Having recently been completely remodelled, they thought the house lacked charm.

According to the assignment this sentence is incorrect. But I can't figure our how. My best guess is to add of in-between lacked and charm so it reads, "lacked of charm"? But really I have no idea.

  • I don't see how this phrase is incorrect. Feb 20 '20 at 11:54
  • 2
    As a native speaker, it didn't immediately strike me as wrong either - I actually had to work harder to misinterpret it - but It perhaps implies that they have been completely remodelled, rather than the house? Feb 20 '20 at 11:57
  • 2
    @stevekeiretsu Yes, I'd say it does. They is the subject of the sentence. A better way to express the idea would be "Although the house had recently been remodelled, they thought it lacked charm." Feb 20 '20 at 13:47
  • stevekeiretsu & @KateBunting Thank you. Would never have been able to see it myself!
    – EnLT
    Feb 20 '20 at 14:29
  • I would put "recently" after "remodelled".
    – anouk
    Feb 20 '20 at 18:30

Your example is a textbook case of a dangling modifier. The problem is that the subordinate clause of your sentence ("Having recently been completely remodeled") modifies the subject of the independent clause ("they thought the house lacked charm").

In other words, the sentence says that they have been completely remodeled, while the intent of the speaker was likely that the house was completely remodeled. Hence the error.

The most obvious way to fix the sentence is to rewrite it so that the house is the subject of the independent clause:

Having recently been completely remodeled, the house lacked charm to them.

or make both clauses independent:

Because the house has recently been completely remodeled, they thought it lacked charm.

  • Spot on. I didn't know such thing existed. +1 Feb 20 '20 at 14:20

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