Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity : GMAT Verbal Section
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# Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity

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Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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19 Apr 2013, 04:36
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Hi Experts,

Whenever I solve questions on Comma + Verb+ing modifier, I usually follow the below framework-

1. Is Comma+verb+ing modifier phrase presenting the result of preceding clause. If not, then Is it answering the "How" of action happened in the preceding clause.
2. I check if the Comma+Verbing modifier making sense with the subject of the preceding Clause.

Doubt No: 1
However, sometimes while applying rule no. 2, I do get confused. One such example is below.

The cameras of the Voyager Ⅱ spacecraft detected six small, previously unseen moons circling Uranus,doubling to twelve the number of satellites now known to orbit.

Now, if I apply rule no.2
Then, it can be written as:

The Cameras of the Voyager doubled the number of satellites.

However, the action is not done by Cameras. Then, how subject is making sense with the modifier. What am I missing. Please explain.

Doubt No: 2
When we say that Comma +ing should modify the Clause. What does it mean?? Is it some technical term of Rule No 1, stated above.

Regards,
H

P.S: Mods, I forgot to put the tags. Please do the needful.
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Last edited by imhimanshu on 19 Apr 2013, 04:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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19 Apr 2013, 04:47
Quote:
Now, if I apply rule no.2
Then, it can be written as:

The Cameras of the Voyager doubled the number of satellites.

However, the action is not done by Cameras. Then, how subject is making sense with the modifier. What am I missing. Please explain.

there is not need to apply rule no 2 in this sentence
the fact is that ING modifiers after comma will do either of the jobs that u have mentioned or will do a combination of both
so here it is just doing the "result" thing that u have mentioned
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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19 Apr 2013, 09:51
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imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Experts,
Whenever I solve questions on Comma + Verb+ing modifier, I usually follow the below framework-
1. Is Comma+verb+ing modifier phrase presenting the result of preceding clause. If not, then Is it answering the "How" of action happened in the preceding clause.
2. I check if the Comma+Verbing modifier making sense with the subject of the preceding Clause.
.

Dear imhimanshu,
First of all, let's use proper terminology. You are asking about participles and participial phrases. You can read a little more here:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/participle ... -the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/the-ing-form-of-a-verb/

Second, those two rules --- throw them in the trash. I'm sorry to say this, but they are useless. Participial phrases are the most versatile modifiers in the English language. A participial phrase can modify
(a) a noun (in which case it often will "touch" the noun)
(b) a verb (in which can it will answer a "how" question about the verb)
(c) a whole phrase or clause
There is no formula for deciding what the participial is doing, because it can do so many different things. You have to rely on meaning. In fact, because participles can do so many different things, the GMAT absolutely loves them. The GMAT loves writing SC sentences in which blind adherence to the rules of grammar is not enough --- sentence in which you must engage the unique meaning.

In the sentence you cite, a great GMAT SC sentence,
The cameras of the Voyager Ⅱ spacecraft detected six small, previously unseen moons circling Uranus, doubling to twelve the number of satellites now known to orbit that planet.
I would say the participial phrase, underlined, modifies the independent clause in the first half of the sentence. Here, it is most emphatically NOT a noun modifier. Rather, it is a clause-modifier. Only participial phrases can have this astonishing diversity of roles. What this means is ---- the clause describes an entire action ---- cameras detected moons ---- and the participial phrase describes not any of the nouns (camera or moons), not a "how" for the verb, but rather, a consequence of the entire action. This action, cameras detecting moons, has a direct consequence = doubling the number of known moons. A participial phrase is one of the best ways to express the direct consequence of the action of a clause.

Furthermore, on the "set off by commas" thing --- that has to do with whether it's a vital or non-vital modifier. See these posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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21 Apr 2013, 07:52
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear imhimanshu,
First of all, let's use proper terminology. You are asking about participles and participial phrases. You can read a little more here:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/participle ... -the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/the-ing-form-of-a-verb/

Second, those two rules --- throw them in the trash. I'm sorry to say this, but they are useless. Participial phrases are the most versatile modifiers in the English language. A participial phrase can modify
(a) a noun (in which case it often will "touch" the noun)
(b) a verb (in which can it will answer a "how" question about the verb)
(c) a whole phrase or clause
There is no formula for deciding what the participial is doing, because it can do so many different things. You have to rely on meaning. In fact, because participles can do so many different things, the GMAT absolutely loves them. The GMAT loves writing SC sentences in which blind adherence to the rules of grammar is not enough --- sentence in which you must engage the unique meaning.

