"that/which" vs. "-ing" : GMAT Verbal Section
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# "that/which" vs. "-ing"

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17 Jul 2011, 18:35
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I should probably know this but I don't - in fact I am very confused. When should a "that/which" modifier be used as opposed to an "-ing" modifier.?

"All you have to do is to fill in the details, including your name and address and the amount you wish to give."
vs.
"All you have to do is to fill in the details that/which includes your name and address and the amount you wish to give."

What are the correct grammatical rules?

Please do not restrict the discussion to my example only.

Thanks a lot for help!!!
If you have any questions
New!
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22 Jul 2011, 00:16
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In this case, the first sentence is better. Here, "including" introduces an adverbial modifier that makes it clear which details you should provide. "Which" would indicate a noun modifier, which would indicate that the details themselves include the name and address. This isn't quite right--the name and address are details, they are not included by the details.

"That" would be incorrect as well, because that is used for essential modifiers. This means that it is used to narrow down the scope of what we are referring to:

The car that I want is over there.
The group that won the prize went out to celebrate.

Here, we are differentiating the particular car or group in question from other cars or groups. That wouldn't be appropriate in your example.

I also recently addressed some "which"-related concerns in another post: appositive-vs-relative-clause-117298.html#p950375

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have other examples or questions.
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22 Jul 2011, 06:08
Thanks DmitryFarber this is very helpful.
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22 Jul 2011, 07:21
DmitryFarber wrote:
In this case, the first sentence is better. Here, "including" introduces an adverbial modifier that makes it clear which details you should provide. "Which" would indicate a noun modifier, which would indicate that the details themselves include the name and address. This isn't quite right--the name and address are details, they are not included by the details.

"That" would be incorrect as well, because that is used for essential modifiers. This means that it is used to narrow down the scope of what we are referring to:

The car that I want is over there.
The group that won the prize went out to celebrate.

Here, we are differentiating the particular car or group in question from other cars or groups. That wouldn't be appropriate in your example.

I also recently addressed some "which"-related concerns in another post: appositive-vs-relative-clause-117298.html#p950375

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have other examples or questions.

Thanks a lot for the explanation....it all makes sense now.
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22 Jul 2011, 12:56
One this I have realized, over time, with ton of practice is that more I get into difficult SCs, more I find the idea of "does it makes sense" becoming a defining characteristics of the right answer choice. For instance, in the above question the use of "which" and "-ing" are both equally grammatical sentences, but former "does NOT make any sense". I have been getting many 700-800 level questions wrong just because I am missing the making sense part. I need to keep reminding myself to understand the sentence as a whole to see if it makes sense; hope I don't screw up questions in the final test
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23 Jul 2011, 20:24
Well said, abhi. Much as we like to find rules for everything, we often need to use our understanding of the sentence's meaning to determine which rules apply, and what forms might be exceptions to the rules. If you have played with translation software, you'll know that there are some expressions that just don't work well when handled by an algorithm.
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30 Jul 2011, 00:27
I agree, however in GMAT, many times what we think 'does not make sense' may be the correct one on grammar rules. And that time, especially non-native speakers get things wrong.
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Re: "that/which" vs. "-ing"   [#permalink] 30 Jul 2011, 00:27
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