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Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have

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Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2012, 21:13
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Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

(A) Based on accounts of various ancient writers,

(B) Basing it on various ancient writers’ accounts,

(C) With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis,

(D) By the accounts of various ancient writers they used,

(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers,

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will not talk about how I've eliminated options B, C, and D, as I believe it is a straight forward process and does not warrant a discussion.

That leaves me with option A and E. Both seem to be correct grammatically and therefore it boils down to meaning.

This is where I find it hard to digest the explanation that OG gives in its answers.

Using the accounts of - to my understanding - implies that the accounts were used to sketch. And this means that the sketches of the goddesses were precise. But this is not true.

When one uses Based on the accounts of, it still leaves the possibility that the 'actual sketch' of the goddess may be different from the one sketched based on the accounts.

I might be thinking about this too far, but I do feel that the logic using both seems OK.

We also see the usage of 'Based on' for similar constructions in our day-to-day lives (e.g. Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion), so why exactly does OG state the modifier as non-sensical? Am I missing something here?

Kind regards,

Vikas
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2012, 21:49
"A" technically means that the scholars themselves are based on accounts of various writers.

Why does "Using the accounts" imply that they were precise? It doesn't qualify the accounts, so the accounts were most likely inadequate if they produced sketchy results.
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2012, 23:14
Guys, I don't see how precision has any relevance to this question. Here is my understanding of this question:

Option A:

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars: this seems illogical, for how can scholars be based on accounts? I mean its possible that the author is trying to say that ancient writers hypothesized that scholars created a sketchy picture etc etc..but this is highly unlikely. The other way around makes more sense: that scholars have painted a sketch picture based on accounts....So basically, this option is ambiguous at best and sports a modifier error at worst.

Option E:
Using accounts of various ancient writers, : now here's an opening modifier that clearly informs us as to how the scholars came up with the sketchy picture.


e.g. Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion), so why exactly does OG state the modifier as non-sensical? Am I missing something here?
Here again we can see how logic allows for this: how did the prof. calculate the rate? By basing it on the assumptions listed. Here this makes logical sense and is clear.
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2012, 00:03
macjas wrote:
Guys, I don't see how precision has any relevance to this question. Here is my understanding of this question:

Option A:

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars: this seems illogical, for how can scholars be based on accounts? I mean its possible that the author is trying to say that ancient writers hypothesized that scholars created a sketchy picture etc etc..but this is highly unlikely. The other way around makes more sense: that scholars have painted a sketch picture based on accounts....So basically, this option is ambiguous at best and sports a modifier error at worst.

Option E:
Using accounts of various ancient writers, : now here's an opening modifier that clearly informs us as to how the scholars came up with the sketchy picture.


e.g. Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion), so why exactly does OG state the modifier as non-sensical? Am I missing something here?
Here again we can see how logic allows for this: how did the prof. calculate the rate? By basing it on the assumptions listed. Here this makes logical sense and is clear.


You have correctly understood the example I have presented. However, the same is true for the OG question.

The modifier is modifying the action and not the subject. Can we say that based on XYZ, scholars have sketched ABC ?? The example I gave parallels this logic.

Using the XYZ, scholars have sketched ABC ... In this case the modifier seems to modify just the scholars.

Does GMAT have a preference for one over the other? Or my analysis of the question is wrong here?

Any experts have any advise regarding the same?
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2012, 00:52
hey mvikred, you make a good point. I don't know whether there is any hard and fast rule about the modifier and its relation to the subject or verb. However, I can suggest that you use your sense of logic in choosing an answer. This would ofcourse, depend largely on context as well. For specific technical details we need an expert to chime in..
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2012, 01:53
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The modifier is modifying the action and not the subject.


A past participial (verb+ed) modifier that introduces a sentence, by virtue of its being an adjective, has to necessarily modify a noun after the comma, and not an action.
In addition, one can see the shift in // ism in choice A. ‘Based on’ is passive voice while ‘scholars have’ is active voice. E corrects this anomaly by converting the modifier to active voice.
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 10:47
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Hi @mvikred,

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

After reading your doubt, I feel that you have misinterpreted the meaning of this sentence somehow. Now the real meaning might not have significant impact in choosing the correct answer choice in this sentence. However, it is very important that you understand the correct intended meaning that, in most cases, has a direct bearing on choosing the correct answer choice.

The sentence means that the scholars studied the accounts of various ancient writers and have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult worshipped a goddess called Bona Dea, the good goddess. Now, the scholars did not paint any literal sketch of the activities of the all-female cult. Here, this expression has been used as metaphor to mean that scholars presented their not-very-perfect understanding of the cult. Notice, the sentence says that the scholars painted the sketchy picture of the activities of the cult and not the goddess.

Error Analysis:

On GMAT, verb-ed modifier is a noun modifier that can only refer to a noun entity. It does not refer to a clause. If the verb-ed appears in the middle of the sentence then it modifies the preceding noun. If it appears in the beginning of the sentence, then it modifies the subject of the following clause. Let’s take a set of simple examples here:

1. Kim has kept the lamp in the casket designed by her grandmother.
2. Designed by Kim’s grandmother, the casket got sold in the auction at a very high price.

In the first sentence, “designed” appears in the middle of the sentence and is preceded by the noun “casket”. Hence it modifies the preceding noun “casket”. The modifier suggests that the casket was designed by Kim’s grandmother.