In the sentence you cite, a great GMAT SC sentence,
The cameras of the Voyager Ⅱ spacecraft detected six small, previously unseen moons circling Uranus, doubling to twelve the number of satellites now known to orbit that planet.
I would say the participial phrase, underlined, modifies the independent clause in the first half of the sentence. Here, it is most emphatically NOT a noun modifier. Rather, it is a clause-modifier. Only participial phrases can have this astonishing diversity of roles. What this means is ---- the clause describes an entire action ---- cameras detected moons ---- and the participial phrase describes not any of the nouns (camera or moons), not a "how" for the verb, but rather, a consequence of the entire action. This action, cameras detecting moons, has a direct consequence = doubling the number of known moons. A participial phrase is one of the best ways to express the direct consequence of the action of a clause.

Furthermore, on the "set off by commas" thing --- that has to do with whether it's a vital or non-vital modifier. See these posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the detailed explanation.
Actually, the terminology that I used has been adopted from e-gmat. e-gmat has coined this term to make the things little easier to explain, thus helping aspirants to retain it longer. Sorry for the confusion.

I believe, I have a fair bit of idea regarding the usage of participles and participial phrases. As you stated above the different functions of participles and participle phrases, I'm presenting examples of each such usage to get my reasoning validated and to clarify my doubt, which is still there.

A participial phrase can modify

(a) a noun (in which case it often will "touch" the noun)
Mother soothed her [color=#0000ff]crying baby. [/color]Here, Crying is used as Participle. Hence modifying, baby.
Wearing a red Shirt, John presented gift to Alia. - ,Wearing a red Shirt, participle phrase describing John
John wearing a red shirt went to see Baseball Match- Wearing a red Shirt- Participle phrase describing John

(b) a verb (in which can it will answer a "how" question about the verb) -
Tina prepared Salad, using eggs and mayonnaise. Now, here it is answering "How" of a result. Hence, working as Adverbial Modifier. Since, these modifiers are made from verbs, they must denote action and make sense with Subject. Here, Tina used eggs and mayonnaise.

(c) a whole phrase or clause
Cameras detected moons, increasing the number to twelve. Here, it is showing the consequence of clause. But, here the concept goes on toss that the verb should make sense with the subject. Why is it so?? Or can we say that when it describes the consequence of clause then we should let go off this rule.

I have adopted this rule from an article written here-
usage-of-verb-ing-modifiers-135220.html

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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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22 Apr 2013, 09:44
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imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Mike,
Thanks for the detailed explanation.
Actually, the terminology that I used has been adopted from e-gmat. e-gmat has coined this term to make the things little easier to explain, thus helping aspirants to retain it longer. Sorry for the confusion.

I believe, I have a fair bit of idea regarding the usage of participles and participial phrases. As you stated above the different functions of participles and participle phrases, I'm presenting examples of each such usage to get my reasoning validated and to clarify my doubt, which is still there.

A participial phrase can modify

(a) a noun (in which case it often will "touch" the noun)
Mother soothed her [color=#0000ff]crying baby. [/color]Here, Crying is used as Participle. Hence modifying, baby.
Wearing a red Shirt, John presented gift to Alia. - ,Wearing a red Shirt, participle phrase describing John
John wearing a red shirt went to see Baseball Match- Wearing a red Shirt- Participle phrase describing John

Dear Himanshu,
I'm happy to help.
First of all, all three of these sentence are perfectly correct and perfectly analyzed.

imhimanshu wrote:
(b) a verb (in which can it will answer a "how" question about the verb) -
Tina prepared Salad, using eggs and mayonnaise. Now, here it is answering "How" of a result. Hence, working as Adverbial Modifier. Since, these modifiers are made from verbs, they must denote action and make sense with Subject. Here, Tina used eggs and mayonnaise.

