cries over almost every romantic novel she reads.
    -Glynna cries over every almost-romantic novel she reads.
    -Glynna cries over every romantic novel she almost reads.

    I loved this lesson! Long live the queen!

    P.S. I wouldn't mind being added in the drawing for the book :)

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  41. I just wish Glynna wasn't so sad.

    This blog post has taken a very sad turn.

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  42. What a fun post! I read your examples to my homeschooled 14yo and 12yo, and we had a great laugh. They were able to spot the errors and fix them. So, thanks for supplementing our school today! :-)

    Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

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  43. VICTORIA, my dear, what a queenly name! I'm delighted to know of your fondness for dangling participles--provided you also take time to correct them! And how sweet of you to graciously give of your time to help homeschool your younger siblings. You truly are a dear!

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  44. Yes, MARY, do try to cheer poor Glynna. I understand she has been quite overworked these days, so perhaps a good romance novel with a touch of cowboy humor would bring a smile. Do you perchance know an author who fits the bill?

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  45. MEGHAN, I am so very proud of your smart children! Give them gold stars on my behalf! It will be my pleasure to drop your name into my crown for the drawing.

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  46. GQ how do you feel about the word IT? Ending a sentence with IT?

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  47. Grammar Queen, recess has been proven to increase the ability to absorb knowledge. You should give it a try. Though playing in a tiara and heels would slow you down.

    Janet

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  48. "...the writer of this sentence runs little risk of misplacing a comma or dangling a participle." (Referring to See Spot run.

    My motto exactly. I've only written an editor a couple of times. I'm so nervous about making mistakes, I shorten my email to one or two sentences!

    And MARY, my critique partner gave me the "Let's eat Grandma" t-shirt for Christmas. Love it.

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  49. TINA, in my humble opinion, "it" is quite a useful little word. Where we run into problems is when we do not make abundantly clear exactly what or whom "it" refers to.

    Yes, I did just end a sentence with "to." I am becoming slightly more liberal. However, do not expect me to misuse "who" and "whom." That is where I draw the line.

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  50. JANET, of course I know how to relax and have a bit of fun! Were you not lollygagging about with me in virtual Australia? And so help me, if you post one single photograph of me boogie-boarding in my bikini, I will hunt you down!

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  51. CONNIE, there are truly many occasions when simplicity is the most sensible approach.

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  52. Only The Grammar Queen can make dangling participles fun and entertaining.

    :-)

    Hallee

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  53. Why, thank you, HALLEE. You are so sweet to say so!

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  54. Grammar Queen, thank you for your untiring efforts to keep us from falling into sloppy writing habits. We all need a reminder now and then.

    Come to think of it, maybe you should stop by more often!

    But I'm still wondering about Pam's poor cat. Did it ever get out of the bird feeder?

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  55. Oh, I forgot - please put my name in the drawing! Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing sounds like a book I need.

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  56. Okay. I came across this sentence today, and no matter what I order I arrange it, it doesn't right.
    I first had it like this:
    1. At the mention of Crazy Sally, she saw Jeb turn around out of the corner of her eye.
    Then...
    2. At the mention of Crazy Sally, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jeb turn around.
    And last...
    Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Jeb turn around at the mention of Crazy Sally.

    The last one sounds better, but I remember in one of critique groups discussing the sentence must be arranged in order of happening. Another words, the mention of Crazy Sally came first. Which is right? Or is the sentence poor no matter how it's written?

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  57. JAN, you are so kind to ask me to visit Seekerville more often. I'm having a hard time convincing Myra to allow me out of my ivory tower, however.

    I wouldn't worry too much about Pam's cat. I understand it catches a steady diet of mice in the barn.

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  58. CONNIE, this is quite a complicated little sentence you are working with! The most accurate and sensible arrangement, I would say, is #2, "At the mention of Crazy Sally, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jeb turn around."

    Or, to simplify it a bit, you might write, "At the mention of Crazy Sally, she glimpsed Jeb turn around."

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  59. Yes, the simplified version is the best. Thanks, Grammar Queen.

    My mind tends to make thinks harder than the really are.

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  60. From one Queen to another, you are quite welcome, dear CONNIE.

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  61. GQ its already 85 at 5am it didn't cool down its going to be a stinker today and today I will need the fan. the house has warmed up. but I had 2 days I needed nothing. I will get the watercooler down and I will be ok.
    just have to brave the heat at 7am to get supplies!

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  62. Uh-oh ... I smell fried brain ... ;)

    I was NEVER good at this stuff, Ms. GQ, so I needed this refresher course. Now ... if my brain will just remember it!! :)

    Oh, and please tell Myra that I LOVE the new cover and can't wait to read it (oh, wait ... I mean and can't wait to read the book -- already read the cover! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  63. JENNY, if it is 85 so early in the morning, I hate to imagine how hot it will be by noon! Do take care, dearest!

    Take a deep breath, JULIE, and don't tax your brain too severely. I shall be delighted to pass your kind words along to Myra. She is locked away in her office today trying to catch up on other odd bits of business after working through edits on book 3 of her Abingdon series.

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  64. Grammar Queen scares me. Terrifies me actually. Makes me second guess punctuation and word usage and now I have to worry about dangling hapless participles. It's just not fair. Is there an easier language to write in? Hmmm...maybe dog. Ruff. Arf. Woof. I definitely feel more confident talking canine...but maybe that's because dogs can't spell? Grammar Queen's presence has once again addled my brain. :-0

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  65. Oh, KAV, you poor dear. GQ never intended to frighten you so! Just think of good grammar as the key to clear communication and you'll be fine.

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  66. LOL, Grammar Queen!! I love those examples. Those type errors make for great church bulletin bloopers too. :)

    Myra, I love your new cover!! I don't think I had seen it yet. Beautiful!!

