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ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers

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ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 10:12
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“ED FORMS” – VERBS OR MODIFIERS


Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

This is probably one of the most discussed problems in GMAT Verbal SC section. This sentence is a cake walk for those who understand verb-ing and verb-ed modifiers thoroughly, and is confusing to the hilt for those who have just started to learn these concepts. The tactfully crafted answer choices of this problem keep bringing this question on various forums for discussion and detailed explanation. So let’s take a look at those interesting answer choices:



A. extending
B. extends
C. extended
D. it extended
E. is extending

In the first glimpse, the sentence looks simple and easy. You scan the sentence, discover the word “spawned”, look at conjunction “and”, think, “Oh! Parallelism dude. How simple!”, mark Choice C. But all the excitement is robbed off by the Answer Key page that says Choice A is the correct answer.

So where did you go wrong? Aren't “spawned” and “extended” grammatically parallel? They both have the same structure. The instinct (especially of the non-natives) is to believe that words with “ed” are simple past tense verbs. So if you took “spawned” to be the simple past tense verb, you looked for the same for “extending” and marked “extended”. You got the incorrect answer.

VERB-ED – CAN BE SIMPLE PAST TENSE OR MODIFIER

So, what is happening in this sentence? “Extended” fits as simple past tense verb and looks parallel to “spawned”. Then how can “extended” be incorrect? Well, the answer is that Verb-ed forms can be used in two ways –One as verb in simple past tense and the other as modifier (also called Verb-ed modifiers) and in this case it is used as the latter (explained later). In essence, the same word, for example extended, can assume the role of a verb in simple past form or that of a modifier. The challenge in the question is to determine whether “spawned” and extended” are verb-ed modifiers or just the verbs and then decide in what form should “extended” be used.



To determine that, let’s examine two simple examples:

a. The company extended the training period for the interns. – extended = simple past tense
b. The training period extended last year made many interns unhappy. – extended as verb-ed modifier
Let's analyze the meaning of sentence a. The sentence clearly conveys that that the company did the job of extending the training period for the interns. The word “extended” works as “verb” in this sentence.
Sentence b means that many interns became unhappy because the training period was extended. In this sentence, the verb is "made". "Extended" is the verb-ed modifier that is giving additional information about "the training period". So, here we see that the same word "extended" can work as a verb and as a modifier, depending upon how it has been used in the sentence. In fact, most of the words can be written as “verb” as well as “modifier” if we add “ed” to them. “Spawned” is also one of them.

If you want to know how to tell whether a verb-ed word is a simple past tense verb or a modifier, read in the following section about this simple test that can be very handy.

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There is a simple test we can perform to find out whether the verb-ed is a verb in simple past tense or the verb-ed modifier. Here is the test:
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Let’s have another look at both the examples above:
a. The company extended the training period for the interns.

The subject of the sentence above is “The Company” . Now ask yourself, “Is the subject the doer of the verb?” In other words, did the company extend the training. The answer is yes it did. The Subject Verb pair makes sense. Hence, in this sentence, extended is used as a verb in simple past.

b. The training period extended last year made many interns unhappy.

The subject here is “The training period”. The next word is the verb-ed “extended”. Is it a verb or a modifier? Ask this question: “Did “the training period” do the action of “extending”? The answer is “No”. The action of extension was not done by the training period. In other words, the Subject-Verb pair does not make sense. This tells you that “extended” is a verb-ed modifier here and not the verb.

Image


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Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

Now let us apply this test on the “giant fungus”. After cutting the flab, this is the core that we get:
…a giant fungus… spawned by a single fertilized pore some 10,000 years ago…

So let’s ask, did “a giant fungus” do the action of “spawning”? The answer is “no” because it is clearly mentioned in the sentence that the action of spawning was done by “a single fertilized pore”. Hence, the litmus test confirms that “spawned” is a verb-ed modifier.

Therefore, to maintain parallelism we need to use a form of “extend” that is used as a modifier. Note that “extended” CAN be a verb-ed modifier. However, we need to find out if this form works in this sentence as a modifier:

…a giant fungus… extended for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

Did “a giant fungus” do the job of extension? Yes, it did. It is the giant fungus that extends for more than 30 acres. This means that “extended” will work as simple past tense verb in this sentence and not as a modifier. This is the reason why “extended” cannot be used since a verb CANNOT be parallel to a verb-ed modifier.

