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8 May 2008: What to do about a technical dangler? (How technical is "technical"?)

Having read the book, it occurs to me that I didn't like it.

Originally, I wrote:

After perusing the four reviews of Chinese novels in this week's issue, it occurs to me that the editors ought to assign non-Anglophone books to readers fluent in both English and the language of the original.

But "After" is plainly wrong unless I put "occurs" into the past tense. As I prefer to write about language problems in the present tense to underline my experiencing semantic agony keenly in the moment that move is not an option. So, instead, I changed "After" to "Having perused."

Having perused the four reviews &c.

This makes perfect sense so far as it goes, but it also introduces a "dangling modifier": "it occurs" fails to be the subject of "Having perused." It did no perusing I did.

Or does it? Does it, I mean, matter? The object of "It occurs to me that" is clearly "that the editors ought to assign." Technically. But what if "it occurs to me" is stock phrase that really means "I'm reminded"?

In other words, this is a bud of the Hopefully conundrum. Everybody "knows" that "hopefully" means "with any luck," but of course the grammarians know otherwise. Technically, "hopefully" means "filled with hope."

Hopefully, the ninety-eight pound weakling walked up to the bullying heavyweight.

The problem is that nobody uses "hopefully" in this sense, ie, correctly. "Hopefully" has passed from a plain-old-word to an "idiotisme," as the French so helpfully call these things. "Idiotisme" means exactly what it says: don't go looking for reasons.

What do you think?

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