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Intrigued at the idea of putting a general in charge, Mr. Trump offered the job to Mr. Kelly a few days ago.

Is the first part of the sentence before the comma called a dangling modifier, and is it describing how Trump is feeling about the idea...?

Is intrigued followed by "by something" or "at something"?

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    It's not a dangling modifier, because that's when the subject of the verb in the "fronted" modifier (intrigued, here) doesn't follow immediately after that modifier. In your example, the subject (Mr Tramp) does appear in the expected position, so the modifier isn't left "dangling" (unresolved). You're quite right that intrigued is normally followed by by [the thing which intrigues], but that's a matter of idiomatically established preference, not a "rule" of grammar. – FumbleFingers Sep 29 '17 at 13:19
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    Note that it's not so much describing how Tramp is feeling about the idea - rather, it's explaining why Tramp offered the job to Kelly. – FumbleFingers Sep 29 '17 at 13:24
  • Thank you for ur reply. So could we call this an absolute phrase? Because it "intrigued" describes the sentence as a whole, and not a specific noun as you mentioned. @FumbleFingers – Bavyan Yaldo Sep 29 '17 at 13:29
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    I'm not much interested in "grammar terminology" at that level (I had no idea what an absolute phrase was until I just looked it up). But according to that link, absolute phrases themselves do NOT contain verbs, so I guess the answer is NO - your example isn't one of those. – FumbleFingers Sep 29 '17 at 13:34
  • I wouldn't say that it describes "the sentence as a whole" but Trump's state of mind. Here's an example of an absolute: The last train for the day having departed, they decided to take the bus. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 29 '17 at 15:12
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Although it is a lengthy phrase,

Intrigued at the idea of putting a general in charge...

is not a dangling modifier, as it does immediately precede Mr. Trump, the noun it is modifying, as @FumbleFingers indicated in his comment. A dangling modifier is present in this variant of the sentence:

Intrigued at the idea of putting a general in charge, the job was offered by Mr. Trump to Mr. Kelly a few days ago.

or even worse,

Intrigued at the idea of putting a general in charge, Mr. Kelly was offered the job by Mr. Trump a few days ago.

So what is it? I would classify it as a participial phrase, where the entire phrase is an adjective modifying Mr. Trump. Specifically, it modifies his state of mind, or intent, for offering the job to Mr. Kelly, as pointed out by @Tᴚoɯɐuo.

Finally, "intrigued at" appears to be the least common use among "intrigued by," "intrigued with," and "intrigued at." However, all three could be considered valid uses.

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    the link that you put in the words "dangling modifier" is not working. – Stevan Slewa Oct 20 '17 at 17:06
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    @StevanSlewa Thank you for pointing that out. I've corrected the link. – mathewb Oct 20 '17 at 17:12

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