Let’s once again quickly look at the answer choices:
A. extending
B. extends
C. extended
D. it extended
E. is extending

A quick scan of these choices will tell you that all the answer choices B, C and E are verbs in different forms while Choice E is a clause. Choice A “extending” is the only modifier that describes one of the characteristics of “a giant fungus”. Hence, verb-ed modifier “spawned” and verb-ing modifier “extending” are parallel entities because they both perform the same function, although they differ structurally.

HOW VERB-ED MODIFIER IS DERIVED


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This section is for those who have the grammarian like quest for knowledge. We will explain here in detail how verb-ed modifiers are derived. This knowledge is not imperative to take the GMAT, but is more for personal understanding as to why verb-ed modifiers work the way they do. So let’s bring the sentence with verb-ed modifier back here:
a. The training period extended last year made many interns unhappy.

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Now this sentence can be written as:

i. The training period that was extended last year made many interns unhappy.

So, we have a relative pronoun clause here that is written in simple past tense in passive voice. Per the grammar rules, verb-ed modifiers are derived by removing the relative pronoun modifier that is written in passive voice by removing “the relative pronoun” and “the helping verb” (is/are/am/was/were). Hence we derive:
that was extended last year = was extended last year = extended last year

Let’s take another example:
b. A good leader who is followed by the mass and is respected for his benevolent qualities is always remembered for several generations.

So here we have two relative clauses with passive verbs “is followed” and “is respected”. Let’s turn both of them into verb-ed modifiers.
Who is followed by the mass = is followed by the mass = followed by the mass
Who is respected for his benevolent qualities = is respected for his benevolent qualities = respected for his benevolent qualities

c. A good leader followed by the mass and respected for his benevolent qualities, is always remembered for several generations

Notice that active verbs in relative pronoun clause cannot be turned into verb-ed modifiers. Let’s try this:
a. A leader who guides his followers honestly earns immense respect from the mass.
If we apply the rule to derive verb-ed modifier here, this is what we will get:
Who guides his followers = guides his followers

Notice the limitation with the sentence containing a relative pronoun in active voice and simple present tense. There is no question of getting verb-ed modifier here because originally there is no verb-ed word in this sentence.
This method will not work even if we change the tense of the above sentence:
a. A leader who guided his followers honestly earned immense respect from the mass.

Who guided his followers = guided his followers
Now let’s put this verb-ed modifier phrase in the sentence:

a. A leader guided his followers honestly earned immense respect from the mass.
No need to say that this sentence is a fragment because here “guided” is the simple past tense verb and not a verb-ed modifier. “earned” again is a verb . So this sentence has two verbs that are not connected properly. We landed up with this disaster because we tried to make the verb-ed modifier out of the verb in active voice in the relative clause.

HOW CAN THIS HELP YOU ANSWER GMAT SC?

People who are fluent in the language do not need to know the basics behind the derivation of the verb-ed modifiers because they intuitively know that sentence 1 is correct but sentence 2 is incorrect. They may not be able to pin point the reason for the same, but they can distinguish right from wrong. But people who are not that fluent in this language may get confused about the above. For example, one of the students asked me the following question about OG12#85:

Can I omit “that” from this sentence or is “that” required?

Salt deposits and moisture threaten to destroy the Mohenjo-Daro excavation in Pakistan, the site of an ancient civilization that flourished at the same time as the civilizations …

The answer = “that” is required because if you omit it, the sentence will be a run-on sentence. But consider another version of this sentence:

Salt deposits and moisture threaten to destroy the Mohenjo-Daro excavation in Pakistan, the site of an ancient civilization that was destroyed multiple times by flooding of Indus river…

Now in this sentence, “that” can be omitted (obviously along with “was”)

Salt deposits and moisture threaten to destroy the Mohenjo-Daro excavation in Pakistan, the site of an ancient civilization destroyed multiple times by flooding of Indus river…

In essence, this information helps build your knowledge about the sentence structure, which in turn results in more solid foundation.

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WHERE CAN YOU GET MORE INFORMATION?


Verb-ed modifiers are covered in detail in the concept titled “Modifiers – verb-ing”. This concept is available in the free preview of Sentence Correction course. You will need to login at e-gmat.com to access this concept.


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Identify whether the underlined words are verbs or verb-ed modifiers.

1. Like birds today, Archaeopteryx had feathers that were fully formed.

2. Our powers of color vision are derived from cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light.

3. As Joel Bregman hoped, dozens of young stars turned up in each of the three dead galaxies—and as an added surprise, they even appeared in Messier 105.

4. Dark matter might actually be produced at the energies explored by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

5. A leader guided by sound principles earned immense respect from the masses.

6. A company founded on sound business principles achieves much higher success.

7. The lamp decorated with stars filled the child’s room with innocent beauty.

Correct these sentences if you feel they are incorrect.
1. The lamp decorated the child’s room filled his room with innocent beauty.

