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The sentences are,

Filling the shopping cart with D batteries and bottled water, we finally completed our hurricane preparation.

Filling the shopping cart with D batteries and bottled water, our hurricane preparation was finally complete.

I have been told that the latter sentence is correct whereas the former one is not. I am confused and can't understand why the first sentence isn't correct. Anybody who can explain the rule, please?

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    One is active voice and one is passive voice. Otherwise no difference in meaning. – Andrew Aug 14 '17 at 15:33
  • @Andrew Question is, are both of the sentences correct grammatically? Because the first sentence has been quoted wrong by our book. These sentences are related to dangling modifiers, If I am not wrong. – Hassan Ashas Aug 14 '17 at 15:45
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    @Andrew "complete" is not a passive, it's a complement. – Michael Login Aug 14 '17 at 15:46
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    I would say the second is wrong since it might be read as "preparation" being filling the shopping cart. BTW it would be better to put it as "having filled" in both sentences. The perfect tense would match "completed\complete" much better than the continuous one. – Michael Login Aug 14 '17 at 15:58
  • @MvLog Yes, you are right. It's a passive construction, but it's not the passive tense. That would be "was completed (by us)". – Andrew Aug 14 '17 at 16:06
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Only the first sentence is correct.

Filling the shopping cart with D batteries and bottled water, we finally completed our hurricane preparation.

In this sentence "we" (the speaker and his friends) were filling the cart. By this action they completed their preparations for the hurricane.

Filling the shopping cart with D batteries and bottled water, our hurricane preparation was finally complete.

Here the writer has attempted to switch the sentence to passive voice, but has bungled it. With the grammatical subject "we" gone, the remaining noun phrase "our hurricane preparation" becomes the subject. Now the hurricane preparations fills the cart with batteries and bottled water and by so doing becomes complete.

Native speakers of English frequently make this error.

  • No, "our hurricane preparation" fills the cart. – user3169 Aug 14 '17 at 19:34
  • @user3169 I suppose we could view the hurricane preparations as a force which fills shopping carts. It is a clever interpretation of an oddly-worded sentence. But do you really think this is what the writer is trying to convey? I suspect they are trying to say: "With our filling of the shopping card with D batteries and bottled water, our hurricane preparations were finally complete." – David42 Aug 17 '17 at 17:21

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