Dangling modifier

A dangling modifier is a word or phrase placed such that it appears to modify something other than what it was intended to modify. I typically hear four or five every day on the news. They are not just bad grammar; they’re evidence of unclear thinking. For example, this morning I heard an ABC News reporter say,

“After being missing for four weeks, rescue workers announced today that they found the body of Mollie Tibbetts…”

Really? The rescue workers were missing for four weeks? There are several ways to say that grammatically. “Rescue workers announced today that after being missing for four weeks, Mollie Tibbetts was found dead …” or “The body of Mollie Tibbetts, the teenager who has been missing for four weeks, was found today, rescue workers announced.”

As long as we’re on the topic of grammar and language, there’s that tweet yesterday by our president about the “Special Councel” Robert Mueller. There is no such word as “councel.” It wasn’t a typo, either, because he repeated it several times. That’s a spelling error no one who managed to graduated from high school should make, much less a college graduate intensely involved ion the matter. He seems to have conflated two distinct words:

counsel: a lawyer or other adviser.

council: a representative body of people, typically formally elected or appointed

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