Weather with you

The Weather Channel, led by intrepid reporter Jim Cantore, is the place to go for hurricane coverage, either on television or on the Web. In broadcast, grammar errors go by in a blur. In print or online, they stay for all to see. Here’s a sentence from The Weather Channel site that needs some help:

Though in a weakened state, the conventional thinking is that the pesky upper level northwesterly winds will finally begin to diminish on Wednesday.

Conventional thinking isn’t in a weakened state, but that’s what the sentence says thanks to the position of the modifier. What is intended here is to say that a tropical storm has weakened. Dangling modifiers may not be as dangerous as a Category 5 hurricane, but we should still try to avoid them.

For tips on how to find and repair misplaced modifiers, try this at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Or consult the AP Stylebook under “dangling modifiers.”