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Modifier Issue

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Modifier Issue [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2011, 18:33
With surface temperatures estimated at minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit, Jupiter's moon Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life, and with 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom.
A. Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life, and with
B. Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life, its
C. Europa has long been considered as far too cold to support life and has
D. Europa, long considered as far too cold to support life, and its
E. Europa, long considered to be far too cold to support life, and to have

Experts please explain what kind of modifier is "its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom" in option B. I have seen this kind of modifier for the first time.
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Re: Modifier Issue [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2011, 21:51
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So the answer is (B).

The important part is to understand the STRUCTURE of this sentence. It turns out this sentence uses BOTH sides of the main part of the sentence for DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES.

MAIN SENTENCE = "Jupiter's moon Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life"
DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE #1 = "With surface temperatures estimated at minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit"
DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE #2 = "its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom."

The structure of:
[DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE], [MAIN SENTENCE] is OK.

"With surface temperatures estimated at minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit, Jupiter's moon Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life."

The structure of: [MAIN SENTENCE], [DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE] is also OK.

"Jupiter's moon Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life, with surface temperatures estimated at minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit"

And you can use any descriptive phrase including DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE #2 like so:
"Jupiter's moon Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life, its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom."

But what you can ALSO do - and what this question is testing - is combine these two structures like so:

[DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE #1], [MAIN SENTENCE], [DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE #2].

So combining them, you get what (B) says:

With surface temperatures estimated at minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit, Jupiter's moon Europa has long been considered far too cold to support life, its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom.

So they basically put descriptive phrases on both sides of the main part of the sentence.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Modifier Issue [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2011, 07:48
Um, there's no way "B" is correct. The end of the sentence has a dangling modifier.
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Re: Modifier Issue [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2011, 03:47
dont see any problem with the modifier. 'its...' modifies Jupiter's moon Europa. Other options are blatantly incorrect.
IMO B

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Re: Modifier Issue   [#permalink] 16 Nov 2011, 03:47
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