2. A leader guided his followers earned immense respect from the masses.

(PS: For solutions, please scroll down)

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Last edited by egmat on 11 Feb 2014, 20:39, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 15:23
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Really good article. Here are the answers:

1. Like birds today, Archaeopteryx had feathers that were fully formed. - Modifier

2. Our powers of color vision are derived from cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light.

Called = Modifier
triggered = verb
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2012, 10:05
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1. Like birds today, Archaeopteryx had feathers that were fully formed. <-- modifier

2. Our powers of color vision are derived from cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light.
Called = modifier; triggered = verb

3. As Joel Bregman hoped, dozens of young stars turned up in each of the three dead galaxies—and as an added surprise, they even appeared in Messier 105. Hoped = verb; turned = verb; added = modifier; appeared = verb <-- this sentence is definitely the most challenging.

4. Dark matter might actually be produced at the energies explored by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). explored = modifier

5. A leader guided by sound principles earned immense respect from the masses. guided = modifier; earned = verb

7. A company founded on sound business principles achieves much higher success. founded = modifier

8. The lamp decorated with stars filled the child’s room with innocent beauty. decorated = modifier; filled = verb

Correct these sentences if you feel they are incorrect.
1. The lamp decorated the child’s room filled his room with innocent beauty.
The lamp which decorated the child's room filled his room with innocent beauty.
2. A leader guided his followers earned immense respect from the masses.
A leader who guided his followers earned immense respect from the masses.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 06:36
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This is the word document for the sections "How Verb-ed Modifier is derived" and "how can this help you answer GMAT SC questions?" and detailed solution of the Exercise.
Thanks.
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Last edited by egmat on 10 Jan 2013, 09:49, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 08:01
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SOLUTION

Identify whether the underlined words are verbs or verb-ed modifiers.

1. Like birds today, Archaeopteryx had feathers that were fully formed.
Formed = simple past tense verb. In the relative pronoun clause, “that” is the subject that stands for “feathers” and the verb for this subject is “were formed”.

2. Our powers of color vision are derived from cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light.
Called & triggered = verb-ed modifier
Litmus Test: Did the “eyes” do the action of calling? No. Hence, it’s a modifier.
Did “each” do the job of triggering? No. Different wavelengths of light did that job. Hence, “triggered” is the modifier.

3. As Joel Bregman hoped, dozens of young stars turned up in each of the three dead galaxies—and as an added surprise, they even appeared in Messier 105.
Hoped, turned & appeared = simple past tense verbs for subjects “Joel Bregman”, “dozens of young stars” and “they” respectively.
Added = modifier that modifies “surprise”.

4. Dark matter might actually be produced at the energies explored by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Explored = verb-ed modifier
Litmus Test: Will “the energies” do the job of exploring? No. The world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider might do that action. Hence, “explored” is the modifier.

5. A leader guided by sound principles earned immense respect from the masses.
Guided = verb-ed modifier, earned = simple past tense verb for the subject “A leader”.
Litmus Test: Did a leader do the action of guiding? In this context, no. “Sound principles” guided “a leader”. Hence, guided is the modifier.

6. A company founded on sound business principles achieves much higher success.
Founded = verb-ed modifier
Litmus Test: Did a company do the action of founding? In this context no. May be the founder of the company did that job. Hence, founded is the verb-ed modifier.

7. The lamp decorated with stars filled the child’s room with innocent beauty.
Decorated = verb-ed modifier, filled = simple past tense verb for the subject “The lamp”.
Litmus Test: Did the lamp do the action of decorating. No. Hence, it is the modifier.

Correct these sentences if you feel they are incorrect.

1. The lamp decorated the child’s room filled his room with innocent beauty. = Incorrect
Correct = The lamp that decorated the child’s room filled his room with innocent beauty.

2. A leader guided his followers earned immense respect from the masses. = Incorrect
Correct = A leader who guided his followers earned immense respect from the masses.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 22:20
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Another example of how the verb form and verb-ing form can change the meaning and logic of a sentence:

John worked hard on the project, coordinating with his professors, running simulations, and discussing the results with his peers.

In the above sentence, 'coordinating with his professors, running simulations, and discussing the results with his peers.' tells us how John worked hard. The main part is that John worked hard.

If we change the verb form:

John worked hard on the project, coordinated with his professors, ran simulations, and discussed the results with his peers.

This completely changes the meaning of the sentence and gives equal weight to the four parts of the sentence. Now 'coordinated with his professors, ran simulations, and discussed the results with his peers.' no longer describes how John worked hard; rather it becomes an extension of the things describing what John did.