This one is more ambiguous --- I could see the argument that "using" answers "how" and modifies the verb "prepared", or that it modifies the subject Tina. For GMAT purposes, this doesn't matter --- the sentence is perfectly correct.

imhimanshu wrote:
(c) a whole phrase or clause
Cameras detected moons, increasing the number to twelve. Here, it is showing the consequence of clause. But, here the concept goes on toss that the verb should make sense with the subject. Why is it so?? Or can we say that when it describes the consequence of clause then we should let go off this rule.

I'll modify this sentence slightly --- Cameras detected new moons, increasing the number of known satellites to twelve. --- technically, nothing about the cameras or the detection actually increased the real number of moons that Uranus has --- all that increased is the number we know about! What changes is nothing out there around the seventh planet --- what changes is only our knowledge. Technically, for this reason, the GMAT would consider the sentence you have illogical. The GMAT definitely cares about this sort of thing.
Now, as for the participle --- your sentence & my sentence both use the participle correct.

That rule, the verb should make sense with an explicitly stated subject --- jettison that rule. It's not necessary. In the sentence,
Cameras detected new moons, increasing the number of known satellites to twelve.
the participle "increasing" modifies the entire clause. There is not explicitly stated subject that could be the subject of the verb "to increase", and that's OK. That's an artificial requirement that will cause you get sentences incorrect on the GMAT SC.

Similarly, I would say the sentence
Joe became the CFO of the company, increasing his pay significantly.
is perfectly correct for the same reason.

There's nothing incorrect about inserting an extra noun before the participle for clarity. That becomes necessary if there's any ambiguity. In this sentence, the subject of "increasing" can't be "Joe" or "the CFO" or "company", so it's clear that "increasing" modifies the clause overall. If there's any ambiguity, then stick in a noun that will be the subject of the participial verb.

In the MGMAT Volume 8 book on SC, on p. 90, they give the example sentence:
Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values.
They cite this as a correct example of a participle modifying a clause. Again, notice the "participle needs a noun subject" rule would get you in trouble with this sentence. Again, notice that there's zero ambiguity --- the subject of "leading" could not possibly be "crime" or "neighborhood". This sentence would be correct on the GMAT.

BTW, in the sentence
Sachin Tendulkar played an exceptionally outstanding innings, making the team win gloriously.
(a) "innings" is plural, so the singular article "an" is incorrect.
(b) the words "exceptionally outstanding" are redundant --- this is characteristic of the redundancy the GMAT likes to put in incorrect answers on the sentence correction.
(c) I'm not sure in what sport it would make sense to talk about someone playing innings well -- certainly for American baseball, this would sound very peculiar.
(d) the word "gloriously" is completely incorrect --- it sounds absurd in the context of a GMAT. The words "glory" and "glorious" are used rarely outside of religious contexts or contexts that have a connotation of religion (i.e. divine right of kings).
(e) "making the team win" ---- this sounds too colloquial and informal, not characteristic of the formality on the GMAT. Here is a revision that is much closer to what the GMAT would consider correct:
Sachin Tendulkar played exceptionally well in the late innings, contributing to the team's overwhelming victory.

Here's a related article, about the limits of pronouns:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sente ... te-a-word/

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2013, 05:31
Hi Mike,
Thanks for the exhaustive explanation.. +1 to you.

mikemcgarry wrote:
That's an artificial requirement that will cause you get sentences incorrect on the GMAT SC.

Thanks for clearing the concept. I have understood it correctly that there is no need to look for the explicitly stated subject of the participle phrase when modifying the complete clause, because the complete clause can act as a implied subject of the participle phrase.

mikemcgarry wrote:

I'll modify this sentence slightly --- Cameras detected new moons, increasing the number of known satellites to twelve. --- technically, nothing about the cameras or the detection actually increased the real number of moons that Uranus has --- all that increased is the number we know about! What changes is nothing out there around the seventh planet --- what changes is only our knowledge. Technically, for this reason, the GMAT would consider the sentence you have illogical. The GMAT definitely cares about this sort of thing.