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  67. BTW, I'm really interested in walking Audra's eyes walk!!

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  68. KAV, GQ went a different direction than I expected her to with her reply to your comment.

    I expected her to say, "You're welcome."

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  69. Thanks, MISSY, and everyone for the comments about my new book cover! I was so excited when my publisher told me they were going to do a live model shoot (no bullets involved, MARY) for the second book. We were just having too hard a time finding the right stock image to use. The model they found is absolutely perfect for my heroine, another "Mary."

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  70. Why, MARY, you make me sound like such a cruel tyrant! What have I ever done to offend you? I am crushed. Simply crushed.

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  71. GQ and I get on really well and I see her nothing but a wonderful warm, caring and loving person. Of course I did get to see her dancing with Ian at the restaurant in Australia. She really is a great dancer.

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  72. We did have a lovely time, didn't we, JENNY? Ian is a marvelous dancer. I was utterly swept off my feet!

    And thank you so much for coming to my defense. I'm sure if Mary would just give me a chance, she would realize I am quite a charming and lovely person. And completely modest and unassuming, as well.

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  73. Grammar isn't my favorite subject, but I need all the help I can get! And your help is the best, Grammar Queen. Thanks for the clarification.

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  74. You are most welcome, CARA! Always a pleasure!

    See, Mary, I am being nice.

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  75. Students, I do believe it is the dinner hour for many of us. I'll be dining with Myra and family for the next hour or so. Please chat amongst yourselves, and feel free to sample the buffet. You should find a delicious pot roast with new potatoes, baby carrots, and the sweetest pearl onions! I've also brought back some Tim Tams from Australia, which you can help yourselves to for dessert.

    Ta-ta for now!

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  76. Excellent post, Grammar Queen!!! This exercise is such a great reminder. Thanks!

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  77. How did you know my eyes glazed over?

    Thanks for the great lesson!

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  78. I am in love with those covers. I seriously think they're some of the prettiest "vintage" style covers I've ever seen, Myra.

    Danglin' stuff.... Oh my stars, I don't think I do that because I "see" it as wrong, but I'm so guilty of no shortage of interesting things that this could be one of them!

    I get roasted!!!!! Yay! Wasn't it St. Lawrence who told his captors as they burned him at the stake: "Turn me over. I'm done on this side."

    Roast Ruthy is probably DELICIOUS!!!!

    But I'm Irish so bring on the potatoes!

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  79. Did Tina call GQ DULL????

    Oh mylanta, I'd have never had the nerve. Not to her face, any road!!!

    :)

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  80. Mary. Thank you, dear friend.

    It's nice you care.

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  81. GQ, YOU'RE LAUGHING AT THE IMAGE OF ME BEING ROASTED????

    FOR REAL?


    Oy.

    Oy.

    Oy.

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  82. Last but not least, Virtual Australia was SO FUN!!!!!

    And yes, GQ was boogie-boarding in a mighty tiny slip of a thing that can only be called a swimsuit by VERY GENEROUS PEOPLE.

    I am not generous.

    But she looked G-R-E-A-T. Brat. :)

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  83. Ah, RUTHY, we were all on pins and needles awaiting your appearance! I do hope the oven wasn't too hot.

    Yes, well, we will permit Tina's thoughtless remark to pass, as I'm certain she meant it in only the most complimentary way.

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  84. When I see items like this, I'm reminded of my 8th grade Language Arts teacher, Ms Terrell. It's in Ms. Terrell's voice that that the Grammar Queen lives.

    Ms. Terrell, God bless you and God rest your soul.

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  85. Oh dear, I'm tardy to Grammar Queen's class!

    The news broadcast teasers bother you, too? I'm not sure if I should be glad that we share that dislike ... or be worried that we share that dislike.

    I do wish I had a cat that would fill all my bird feeders the way Pam's does.

    Nancy C

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  86. WALT, I actually "hear" GQ with a proper British accent, but I'm honored she reminds you of your 8th-grade English teacher.

    I still have fond memories of my freshman English teacher, Miss Dale. It was so fun recently to learn she was still alive and celebrating her 103rd birthday, so I mailed her my latest book. I give her so much credit for encouraging my love of writing.

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  87. NANCY, count yourself in good company if those news broadcast teasers annoy you as much as they annoy me.

    Let me see if Pam will share the secret of her helpful kitty. Possibly the cat is interested in luring birds to the feeder for its own nefarious purposes?

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  88. Hi, Grammar Queen,

    Thanks for another great lesson! I'd love for my name to be dropped into your crown for the drawing. Here's my attempt at those sentences:

    1. Walking along the cliff, Audra’s eyes fell. (Audra' s eyes were walking?)

    2. Planted in the garden, Mary watered her daisies. (Mary was planted in the garden?)

    3. Roasted to perfection, Ruthy sampled her Thanksgiving turkey. (Ruthy must be hot!)

    4. Filling the bird feeder, a cat followed closely on Pam’s heels.(that was so nice of the cat to feed the birds)

    5. One week after signing the contract, a check arrived in Tina’s mailbox. (That is one talented check!)

    6. While singing a solo, the microphone slipped from Missy’s hand. (Talented microphone, too)

    7. Walking along the beach, the colorful shell caught Cara’s eye.(Shells have legs?)

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  89. Delighted you made it to class, SARA! You are right on target with your comments about these ridiculous statements--A+ for you! Your name will most certainly find its way into my crown for the book drawing.

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  90. eek! I teach kindergarten, so if I can get past the subject and verb (or as they say in kinder land: the who and the do) then I feel like I've accomplished something! I would love to be entered to win the Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Thanks so much!!!!

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  91. LEANNE, how sweet--"the who and the do." Very clever indeed. I shall add your name to the drawing at once!

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