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How can we identify whether a past-participle clause is part

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How can we identify whether a past-participle clause is part [#permalink] New post 04 Jul 2009, 09:52
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How can we identify whether a past-participle clause is part of a list with and or it is a modifier of the preceding noun?

For example,

Doctors hope that one day the body’s master cells, called stem cells, can be directed to grow in organs or tissues appropriate for transplant, used to test drugs and potentially toxic chemicals, and studied them to gain insight into basic human biology.

When I first spotted the word "used", I immediately checked if it's a valid modifier for "transplant", but it turns out that the "used to test..." clause is actually part of the list of items in the main clause connected by and. How can we distinguish that?
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Re: past participle modifer vs lists with and [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2009, 10:19
Making it a part of the list is the logically correct choice here. What would be the alternative? "useful for testing drugs..."? If so, that "useful for" phrase would be modifying transplant, which is not the intended meaning. Stem cells are used to test drugs. Maybe I'm not understanding your question (in which case, sorry, hope someone else can explain).
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Re: past participle modifer vs lists with and [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 06:29
Thanks topher for the reply.

My question is more general towards how to tackle questions on modifier vs lists, especially when you are given 5 answer choices and sometimes I find it very difficult to identify whether the clause is a modifier or it's part of the list.

Other examples:

As envisioned by researchers, commercial farming of lobsters will enable fisheries to sell the shellfish year-round, taking advantage of off-season demand, standardize its sizes and colors, and to predict sales volume in advance.
(A) taking advantage of off-season demand, standardize
(B) taking advantage of off-season demand, to standardize
(C) taking advantage of off-season demand, standardizing
(D) take advantage of off-season demand, standardizing
(E) take advantage of off-season demand, to standardize

*** I was confused with whether I should treat the "taking advantage..." clause as a modifier or part of a list..

Obtaining an investment-grade rating will keep the county's future borrowing costs low, protect its already-tattered image, and increase its ability to buy bond insurance.

(A) Obtaining an investment-grade rating will keep the county's future borrowing costs low, protect
(B) To obtain an investment-grade rating will keep the county's future borrowing costs low, and protect
(C) Having obtained an investment-grade rating will, in keeping the county's future borrowing costs low, protect
(D) To obtain an investment-grade rating would keep the county's future borrowing costs low, protecting
(E) Obtaining an investment-grade rating, keeping the county's borrowing costs low, would be protecting

When you look at (a) and (c), "in keeping..." could be a modifier, but it could also be part of the list.. so if everything else is the same, how can we determine whether that clause is part of a list or a modifier?

How do you usually spot the errors? Do you usually check whether there's a modifier problem or a list problem first?

Thanks!!
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Re: past participle modifer vs lists with and [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2010, 00:03
Can someone please post the OAs for both of the above questions?

IMO B,A

am i correct ? cn someone explain the reasoning?
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Re: past participle modifer vs lists with and [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2010, 22:15
to figure if it's a modifier (past-participle) or part of a list of items, you have to just use common sense...

in the original post, you gotta ask if it's more logical that transplants are used to test drugs and chemicals, or if stem cells can be used to test drugs and chemicals...

it would make more sense the latter: stem cells can be directed... used... and studied...
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Re: past participle modifer vs lists with and [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2010, 22:27
gotomba wrote:
As envisioned by researchers, commercial farming of lobsters will enable fisheries to sell the shellfish year-round, taking advantage of off-season demand, standardize its sizes and colors, and to predict sales volume in advance.
(A) taking advantage of off-season demand, standardize
(B) taking advantage of off-season demand, to standardize
(C) taking advantage of off-season demand, standardizing
(D) take advantage of off-season demand, standardizing
(E) take advantage of off-season demand, to standardize


I see your delimma: I was thrown off by this one as well... but the clause "taking advantange of off-season demand" was indeed a modifier for the phrase "sell the shellfish year-round"... obviously my first attempt would be to assume the list: enable fisheries to sell... to take advantage... to standardize... and to predict, but the answer choices didn't have anything like that, so it makes me assume that "taking advantage" is a modifer and not part of a list of items...
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Re: past participle modifer vs lists with and   [#permalink] 07 Feb 2010, 22:27
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