‘Looking up, his heart sank.’ Did it? How bothered are you about dangling modifiers?

Can your heart look up? 💓⬆️

Hands in a heart shape
An upwards heart.

▫️Looking up, his heart sank.

I know what the author means.

They mean that whatever the character has seen has made their heart sink.

🎣 But the way it’s written causes something called a ‘dangling modifier’. The subject of the sentence is ‘heart’ and the heart is said to be ‘looking up’. Hmm.

Leaving the sentence alone would probably be no great issue. Most readers probably wouldn’t notice.


But some might.

The sentence could be amended to something like this:

▫️He looked up and his heart sank.


▫️His heart sank as he looked up.

❓If you were the author, would you want your editor to leave the original alone as its meaning is obvious?

❔Or would you want it to be fixed so no one could call you out on it?

I’m also interested to know what you’d think of this as a reader. Bothered? Not bothered? Let me know.

Published by clairecherryedits

CherryEdits.com Indie Fiction Specialist. Line Editing. Copy Editing. Proofreading.

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