I was alerted to the existence of this thread through the MGMAT grapevine.
This quote captures the essence of the issue:
to mike Very careful, very exact
also please note that RON in that post is saying that comma + verb ing modifier must always make make sense with the subject of the previous clause,a situation which you are saying that at times might not be followed
usage of "__ing" modifiers requires that the previous subject
be the agent of the __ing action
. (Usually this agency is, in some way or another, indirect. Otherwise, it would make more sense to use a normal subject-verb pair, rather than an __ing that modifies another, more direct action.)
E.g.,Ryan was cheated by the other poker players, throwing his wife into a fit of rage.
--> Here, Ryan's wife is mad at Ryan
, presumably for being guileless or trusting enough to allow the others to cheat him.The other poker players cheated Ryan, throwing his wife into a fit of rage.
--> Ryan's wife is mad at the other players for their cheating.
If this reasoning is extended to the problem at hand, it's clear that "crime" can't sensibly be the subject that precedes the __ing modifier. Crime itself
, after all, is not ultimately responsible for the rise in property values.
(To confound matters further, the same can't be said for all
decreases. E.g., The value of the dollar fell steeply, prompting panicked investors to drop dollar-denominated assets
: This sentence makes sense, because, ultimately, investors were still reacting to the value of the dollar
. By contrast, in the current situation, property values have not changed in response to crime itself; they have changed in response to the absence
In the current sentence, for this kind of modifier to work as it should, the ultimately responsible force should appear as the preceding subject: An increased police presence has lowered crime in the neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values.
Ultimately, the question is just how meticulously GMAC follows this convention—a question I can't immediately answer, as it would require an exhaustive search through all of the __ing modifiers in GMAC's correct answers.
If GMAC follows this rule to the letter throughout its correct answers, then it's safe to conclude that Crime has decreased...
cannot logically be followed by the __ing modifier. If GMAC seems to countenance similar usages, though, we'd conclude the opposite.
Perhaps most importantly, if anyone is capable of debating modifier usage at this level, he or she might be best advised to quit debating, close the books, and go take the exam!