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# Modifier problems.

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29 Aug 2013, 04:10
Hi Guys,

Please help me understand the solutions provided in MGMAT problem set question nos 14 and 15 of chapter 6-modifiers.

Q. 14. Last night our air conditioner broke, which caused great consternation.
Q. 15. The patient's rare disease was treated using novel techniques developed at the medical schools.

Sol. 14. Last night our air conditioner broke, causing great consternation.

Great! no issue, as we cannot use 'which' to modify the event of 'breaking down of air conditioner'. Hence, the modifier was changed to modify the verb by using participle 'causing'.
But in the next question, MGMAT defied the previously applied logic by saying that the sentence is wrong! It says 'using novel techniques' is a case of dangling modifiers, as the sentence contains no noun that is properly modified by 'using novel techniques'. Why cannot we apply the criteria of Q14 and say that the clause 'using novel techniques' is a verb modifier and it is modifying the event of treatment of the patient.

will be thankful for any reply.
Cheers!
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29 Aug 2013, 18:37
What noun is "using novel techniques" modifying? Is there a noun its modifying? If it's an adverbial modifier... what is it referring to? There is no 'event of the treatment' in this sentence.
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30 Aug 2013, 07:57
brianlange77 wrote:
What noun is "using novel techniques" modifying? Is there a noun its modifying? If it's an adverbial modifier... what is it referring to? There is no 'event of the treatment' in this sentence.

Why it cannot modify the verb "treated" ? Between the following two sentences, what is the underlying principle which makes one sentence correct and the other one wrong? Kindly elaborate.

Last night our air conditioner broke, causing great consternation.
The patient's rare disease was treated, using novel techniques.

Thanks!
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31 Aug 2013, 04:46
Because it doesn't ... the phrase is 'using novel techniques' -- in that construct, it needs to be modifying the person who is doing the 'using.' That person is not there in this sentence.
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28 Aug 2015, 09:01
Hi, even I got the same query. The provided explanation is not enough, please elaborate.
Using is an ing form..a past participle was used instead of which to rectify the sentence.
In the second sentence, using would be a past participle. So why is it not correct?
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28 Aug 2015, 19:37
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Expert's post
darknight wrote:
brianlange77 wrote:
What noun is "using novel techniques" modifying? Is there a noun its modifying? If it's an adverbial modifier... what is it referring to? There is no 'event of the treatment' in this sentence.

Why it cannot modify the verb "treated" ? Between the following two sentences, what is the underlying principle which makes one sentence correct and the other one wrong? Kindly elaborate.

Last night our air conditioner broke, causing great consternation.
The patient's rare disease was treated, using novel techniques.

Thanks!

The two sentences are different.

1. Last night our air conditioner broke, causing great consternation.

What/who caused great consternation? The breaking of our air-conditioner

"causing great consternation" modifies the entire preceding clause "Last night our air conditioner broke"

If you bring the modifier to the beginning of the sentence, it might be clearer: Causing great consternation, our air conditioner broke last night.

2. The patient's rare disease was treated, using novel techniques.

Who/what used novel techniques? No idea. The main clause is passive. The user is not mentioned.

Bring the modifier to the beginning: Using novel techniques, the patient's rare disease was treated. - Is this correct? Is the user there?
We know that we need to provide the do-er of the action here. For example: Using novel techniques, Dr. Sullivan treated the patient's rare disease.
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Re: Modifier problems.   [#permalink] 28 Aug 2015, 19:37
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