Ditch the dangling modifiers

What is wrong with this sentence?

After using the keyboard for a week, it felt comfortable.

If you answered, “It contains a dangling modifier,” you’re correct. This sentence does not say who was using the keyboard, so the introductory phrase is left “dangling.” Here’s how to fix it:

Identify the subject. In this case, it was probably the reviewer/writer who was using the keyboard for a week, so we’d use “I.” We replace “it” with “I” so that it’s clear that “I” am the one “using” it:

After using the keyboard for a week, I felt comfortable with it.

Now, one more:

What is wrong with this sentence?

Opening some files, including PDFs, was quick.

This sentence is unclear because the subject is ambiguous. We’re not sure who is performing the task, and thus don’t really know what was quick. Here’s how to fix it:

Identify the subject. In this case, the subject was probably the computer (or other device or operating system) because it was the thing that was “opening” (the verb). Here’s one possible fix:

The computer opened some files, including PDFs, quickly.

In summary: Start by identifying the subject; then make sure it matches the verb.

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