Mar 20, 2009

The Devil Wears Prada: Dangling Modifiers

This is the opening scene of this funny movie with excellent characters. I left the answers to the exercises on the blog post just to help you out, but of course you'll have to delete this information when you prepare the students' exercise sheets. This is the opening scene of the movie, with a great song. I prepared a lesson plan to practice dangling modifiers with visual input to contextualize the topic.

These ladies are the main characters:

Andrea and Miranda

A. Discuss the following questions with a partner:

1. How should people behave in a job interview?
2. What should they wear?
3. What is the perfect boss like?
4. How would you deal with an extremely impolite boss if the job was very good pay and extremely important for your career? Justify your answer.

Watch the movie segment and decide whether the following sentences have dangling modifiers. Write (C) if the statement is correct and (W) if it is wrong.

1 - After getting dressed, Andrea kissed her boyfriend goodbye. (C)

2 - Going to her job interview, the waitress handed Andrea a bagel for breakfast. (W)

3 - While eating a sandwich, she took the subway to work. (C)

4 - Surprised by the message the taxi driver sent, a lot of things had to be done in a hurry. (W)

5 - After asking if someone had eaten an onion bagel, Andrea checked whether her breath was fine. (W)

6 - Before reaching her office, nobody but her assistant talked to Miranda. (W)

7 - While going to her office, the employees avoided walking or staying where Miranda was. (W)

8 - Sitting in the waiting room, Miranda called Andrea for the interview. (W)

Now revise the dangling modifiers and write a possible correction.

Possible answer key:

1 - Correct
2 - Going to her job interview, Andrea bought a bagel for breakfast.
3 - Correct
4 – Surprised by the message the taxi driver sent, Emily had to do a lot of things in a hurry.
5 – After being asked if someone had eaten an onion bagel, Andrea checked…
6 – Before reaching her office, Miranda didn’t talk with anyone but her assistant.
7 – While going to her office, Miranda made her employees avoid walking…
8 – Sitting in the waiting room, Andrea was called for the interview.

How to prepare your own video activity:

- Select a scene with a lot of actions
- Prepare sentences about the sentences with dangling modifiers
- Some of the sentences should be correct
- Students watch the segment and decide how to correct the wrong sentences



Unknown said...

I really appreciate the activities you've created and would love to know if and how it would be possible to get your videos? Thanks. Charlotte

Claudio Azevedo said...

Hello Charlotte,
Thank you for the comment. If you have realplayer installed in your computer you can download it after scrolling the mouse over the video screen. You may download the free realplayer version at However, my intention is that users would either buy or rent the movie since the quality of the videos on the blog had to be lowered for the sake of viewing speed. I hope you manage the downloads,though. See you around.

Zailda Coirano said...

Hey, the idea is great, I have a project about movies used to teach English and loved your weblog. I have created some material on "Fried Green Tomatoes", and I got excellent results, working with vocabulary, conversation skills, spelling and grammar.

Claudio Azevedo said...

Thaks, Zailda. Fried Green Tiomatoes is a great movie with lots of useful scenes for the EFL classroom. Is there a way I can check out your project and activities? See you around,

Carissa Peck said...

Fantastic! I try to implement visual aids in my class as much as possible and this is perfect. Just revamped this with a music video for my students tomorrow. I am also linking you in a blog post I am working on now (looong time since I posted)

Anonymous said...

Claudio, you're great! Your approach is so clever and yet so simple. Bravo. (Marie in Indonesia)

Claudio Azevedo said...

Thanks, Marie. What kind words! Come back often.

Hot Tubs said...

This movie is amazing!

elisabeth said...

Thank you so much for your site ! It's a gold mine !!!
I've just discovered it....

elisabeth said...

Thank you so much for your site and all the trailers and documents !
I've just discovered your site. It's a gold mine !

Claudio Azevedo said...

Thanks. Now that you know the site, come back often!

FRED said...


I am probably your greatest fan

you are a God send

I can't think of preparing a lesson without your site my students love and ot amways gives zest to my lesson


Claudio Azevedo said...

Great to hear that, Fred. Thanks.