I addressed the first question in your other post--your concern is justified. On the issue of which vs. that, I'd agree that this issue doesn't come up much on the test. We cover it in our materials, but I don't think any of us would argue that it is essential to your GMAT success.
In your example, "that" would be incorrect because the modifier is non-essential. Also, changing "which" to "that" doesn't eliminate the touch rule problem. "That" should ideally touch the noun it's modifying, too. Otherwise, we end up with something like this:
My painting of the dog that appeared in the museum was a success.
What appeared in the museum? The painting or the dog? Here, "which" would actually work better:
My painting of the dog, which appeared in the museum, was a success.
In this case, the "which" modifier must not
modify "dog." We are adding a non-essential modifier to the entire subject--"My painting of the dog." Similarly, in your example, it is the entire subject--"The distance between the 2 runners"--that we are modifying. For more on this, take a look at Chapter 12 of our SC guide (in the Advanced section). We have a section titled "Modifiers: Exceptions to the Touch Rule." (pg. 234-235)
I hope this helps!
Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York
Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile |
Manhattan GMAT Reviews