Submitted by conrad on November 18, 2005

Squirting participle?

A friend and I were discussing the most funnily named facets of grammar when I brought up the trio of hanging, dangling and squirting participles. When he inquired about the meaning of the third I realised it had escaped me. Neither of us have been able to find a definition in the following period and I suspect it may be obsolete. Can anybody set me straight in regard to the meaning and/or existance of such a term?

P.S Whilst this may be a bit off topic, any other contenders for ‘funniest part of grammar’ would be welcome too!

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I've never heard of it, and any search on the Internet only produces this page. Have you made it up?

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I suspect that you're thinking of a "squinting modifier"; an ambiguously placed modifier that can be interpreted as modifying the words on either side of it.

e.g., the man she saw occasionally said hello.

Did she see the man occasionally or did he occasionally say hello?

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I am a world class wheenie when it comes to people sticking needles into me.

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