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I was wondering whether dangling participles apply to an “it clause” too. For example, does the following sentence have a dangling participle at the beginning of the sentence or is it grammatically correct?

Excluding serious accidents, it is likely that every one will reach the finishing line.

  • A good question. I would say that it's certainly unclear, and a better phrasing would be "Barring serious accidents..." – stangdon Apr 9 '18 at 15:01
  • Not in your example. "Excluding" is not a participle here but a preposition, thus "excluding serious accidents" is a preposition phrase, not a clause, not a dangling participle. – BillJ Apr 9 '18 at 15:45
  • Thank you. But how can one tell when it is a participle and when it is a preposition? (I'm not sure whether this is a dumb/annoying question, but for a foreigner like me, the differentiation seems not easy. If it's a long answer, please just give me some related links.) – user287279 Apr 9 '18 at 18:18
  • One clue is that prepositions cannot take a subject, whereas participial clauses usually can. In your example, it is not possible to imagine a plausible subject for "Excluding serious accidents". I can't find a comprehensive link, but the OED dictionary may help link – BillJ Apr 9 '18 at 19:25
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No, it's not dangling. "Excluding serious accidents" is being used as a sentence adverb.

BTW, "every one" should be one word.

  • Thank you. So it means there is no dangling participle in the following sentences too, is it? Excluding serious accidents, the race will have all the runners complete the course in 2 hours. Btw, you are right about every one. I’ll try to be more careful. Thanks – user287279 Apr 9 '18 at 18:40
  • Every one is also written as two words in certain contexts - although not this one: grammarly.com/blog/everyone-vs-every-one – Ronald Sole Apr 9 '18 at 22:45

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