Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles

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Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles [#permalink]

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26 Jan 2013, 09:06
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Hi,

I tried a lot to find the solution of few queries but couldn't get any satisfactory answers.
If possible, kindly throw some light on the below mentioned queries.

Query 1- Normally relative clauses can be used in place of Present participles to modify. Can someone explain when it is incorrect to use Present participles in place of Relative clauses.

Present Participle: A specific exercise improving flexibility is becoming very common.
Infinitive: A specific exercise to improve flexibility is becoming very common.
Query 2- What is the difference in meaning between the 2 sentences mentioned above.
Query 3- Which (Present participle or Infinitive) is more appropriate to use, when we want to modify a Noun.
Query 4- How to identify whether Infinitive works as either an Adjective or a Direct object.

Query 5- In which type of sentences, use of Possessive before Gerund is correct.

Waiting for replies.

Regards,
Fame
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Re: Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles [#permalink]

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26 Jan 2013, 12:34
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fameatop wrote:
Query 1- Normally relative clauses can be used in place of Present participles to modify. Can someone explain when it is incorrect to use Present participles in place of Relative clauses.

Present participle in place of relative clause is incorrect when used unnecessarily to display cause and effect relationship for two or more independent events/clauses.

fameatop wrote:
Present Participle: A specific exercise improving flexibility is becoming very common.
Infinitive: A specific exercise to improve flexibility is becoming very common.
Query 2- What is the difference in meaning between the 2 sentences mentioned above.

The first sentence with present participle "improving" only modifies the noun "exercise" as additional information.
The second sentence with infinitive "to improve" conveys "the intent" of the subject to perform certain action.
Also note that, the 'intent' here does not mean that action has really happened.

fameatop wrote:
Query 3- Which (Present participle or Infinitive) is more appropriate to use, when we want to modify a Noun.

It depends upon the meaning of the sentence. If the original meaning requires to convey the "intent" for certain action then prefer "infinitive" form over present participle.

fameatop wrote:
Query 4- How to identify whether Infinitive works as either an Adjective or a Direct object.

First identify the verb of the sentence, then check whether infinitive modifies the verb or is object of the verb. See below:
Here, infinitive ‘to learn’ is modifying willingness. You can validate by asking questions like “willingness of what?”, hence ‘to learn’ is acting as ‘adjective’ here.

Infinitive: as object
e.g. The scientist plans to publish his research.
Here, the subject is Scientist, verb is Plans and object of that verb is infinitive ‘to publish’.

fameatop wrote:
Query 5- In which type of sentences, use of Possessive before Gerund is correct.

See below example
--What did everyone admire? Mary's singing. Here "Singing" is a gerund preceded by possessive noun and is acting as the direct object of the verb admired .
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Re: Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles [#permalink]

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29 Jan 2013, 00:46
Hi ,

Prapon I am still not satisfied with the explanation for Query 1 & 4.

Query 1- Normally relative clauses can be used in place of Present participles to modify. Can someone explain when it is incorrect to use Present participles in place of Relative clauses. - Can you give two different examples (scenarios) that can indicate both the correct & incorrect usage.

Query 4- How to identify whether Infinitive works as either an Adjective or a Direct object. - Is there any other way to find whether infinitive works as an Adjective or a Direct object because it is not crystal clear, what prapon explained, to me.

Regards
Fame
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Re: Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles [#permalink]

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30 Jan 2013, 10:41
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fameatop wrote:
Hi ,
Prapon I am still not satisfied with the explanation for Query 1 & 4.
Query 1- Normally relative clauses can be used in place of Present participles to modify. Can someone explain when it is incorrect to use Present participles in place of Relative clauses. - Can you give two different examples (scenarios) that can indicate both the correct & incorrect usage.

I am responding to a pm from fameatop. The first thing I will say is ---- if you want detailed understanding of all these subtle points of grammar, buy the MGMAT book series, and study it inside-out. Just about everything you need in the way of rules is written there.

Also, beware. It's very easy to get too attached to the rules of grammar. Yes, the rules of grammar are important --- we absolutely need, for example, to have our subjects and our verbs agree. BUT --- and this is a subtle point --- the GMAT's focus is on powerful and effective communication, and that cannot be encapsulated in rules. There is no replacement for doing hours of high-brow reading. If you think you can "cheat the system" by figuring out every single rule, and thereby be able to avoid doing the hard work of reading, you will probably be disappointed with the results.

What you are exploring here is a picayune point of grammar. In well over 95% of cases, a participial phrase and a relative clause both would be correct and interchangeable.
1a) Witnesses saw a car speeding away from the scene.
1b) Witnesses saw a car that sped away from the scene.
Sometimes, both will be 100% grammatically correct, but one will be unnecessarily wordy and awkward. Forcefulness of expression and concision are at least as important as correct grammar on the GMAT.
2a) The car parked in front of the school is about to be towed away.
2b) The car that is parked in front of the school is about to be towed away.
If you just rely on finding direct, clear, concise language, that will almost always help you decide.

Here are a few finer points.
POINT #1 =
3a) In September, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, which required England and France to declare war on Germany.
What this sentence is trying to say is clear, but it is illogical ---- the "which"-clause should modify the noun it touches, but it's not the country Poland, reeling from invasion, that requires anyone to do anything. Rather, it's the situation. We have a few options
First of all, we could simply have two independent clauses.
3b) In September, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, and this development required England and France to declare war on Germany.
Also, we could insert a word or phrase that captures the nature of the action we are trying to modify:
3c) In September, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, an act of aggression that required England and France to declare war on Germany.
Also, we could use a participle.
3d) In September, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, requiring England and France to declare war on Germany.
Participle modifiers have a little more flexibility --- then can modify nouns or verb or whole clause.

POINT #2 =
The present participle (-ing form of a verb) reflects the tense of the main verb of the sentence.
4a) Right now, I am talking to a man holding a newspaper. (holding is a present action)
4b) Yesterday, I talked to a man holding a newspaper. (holding is a past action)
4c) Tomorrow, I will seek out a man holding a newspaper. (holding is a future action)
If we want to show that the time of the "participle action" is different from the time of the verb, we would need a relative clause to differentiate these
5) Yesterday, I had dinner with a friend who right now is on his way to China. ("had" = past, "is" = present)
A participle could not handle that distinction.

fameatop wrote:
Query 4- How to identify whether Infinitive works as either an Adjective or a Direct object. - Is there any other way to find whether infinitive works as an Adjective or a Direct object because it is not crystal clear, what prapon explained, to me.

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/verbs-that ... -the-gmat/
If infinitive follows the verb, or seems inextricably associated with the verb, then its a direct object.
6) I forbid you to bring a llama into this house!
7) She has decided to learn Sanskrit.
If the infinitive follows a noun or adjective, it's functioning as an adjective
8) Mozart had the ability to memorize music that he had heard only once.
9) The man reluctant to rollerblade now is taking skydiving lessons.

The very important question is: Why does this matter at all? Why does it matter whether an infinitive is a direct object or an adjective? How is that going to help you at all on GMAT SC? At a certain point, learning more and more left-brain distinctions will actually diminish your ability to perform well on the GMAT SC. Effective writing, which is the point of GMAT SC, is something immediate and holistic and not well captured in minute distinctions. You are not going to get any closer to it by asking more hyper-specific detail questions.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles [#permalink]

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31 May 2014, 04:20
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Re: Experts insight required -Infinitives & Participles   [#permalink] 31 May 2014, 04:20
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