As speculation swirls in the scientific community over the possible discovery of the elusive “God Particle,” also known as the Higgs boson, a particle that, if found, would complete the fundamental theory of particle physics, known as the Standard Model, excitement also builds among a small group of linguists tasked with finding the “God Participle,” also known as the Higgenbottom, a participle incapable of dangling and that, if found, would call into question the true nature of the comma, long thought to be the only remedy for dangling.
“Commas will always be with us, make no mistake about that,” said Charles Thornton Quasicolon, lead investigator on The Higgenbottom Project, “but resorting to commas to prevent a dangler is akin to repairing a fender using duct tape.”
Grammarians like John Postwaite Stopnowe of the Comma Institute, not surprisingly, disagree. “These Higgenbottoms are delusional,” said Stopnowe. “Even if they found such a participle—and they won’t—there would still be a role for commas in dangler prevention.”
As evidence, Stopnowe offered the following sentence:
He went to watch his horse take a turn around the track carrying a copy of the breeders’ guide under his arm.
“That sentence just screams for a comma, and no so-called god participle could save it.” said Stopnowe.
Quasicolon laughed at Stopnowe’s assertion. “The trouble with commanists is that they lack imagination. Remember, this is the same group that derided the semicolon as “pretentious” a few years back.”
But both Quasicolon and Stopnowe could agree on one thing: no god participle has yet been found.
“Still, we’re close,” said Quasicolon. “We’ve had a few semi-danglers in the laboratory, and that gives us hope.”