Mike, I would like to understand more on this concept. If possible, would you please shed some light on the above concept with Official Example. This will help in solidifying the concept. I have got a fair bit of idea that since the object is missing from the sentence and that could lead to some form of ambiguity in the participle phrase. However, I'm not too sure if I'l be able to apply it.

mikemcgarry wrote:

There's nothing incorrect about inserting an extra noun before the participle for clarity. That becomes necessary if there's any ambiguity. In this sentence, the subject of "increasing" can't be "Joe" or "the CFO" or "company", so it's clear that "increasing" modifies the clause overall. If there's any ambiguity, then stick in a noun that will be the subject of the participial verb.

Another Take away : If there's any ambiguity, then stick in a noun that will be the subject of the participial verb.
mikemcgarry wrote:
In the MGMAT Volume 8 book on SC, on p. 90, they give the example sentence:
Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values.
They cite this as a correct example of a participle modifying a clause. Again, notice the "participle needs a noun subject" rule would get you in trouble with this sentence. Again, notice that there's zero ambiguity --- the subject of "leading" could not possibly be "crime" or "neighborhood". This sentence would be correct on the GMAT.

MGMAT says that as long as noun form of entire clause stands as subject of the verb in -ing form, the construction is correct. This is in line with your explanation. Concept is cemented now, its there in the system now.

mikemcgarry wrote:
BTW, in the sentence
Sachin Tendulkar played an exceptionally outstanding innings, making the team win gloriously.
(a) "innings" is plural, so the singular article "an" is incorrect.
(b) the words "exceptionally outstanding" are redundant --- this is characteristic of the redundancy the GMAT likes to put in incorrect answers on the sentence correction.
(c) I'm not sure in what sport it would make sense to talk about someone playing innings well -- certainly for American baseball, this would sound very peculiar.
(d) the word "gloriously" is completely incorrect --- it sounds absurd in the context of a GMAT. The words "glory" and "glorious" are used rarely outside of religious contexts or contexts that have a connotation of religion (i.e. divine right of kings).
(e) "making the team win" ---- this sounds too colloquial and informal, not characteristic of the formality on the GMAT. Here is a revision that is much closer to what the GMAT would consider correct:
Sachin Tendulkar played exceptionally well in the late innings, contributing to the team's overwhelming victory.

What can I say about this. There is tons of info, and that will take some time to digest. Not to say that you have ripped this sentence apart.
Awesome Explanation.
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2013, 10:18
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imhimanshu wrote:
Mike, I would like to understand more on this concept. If possible, would you please shed some light on the above concept with Official Example. This will help in solidifying the concept. I have got a fair bit of idea that since the object is missing from the sentence and that could lead to some form of ambiguity in the participle phrase. However, I'm not too sure if I'l be able to apply it.

Cameras detected moons, increasing the number to twelve.
and my correction was:
Cameras detected new moons, increasing the number of known satellites to twelve.
and the big idea here is that, logically, the cameras detecting the moons doesn't actually change how many natural satellites the planet Uranus really has, it merely changes our knowledge.

This is one of the hardest aspects of GMAT SC, a topic which the OG calls "Logical Predication." There are absolutely no fixed rules for this, no simple recipes you can follow. It's all about the ability to pull back from a sentence and ask yourself, does this make sense? In the OG, 60 of the 140 SC questions, nearly half, involve some kind of Logical Predication. It's a huge topic. Some of the simpler issues involve misplaced modifiers, word order, faulty parallelism, etc. It's funny ---- this sentence you inadvertently created is a brilliant example of the kind of logical error the GMAT intentionally crafts ---- many people would read your sentence, and figure "I know what they mean", without thinking carefully about the logic. SC #131 & #137 in the OG are good examples of this.

You can never read a GMAT sentence on automatic pilot. You can never assume that the sentence in the prompt is a logically correct and coherent sentence. You always have to think critically and ask yourself, "does this really mean what the author is trying to say?"

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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24 Apr 2013, 04:29
mikemcgarry wrote:
You can never read a GMAT sentence on automatic pilot. You can never assume that the sentence in the prompt is a logically correct and coherent sentence. You always have to think critically and ask yourself, "does this really mean what the author is trying to say?"

