Daily Frolic 22: Lusting milkmen and dangling participles

“There must be something in your water.”

“In my water?”

“No, no, I mean in this country.”

“Like what?”

“No idea – but it must be dodgy.”

“Dodgy?”

“Aha; we would never allow anything like this to happen in Poland.”

“Like what?”

“To upset people’s hormonal balance like this – never. I mean, you don’t want to mess with hormones, do you?”

“What are you on about?”

“Well, I’ve been reading this Sunday Telegraph …”

“And?”

“They had this interview with a singer – they said he was very famous in Britain …”

“Yes?”

“And he said that, after he’d left school with no qualifications, he became a milkman.”

“Well, when you have no qualifications your options are a tad limited. But I guess becoming a milkman is a viable career option in such circumstances.”

“Or a footballer?”

“Or a footballer. But what’s your point?”

“Well, he said he’d come across all these funny women – when he was delivering their milk.”

“Look, you are not making any sense. What exactly did he say?”

“This.”

“My outstanding memory was that despite bursting with testosterone, bored housewives never lured me into their home.”

 “Oh this, ha, ha, ha!”

“But it’s not funny. These poor women; I wonder whether they were hairy. I mean, testosterone can …”

“No, no, no, it’s a dangler.”

A dangler?”

“Yep: a dangling participle; bursting is a participle.”

“But why is it dangling?”

“Because it’s misrelated. It’s a very common error: many people don’t seem to realise that a participle such as this will always refer to the subject of the clause which governs it – in this case, housewives. In other words, such participles are always forward-looking.”

“Hmm … I mean … do you mean … how do you mean?”

“Look, what he was attempting to say was this.”

 My abiding memory was that, despite bursting with testosterone, I was never lured by bored housewives into their home.

 “So it’s not your water?”

“Nope; neither is his memory outstanding – it’s abiding.”

“A-a-a-a, but if these women had really been crazed by testosterone, it may well have been!”

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