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The following appeared in Financial times today. My question is regarding the placement of 'which'; From the meaning, which should be modifying "EU emissions trading scheme", but since 'which' is placed after Carbon Dioxide it looks as if it is modifying Carbon Dixoide. I would like to know in what circumstances this type of modification is allowed.
Airbus and six large European airlines said the plan to bring global airlines into the EU emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide, which the industry has steadfastly opposed, is creating an “intolerable” threat to the European aviation industry by opening up the possibility of trade battles with China, the US and Russia.
As far as GMAT is concerned, 'which' should always modify the word/phrase preceding the comma before 'which'. We need to carefully look at the context of the sentence ('Which' can modify 'A for B' or only 'B')
The sentence goes like this - the plan............is creating an “intolerable” threat to the European aviation industry
it is unclear whether 'which' modifies 'the plan' or 'EU emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide'
Ideally 'which' should modify - 'EU emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide'
A sentence like this would be unlikely to show up in SC, but the author's intent is clearly to say "The plan (to bring global airlines into the EU emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide), which the industry has steadfastly opposed . . . " I wouldn't fault this use of "which," but it's a bit much for the GMAT.
Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York