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hello Mike,
As usual, Thanks for the brilliant information and clarifying my concept. Kudos.
The above quote nearly sums up everything that SC tests. You reinforced that thinking critically and gauging the meaning holds supreme importance in SC.
Thanks Again.
Thanks
H
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2013, 09:35
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imhimanshu wrote:
Hello Mike,
As usual, Thanks for the brilliant information and clarifying my concept. Kudos.
The above quote nearly sums up everything that SC tests. You reinforced that thinking critically and gauging the meaning holds supreme importance in SC.
Thanks Again.
Thanks
H

You are quite welcome. BTW, here's a blog about modifiers I just published.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/modifiers- ... orrection/
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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30 Apr 2013, 07:19
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Hi Himanshu,
This is in response to your PM.

The comma + verb-ing modifiers modify the preceding clause in two ways, as you correctly said. It either presents the “how” aspect of the preceding clause or it presents the result of the preceding clause.
You can pick up any official sentence and study them for the validity of these functions.

The next rule that we talk about in our article is that the verb-ing modifier must make sense with the subject also stands.

I would like to cite an official example in this regard:
OG 13#97 - Some anthropologists believe that the genetic homogeneity evident in the world’s people is the result of a “population bottleneck”- at some time in the past our ancestors suffered an event, greatly reducing their numbers and thus our genetic variation.

The official explanation for choice A states that the “agent or the cause of “reducing” is unclear. This explanation is in lines with the fact that the comma + verb-ing modifier requires an agent or a cause. In the absence of a specific agent, such modifiers make the modification ambiguous.
When we read this official sentence, it seems to suggest that “our ancestors” reduced their numbers. Here its evident that “reducing” does not make sense with ancestors, the subject of the modified clause and hence is incorrect. So the cause or agent does matter as is evident from this official question. That is the primary reason why the use of “reducing” is incorrect in this official sentence.

Now let’s come to the OG 11 sentence that you have presented:
The cameras of the Voyager II spacecraft detected six small, previously unseen moons circling Uranus, doubling to twelve the number of satellites now known to orbit the distant planet.
In this sentence, cameras did the action of detecting six small unseen moons. So in a way, the number of satellites that we know of doubled because the cameras directly performed some action. So the camera itself has direct bearing on “doubling”. If the “camera” had not detected these small moons, then the result presented by the verb-ing modifier would not have happened. 

We see a parallel to this sentence in OG 12#47: Five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland this summer, bringing to 34 the number of wild birds successfully raised since transplants from Norway began in 1975.
Can you assess the similarity between the two official sentences?

Now let’s look at the structure of the other sentence in this thread.
Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values.
If we study this sentence, we will see that even if “Crime” is the subject of the independent clause, it by itself did not do the job of decreasing. So the “crime” is not an active doer of the verb - decreased. May be the police decreased the crime. Thus, as you can see the “crime” is being decreased. This is the reason why, “leading” stands here because this verb-ing modifier modifies the clause in its entirety. Here the question of subject making sense with the verb-ing modifier does not even come into picture since the subject is not the “doer” of the action in the clause.

Hope this clarifies the confusion. I gather from your question that in general you have a sound understanding of modifiers. It’s just that you are getting a bit lost in the rules. Read this post again and check out the official sentences in this post and see the differences and similarities as noted. Let me know if you have any doubts. 

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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01 May 2013, 06:39
egmat wrote:
Hi Himanshu,
This is in response to your PM.

Thanks eGmat for responding to my query. Appreciated.
I'm afraid to say that after reading your post and spending close to two hours for analyzing the OG questions, I am bemused.
I'm posting my analysis here, and would like you to respond to it, and clear my clarifications.

egmat wrote:
The next rule that we talk about in our article is that the verb-ing modifier must make sense with the subject also stands.

I believe, this may or may not true. If Comma +ing modifiers are answering the HOW aspect of verb, then S+V must make sense, else it is not a make or break rule.
Sentence from MGMAT:
I lifted the weight, whistling beat it. Here, it is answering How I lifted the weight? Whistling "beat it". Who is Whistling.. "I". hence Correct. Also, it is correct to say that I whistled ... i.e., we found the subject and the verb.

egmat wrote:
I would like to cite an official example in this regard:
OG 13#97 - Some anthropologists believe that the genetic homogeneity evident in the world’s people is the result of a “population bottleneck”- at some time in the past our ancestors suffered an event, greatly reducing their numbers and thus our genetic variation.

