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Sentence Correction: Dangling Modifiers - Overview

Anchoring the organelles in place, the tasks that are performed by the cytoskeleton within a cell's structure are crucial, and composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules, it maintains cell polarity.

Incorrect.

The original sentence begins with a modifier: Anchoring the organelles in place. A modifier should be placed right next to the noun it describes. In this answer choice, what immediately follows the modifier is tasks. Even without any knowledge of cell biology, it is clear that this modifier cannot logically modify the noun tasks as a task cannot anchor organelles or do anything, for that matter. 

What helps us identify this question as a Dangling Modifier question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A modifier, characterized by all of the following:
1. Verb+ing or Verb in 3rd form
2. Separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma
3. Appears at the very beginning of the sentence

Whenever you see this Stop Sign, focus on the modifier: check whether the noun right after the modifier is indeed the noun that the modifier describes. If it isn't - you've found your mistake.

Incorrect.

This answer choice repeats the original Dangling Modifier error. The original sentence begins with a modifier: Anchoring the organelles in place. A modifier should be placed right next to the noun it describes. In this answer choice, what immediately follows the modifier is tasks. Even without any knowledge of cell biology, it is clear that this modifier cannot logically modify the noun tasks as a task cannot anchor organelles or do anything, for that matter. 

What helps us identify this question as a Dangling Modifier question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A modifier, characterized by all of the following:
1. Verb+ing or Verb in 3rd form
2. Separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma
3. Appears at the very beginning of the sentence

Whenever you see this Stop Sign, focus on the modifier: check whether the noun right after the modifier is indeed the noun that the modifier describes. If it isn't - you've found your mistake.

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice corrects the original Dangling Modifier error by placing the noun being described (cytoskeleton) directly after the modifier describing it, it creates a Parallelism error. The first two items in the list at the end of the sentence are nouns (microfilaments, intermediate filaments), but the last item is an unconjugated verb (containing). In a list, all the items must be in the same part of speech and/or of the same kind (all verbs or all nouns, or all adjectives...).

What helps us identify this question as a Parallelism question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A list of 3 items or more, separated by commas and and/or before the last item.

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice corrects the original Dangling Modifier error by placing the noun being described directly after the modifier describing it, it does not fit into the original sentence because it disconnects the phrase it maintains cell polarity from the rest of the sentence.

The problem is that the clause "it maintains cell polarity" is unconnected to the rest of the sentence. Main clauses should be connected by conjunctions such as and, because, although, etc, and E misses that linking word.

In the correct answer choice the last clause is connected by the and after "cell" (the cytoskeleton performs tasks...and it maintains cell polarity) which leads to parallel construction composed of A, B, and C. The parallel construction ends with microtubles, and acts as a modifying clause which modifies the subject of the last clause "it".

Excellent work!

This answer choice corrects the original Dangling Modifier error by placing the noun being described (cytoskeleton) directly after the modifier describing it (Anchoring the organelles in place).

the tasks that are performed by the cytoskeleton within a cell's structure are crucial and, composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and
the cytoskeleton performs crucial tasks in a cell's structure and, composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and containing
the cytoskeleton performs crucial tasks within the structure of a cell and, composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and
the tasks being performed within a cell's structure by the cytoskeleton are crucial and, composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and
the cytoskeleton performs crucial tasks within a cell's structure and it is composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and