I was reading David Morrell's book Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks at His Craft. On page 183 he refers to the easy grammatical errors that even experienced writers can make:
After reading the above statement in Morrell's book, I looked up my own copy of Strunk and White. The eleventh rule states:A momentary carelessness took possession of me, as it occasionally does every writer. Norman Mailer once began Harlot's Ghost, a novel about the CIA, with a massive grammatical mistake in the first sentence.
On a late-winter evening in 1983, while driving through the fog along the Maine coast, recollections of old campfires began to drift into the March mist, and I thought of the Abnaki Indians of the Algonquin tribe who dwelt near Bangor a thousand years ago.
No one spotted the error until the book was in stores. That first sentence was fixed in the second edition. Pray for an attentive copyeditor. If you don't see the error, look at rule eleven in Strunk and White's popular English-usage book, The Elements of Style, a copy of which should always be at your desk.
A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.
It goes on to give examples.
In case you're wondering, the second edition of Harlot's Ghost now reads:
It pays to own The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by Strunk and White.On a late-winter evening in 1983, while driving my car through fog along the Maine coast road, recollections of old campfires began to drift into the March mists, and I thought of the Abnaki Indians of the Algonquin tribe who dwelt near Bangor a thousand years ago.