This question is taken from MGMAT Sentence Correction
a)She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, every day watering the more than 50 plants in her yard.
b)She is the most dedicated gardener on the block,every day watering more than the 50 plants in her yard
C) Neither is correct.
The answer is A. I feel weird putting 'everyday' right after the comma mark. I was thinking something along the lines of :
She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, watering the more than 50 plants in her yard everyday.
I want to know if there is something wrong with how I am thinking. In such sentences I thought that what we use after the comma should relate to the subject directly.
I agree that the placement of "every day" is a bit awkward, though not grammatically wrong. We could move the placement of "every day" to various parts of the sentence and still preserve the intent. If we are thinking in GMAT strategy terms, we shouldn't complain about the placement of "every day" because both options include that placement. We have to shift our focus to the variations in the choices - in this case the placement of "more than" (see this post for a discussion on that issue: use-of-the-after-verb-ing-153767.html
As to your question on modifiers, this particular structure (comma + modifying phrase) creates an adverbial modifier, which doesn't directly modify the subject (subjects are modified by noun modifiers). Adverbial modifiers will modify the verb, another modifier or the entire preceding clause. Here, "every day watering..." modifies the entire preceding clause to show how she is the most dedicated gardner on the block.
On the GMAT, this particular adverbial modifier structure will most often include a present participle (ING form of the verb) directly after the comma, so you won't often have to deal with the awkwardness you saw here with the inclusion of "every day" before "watering".
Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah
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