Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Dangling Modifiers: A List of Examples

Grammar is an important study (in fact, if you read his Language Arts indications you'll find that Steiner went on and on about it).

I use the Montessori Grammar symbols & Sentence Analysis material. Montessori introduces Grammar right away in Lower Elementary (ages 6-9). Waldorf introduces Grammar in third grade, and it is often incorporated into a block about Creation Myths. (Old Testament Stories is a classic Waldorf third grade topic; some families do Creation Stories from Around the World instead.) The idea is that a concept like Noun is a good tie-in to the idea of substance being formed and everything coming into being.

I've been searching for more traditional books about Grammar as well, that I can recommend to homeschooling families who aren't wanting to go down the whole Montessori path. I'm happy to share that I've found books I like for grades 3/4/5 and grade 6! Here they are:

I really like The English Grammar Workbook for Grades 3, 4, and 5. It is by Shelly Rees. Please note, however, that I also bought and reviewed the grade 6, 7, 8 book from this series and I DO NOT recommend it. They are not by the same authors. The short and easy format also does not work for the more complex grammar concepts that your child will encounter later on.

For grade 6, I adore The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom by Diane Mae Robinson. It would also be completely suitable for grade 7 or 8, if your child didn't use it in grade 6 and needs a Grammar refresher. I just bought a copy for each of the 6th/7th grade students in my homeschool co-op, and I'm really looking forward to giving it to them in their tote bags mid-October!

One important Grammar concept -- dangling modifiers -- is easy to teach using examples from everyday life. Just keep your eyes peeled for them. I do find that they seem to occur more often in newspapers than in books. Perhaps because newspaper articles are published on a faster timeline and maybe fewer eyes edit them before they go out? Anyway, I started keeping a collection of newspaper clippings after my mom brought me her favorite:

Heindrich Kuhlmann, of Brookline, Massachusetts, rides an escalator dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper Friday at Boston Comic Con.

    08/16/17 Southern Illinoisan

    The AP is credited with the photo (which you can see if you click on the link) but it's unlear if they also provided the caption...

    The photo doesn't actually show an escalator dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper. That would be awesome, though!

Here are some I just saw recently! Feel free to share your own examples in the Comments. I'll add them to the list. That way we can build up a robust collection which we can all refer back to when we teach this lesson!

  • "The World Health Organization reported the highest single-day increase in global infections since the pandemic began on Sunday."
      09/14/20 CNN news update bullet point

      the pandemic began on Sunday?

  • "Sudden death of inmate under investigation"
      09/15/20 Southern Illinoisan front page headline

      the inmate was under investigation?

  • "Federal prosecuters have charged a Nevada man with fraudulently obtaining about $2 million in federal coronavirus relief aid meant for small businesses to buy luxury vehicles and condominiums in Las Vegas."
      01/24/21 USA Today news update bullet point

      small businesses were supposed to buy luxury vehicles and condominiums in Las Vegas?

  • "After a timid milkman knocks unconscious a boxing champion who was accosting his sister, he decides to take up boxing himself in order to impress a beautiful nightclub singer."

    It would also be worthwhile to ask students to rewrite the sentences so that they are clearer. For example, "he himself decides to take up boxing..."

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