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Usage Of While

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Usage Of While [#permalink] New post 27 May 2013, 07:05
Hi Instructors,

Request you to please clarify the doubt on usage of While-

As per rules, I know that While can be followed by Clause or by a participle. I have a question regarding the usage of "While", when followed by a participle.

A Sentence taken from MGMAT:

Many people have a disinclination to admit fault while recognizing that they can’t possibly be in the right all the time.

Quote:
Reasoning:
The –ing word there (recognizing) is just fine.
Look at this:
Many people recognize that they can’t possibly be in the right all the time.
This is correct – I just had to change the word “recognizing” to “recognize,” the appropriate verb form of the same word


Another GMAT-Prep Sentence:

A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a combination of conservative and liberal political views; i.e., they denounce big government, saying government is doing too much and has become too powerful, while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment.

Couple of Doubts on this one:
1- What is the structure of the sentence. I mean, is the phrase
while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment
is a part of Modifier or is it attached to the Main Clause i.e to "they denounce big government". IMO, meaning wise, I found that it should go with the Main Clause. Please correct me if I am wrong.

2. Had the Sentence been-

They denounce big government while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment

Would it be modifying pronoun "They" or the noun "Big Government", only
Please clarify.

Regards,
imhimanshu
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Re: Usage Of While [#permalink] New post 27 May 2013, 22:22
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The two examples you have listed use 'while' to show a paradoxical condition: not wanting to admit fault but knowing you must be at fault sometimes, and not wanting big government but wanting the programs that big government brings. In both these examples, the modifiers are adverbial (not noun) and refer back to the preceding clauses.

To answer your doubts:
1-The structure (from a meaning standpoint) requires the 'while' modifier: They denounce big government while supporting specific government programs. Here you can see how the use of the word 'while' with 'supporting' creates a comparison between the two conflicting viewpoints - denouncing big government while supporting government programs.
2-As stated earlier, you aren't modifying the nouns with 'while supporting government programs' you are modifying (or contrasting against) the preceding clause (They denounce big government).

KW
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Re: Usage Of While [#permalink] New post 28 May 2013, 13:54
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imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Instructors,

Request you to please clarify the doubt on usage of While-

As per rules, I know that While can be followed by Clause or by a participle. I have a question regarding the usage of "While", when followed by a participle.

A Sentence taken from MGMAT:
Many people have a disinclination to admit fault while recognizing that they can’t possibly be in the right all the time.

Another GMAT-Prep Sentence:
A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a combination of conservative and liberal political views; i.e., they denounce big government, saying government is doing too much and has become too powerful, while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment.

Couple of Doubts on this one:
1- What is the structure of the sentence. I mean, is the phrase
while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment
is a part of Modifier or is it attached to the Main Clause i.e to "they denounce big government". IMO, meaning wise, I found that it should go with the Main Clause. Please correct me if I am wrong.

2. Had the Sentence been-

They denounce big government while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment

Would it be modifying pronoun "They" or the noun "Big Government", only
Please clarify.

Regards,
imhimanshu

Dear Himanshu,
As per your pm, I'll add my two cents.

I would say --- "while" is a subordinate conjunction, which properly is followed by a full [noun] + [verb] clause. If we were going to hold a more-correct-than-Shakespeare, more-correct-than-the-GMAT, grammar-Nazi kind of approach, we might insist that "while" only could be followed by a full [noun] + [verb] clause. Of course, if we set that restriction, we would be setting the bar so high that even the GMAT would be wrong sometimes (i.e. in that GMAT-prep sentence), so for GMAT purposes, this is not a useful standard ---- of course, "while" can also be followed by a participle. Think of it this way. When there's a participle after "while", it's as if there is an implied subject and verb, an unspoken "they are" ----
A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a combination of conservative and liberal political views; i.e., they denounce big government, saying government is doing too much and has become too powerful, while at the same time [they are] supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment. Of course, that changes the participle into a present progressive verb ---- we could change that into the simple present "they support". In some abstract sense, it's not "really" a participle there, and therefore, does not have the possibility of operating as a noun modifier. The entire "while" clause is an adverbial clause that modifies the verb of the main clause, "denounce", the verb to which the "while" clause provides contrast.
For more on adverbial clauses, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-clauses/
What KyleWiddison said is quite valuable. The contrast is between "denounce" and "supporting" ---- obviously, this is not grammatical parallelism, because they are in different forms, full verb vs. participle, but in some sense we could call this a kind of "logical parallelism", separate from grammatical parallelism. Those two words have a logical link that forms the backbone of the sentence, so of course they have the same subject --- the folks who "denounce" are the same as the folks who are doing the "supporting" --- that's the deep point of the sentence.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Usage Of While [#permalink] New post 28 May 2013, 20:13
Thanks Mike and Kylie for the detailed reply. :-D
Your explanation clears the doubt. I applied your takeaways in another GMAT Prep sentence, and it made perfect sense.
Appreciate your help.

Thanks
imhimanshu
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Re: Usage Of While   [#permalink] 28 May 2013, 20:13
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