I think this is a good lesson in meaning/logic VS parallelism. Sometimes you may not have to make all verbs parallel if it drastically changes the meaning of the sentence.

just my 2c...
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2012, 13:33
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@macjas: Thanks for adding the same. I agree with your comment. We cover meaning change extensively in the post below and in our free live sessions. There are a few similar examples that you would find there as well.

gmat-sentence-correction-sc-138/
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2012, 17:43
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Thanks for putting up these two articles. These also happen to be my two weaknesses - especially meaning coupled with either verb forms or parallelism and just meaning in general. Going through the concept of participles using MGMAT SC was just not doing it for me. But, somehow, after reading this particular article on verbals and after solving the exercises contained within it, I can say that I finally 'get' it. Thanks for sharing, egmat.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2012, 19:03
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Benefited a lot from this post. Great initiative by the GMATclub.

Cheers,
Der alte Fritz.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2012, 23:39
A very good post that provided better clarity to my understanding. Thanks.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 09:56
this is absolutely awesome e-gmat. This is the first time that i have understood a concept so clearly. Thanks a ton :)
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 07:56
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Thanks a lot. Do take the free trial. There is a free concept on Verb-ing modifiers that has 15+ questions. Also check out the bold face concept while you are there.

https://e-gmat.com/secure/register.php

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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2012, 21:42
very useful article !! thanks egmat .
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 22:09
Can someone please tell me why "that" can't be common-

Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extends for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2012, 05:54
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Hi e-GMAT,
Thanks a lot for this great post,nice exercise and their solutions.... :)

Please keep the community engaged and motivated by your amazing posts.

BTW,could you please throw some 700+ OG qs. on this aspect ?It would have been really great then...

Appreciate your reply.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2012, 06:08
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Hi eGMAT,
Going by your 'Takeaway', if the subject of the sentence IS NOT the doer of the action then is there any exception that still the verb-ed form in that sentence,IS NOT the MODIFIER...?

Can you show some examples ?
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2013, 14:34
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debayan222 wrote:
Hi eGMAT,
Going by your 'Takeaway', if the subject of the sentence IS NOT the doer of the action then is there any exception that still the verb-ed form in that sentence,IS NOT the MODIFIER...?

Can you show some examples ?


Hi Debayan,

A verb-ed word will be either a verb or a verb-ed modifier. If it is a verb, it will certainly have a Subject or some doer (if the sentence does not have any grammatical error). If it is not a verb, then the verb-ed word has to be a modifier.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2013, 06:01
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egmat wrote:
debayan222 wrote:
Hi eGMAT,
Going by your 'Takeaway', if the subject of the sentence IS NOT the doer of the action then is there any exception that still the verb-ed form in that sentence,IS NOT the MODIFIER...?

Can you show some examples ?


Hi Debayan,

A verb-ed word will be either a verb or a verb-ed modifier. If it is a verb, it will certainly have a Subject or some doer (if the sentence does not have any grammatical error). If it is not a verb, then the verb-ed word has to be a modifier.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Thanks Shradhha for clarifying...
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2013, 08:03
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Hi Shraddha/E-Gmat Team,

Understood the concept on Verb-ed Modifiers. Could you clarify the below question, in line with Verb-ing modifiers

The increased popularity and availability of televisions has led to the decline of regional dialects, language
variations which originate from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated by geographic isolation.

A. which originate from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
B. that originated from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
C. originated from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
D. originating from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
E. originating from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuating
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Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2013, 10:17
Sinner1706 wrote:
Hi Shraddha/E-Gmat Team,

Understood the concept on Verb-ed Modifiers. Could you clarify the below question, in line with Verb-ing modifiers

The increased popularity and availability of televisions has led to the decline of regional dialects, language
variations which originate from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated by geographic isolation.

A. which originate from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
B. that originated from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
C. originated from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
D. originating from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuated
E. originating from diverse ethnic and cultural heritages and perpetuating


Another question, which is an entire opposite of the above question but tests the Verb+ing and the Verb+ed Modifiers to the hilt. The similarities and the differences in two questions, will help make the concept crystal clear.

The growth of the railroads led to the abolition of local times, which was determined by when the sun reached
the observer’s meridian and differing
from city to city, and to the establishment of regional times.

A. which was determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing
B. which was determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and which differed
C. which were determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing
D. determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differed
E. determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing
Re: ED FORMS - Verbs or Modifiers   [#permalink] 10 Feb 2013, 10:17
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