In the second sentence, “designed” appears in the beginning of the sentence. In this case, it modifies the subject of the following main clause “casket”. The modifier suggests that the casket was designed by Kim’s grandmother.

Now let’s apply this rule on the OG sentence:

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

The verb-ed modifier “based” appears in the beginning of the sentence. This means it will modify the subject of the following clause. The subject is “scholars”. This modification suggests that “scholars” were based on accounts of various ancient writers. This modification is absolutely illogical. That’s why OG says that the modification is incorrect. Here we need a modifier that must correctly and logically modify “scholars”.
Now let’s analyze the sentence with the correct answer choice E:

Using accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”
This answer choice is correct because the verb-ing modifier “using” correctly modifies the scholars. It suggests that scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to do something.

Now let's consider your example:

Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion.

Now in day-to-day language, this form might be acceptable but this sentence will stand incorrect for the same reason – illogical modification. The modification in this sentence suggests that the professors were based on listed assumptions. So on GMAT, this sentence is incorrect.

For more on verb-ed and verb-ing modifiers, please refer to this article:
verb-ed-modifiers-vs-verb-ing-modifiers-125611.html

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 11:14
daagh wrote:
A past participial (verb+ed) modifier that introduces a sentence, by virtue of its being an adjective, has to necessarily modify a noun after the comma, and not an action.



egmat wrote:
If (verb-eds) it appears in the beginning of the sentence, then it modifies the subject of the following clause.


This is new to me. I guess it must have skipped my memory even though I read the egmat articles! :)
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Re: OG-12 Question # 25 - question on modifiers and meaning [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 19:19
egmat wrote:
Hi @mvikred,

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

After reading your doubt, I feel that you have misinterpreted the meaning of this sentence somehow. Now the real meaning might not have significant impact in choosing the correct answer choice in this sentence. However, it is very important that you understand the correct intended meaning that, in most cases, has a direct bearing on choosing the correct answer choice.

The sentence means that the scholars studied the accounts of various ancient writers and have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult worshipped a goddess called Bona Dea, the good goddess. Now, the scholars did not paint any literal sketch of the activities of the all-female cult. Here, this expression has been used as metaphor to mean that scholars presented their not-very-perfect understanding of the cult. Notice, the sentence says that the scholars painted the sketchy picture of the activities of the cult and not the goddess.

Error Analysis:

On GMAT, verb-ed modifier is a noun modifier that can only refer to a noun entity. It does not refer to a clause. If the verb-ed appears in the middle of the sentence then it modifies the preceding noun. If it appears in the beginning of the sentence, then it modifies the subject of the following clause. Let’s take a set of simple examples here:

1. Kim has kept the lamp in the casket designed by her grandmother.
2. Designed by Kim’s grandmother, the casket got sold in the auction at a very high price.

In the first sentence, “designed” appears in the middle of the sentence and is preceded by the noun “casket”. Hence it modifies the preceding noun “casket”. The modifier suggests that the casket was designed by Kim’s grandmother.

In the second sentence, “designed” appears in the beginning of the sentence. In this case, it modifies the subject of the following main clause “casket”. The modifier suggests that the casket was designed by Kim’s grandmother.

Now let’s apply this rule on the OG sentence:

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

The verb-ed modifier “based” appears in the beginning of the sentence. This means it will modify the subject of the following clause. The subject is “scholars”. This modification suggests that “scholars” were based on accounts of various ancient writers. This modification is absolutely illogical. That’s why OG says that the modification is incorrect. Here we need a modifier that must correctly and logically modify “scholars”.
Now let’s analyze the sentence with the correct answer choice E:

Using accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”
This answer choice is correct because the verb-ing modifier “using” correctly modifies the scholars. It suggests that scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to do something.

Now let's consider your example:

Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion.

Now in day-to-day language, this form might be acceptable but this sentence will stand incorrect for the same reason – illogical modification. The modification in this sentence suggests that the professors were based on listed assumptions. So on GMAT, this sentence is incorrect.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha


Thanks Shraddha and e-gmat.

Looks like I overlooked the rule about -ed modifiers.

This does clear up my concern about the error in this sentence.

Cheers !!
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2013, 07:26
Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

(A) Based on accounts of various ancient writers,

(B) Basing it on various ancient writers’ accounts,

(C) With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis,

(D) By the accounts of various ancient writers they used,

(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers,

I do not think this is a easy question.

"used for..." in C can be acceatable in some cases. The farness of "used..." from modified noun is not only the reason for elimination. the grammar rule of "farness" is not absolute. the farness of "which" , the farness of "adverb" and the farness of many othe modification relation are not absolute. that is why we have to focus on meaning relations in the complex sentence to counter this hard situation. This way of thinking is what gmat sc game on us. gmat test us logic not hard and fast grammar rule. of course, we still have to learn hard and fart grammar rule. But remember, gmat can use only simple grammar rules to play the game of meaning/logic as gmat do on this sentence. very interesting and brutal.

main problem with C is that "used for..." is redundant. in C, "they used" is also reduandant.

this redundance is not easy to realize in the test room where we are nervous and more certainly not eeasy to realize in a short time.

is my thinking correct?
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2014, 06:35
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have   [#permalink] 22 Apr 2014, 06:35
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