I'm currently using Microsoft Word (gasp, shudder) to co-write a textbook (or "textbooklet"). Today, I typed the following sentence:
"Quite often when using statistics, our data will involve more than one variable."
It promptly got underlined in green by Word's "grammar checker". Usually I don't trust the grammar checker, but in this instance, once I looked back at my sentence, I realized that it does commit one of those "dangling modifier" type of boo-boos. So I changed the sentence to
"Quite often when we use statistics, our data will involve more than one variable."
The grammar checker didn't object at all.
So I guess my question is, is that really what the grammar checker was objecting to? The dangling modifier? But how would it know? Isn't that more a question of semantics than syntax? Suppose you type a sentence like
"Raised in Arizona, it is easy to miss the open land."
How would you program a computer to try to recognize that "raised in Arizona" doesn't really modify the "it"?