A participle should describe the grammatical subject of the main clause. When it doesn’t you get a dangling or misrelated participle. Fowler gives the example: “Recently converted into apartments, I passed by the house where I grew up.” There’s also this one quoted in Private Eye in 1988, “Being a vegan bisexual who’s into Nicaraguan coffee picking and boiler suits, you could safely assume that I vote Labour.” You get the idea.
There are some fine examples closer to home thanks to Barney McDonald, who reviews movies for the Sunday Star-Times and is an absolute master of the dangling participle. In his 17 May review (not online yet) of Philippe Claudel’s I’ve Loved You So Long, he writes:
A phenomenally talented actress, [. . .] Thomas’s fluent French and world-weary eyes are undeniably compelling.Which is to say, her fluent French is a phenomenally talented actress, as are her eyes.
An acclaimed novelist, his film embraces. . .His film is a novelist.
Elsewhere McDonald he tells us of the film’s “impenetrable tone”, and about a man who buries “his own head” in a book. His own head, you see, not anybody else’s.
I’m told they have sub-editors at the SST, but you’d never know it.