Among other things, it’s a sentence adverb

A colleague asked whether “among other things” in a sentence such as the following is a dangler:

Among other things, this book explores the concept of silliness.

My reply: No one would read it to mean that the “among other things” means that the book is one of many things. Try to construct a sentence starting with “Among other things” where the thing that is among other things is immediately following the comma. You will find that it attaches quite naturally to the predicate or the whole sentence rather than the subject.

Among other things, the camera is in her purse.

Among other things, the glass is on the table.

Among other things, this book is lying in a heap.

Every one of these sentences could take the subject as what is “among other things,” but just try to read it like that. It would seem that “Among other things” is taken to mean “among other facts” and refers to the entire following clause – it’s a sentence adverb. Compare:

Fortunately, the camera is in her purse.

Hopefully, the glass is on the table.

Regrettably, this book is lying in a heap.

Same function. This sentence adverb just happens to be a prepositional phrase.

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