The official explanation for choice A states that the “agent or the cause of “reducing” is unclear. This explanation is in lines with the fact that the comma + verb-ing modifier requires an agent or a cause. In the absence of a specific agent, such modifiers make the modification ambiguous.
When we read this official sentence, it seems to suggest that “our ancestors” reduced their numbers. Here its evident that “reducing” does not make sense with ancestors, the subject of the modified clause and hence is incorrect. So the cause or agent does matter as is evident from this official question. That is the primary reason why the use of “reducing” is incorrect in this official sentence..

Agreed. Here, we have found the explicitly stated subject. i.e Ancestors -- Reduced(verb) --> Ancestors reduced their own numbers...doesn't make any sense.

Secondly, Here is what I think about OG's reasoning "agent or the cause of “reducing” is unclear"..
The Subject of the Verb "Reducing" can be Event or Ancestors.
Subject: Ancestors

Subject: Event
Now, how this is possible:

See this Explanation of OG #13- Choice D
The final descriptor in present tense, now drawing conclusion doesn't fit the opening clause, which is in perfect tense and seems to modify adulthood.
The same has been acknowledged by your explanation as well.
neuroscientists-having-amassed-a-wealth-of-knowledge-over-96386.html
Hence, two possible subjects; Ambiguous.
Please correct, if I am wrong in my analysis.

egmat wrote:
Now let’s come to the OG 11 sentence that you have presented:
The cameras of the Voyager II spacecraft detected six small, previously unseen moons circling Uranus, doubling to twelve the number of satellites now known to orbit the distant planet.
In this sentence, cameras did the action of detecting six small unseen moons. So in a way, the number of satellites that we know of doubled because the cameras directly performed some action. So the camera itself has direct bearing on “doubling”. If the “camera” had not detected these small moons, then the result presented by the verb-ing modifier would not have happened. 

Now, here if I look for explicitly stated subject, then, we have "the Cameras" as the subject.
But, the action(doubling) is not done by cameras. Hence, Explicitly stated subject doesn't make sense.
So, the sentence would say: The cameras doubled the number of known satellites

But, It is the fact that detection of moons is possible by the Cameras, and the whole event led to the doubling of known satellites. Hence, Explicitly stated subject is not correct. It is the whole event that lead to the result.

Another example by OG:

The recent surge in the number of airplane flights has clogged the nation’s air-traffic control system, leading to a 55-percent increase in delays at airports and prompting

Again, The recent surge doesn't lead to 55% increase. It is because pf clogging of nations traffic control system by the recent surge led to delays.
See, this sentence in this way:
The recent surge may or may not delay the air flights, but if it makes the nations traffic control system dysfunctional, then it is surely going to increase in delays.

Hence, looking for explicitly stated subject may not make sense.

egmat wrote:
Now let’s look at the structure of the other sentence in this thread.
Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values.
If we study this sentence, we will see that even if “Crime” is the subject of the independent clause, it by itself did not do the job of decreasing. So the “crime” is not an active doer of the verb - decreased. May be the police decreased the crime. Thus, as you can see the “crime” is being decreased. This is the reason why, “leading” stands here because this verb-ing modifier modifies the clause in its entirety. Here the question of subject making sense with the verb-ing modifier does not even come into picture since the subject is not the “doer” of the action in the clause.

I understand that this sentence is in passive voice, but again, I believe that the rules are universal and should remain same irrespective of whether the sentence is in Active or Passive Voice. However, if I say that:

The recent decrease in crime has led to the increase in property values, then I believe it is making sense.

So, In nutshell:
If comma +ing working as Adverbial modifier, then it should stand with Subject(explicitly stated)
If comma +ing modifying the whole clause, then changing the modified clause into Noun Form shall make sense with the verb of +ing modifier.

Please correct if I am wrong. this whole thing driving me crazy.

Regards,
Himanshu
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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07 May 2013, 05:54
Hi Mike,

I would like to know your inputs on what the Participle "boosting" is modifying in the below sentence.

Although improved efficiency in converting harvested trees into wood products may reduce harvest rates, it will stimulate demand by increasing supply and lowering prices, thereby boosting consumption.

Doubt 1:
Who is boosting Consumption? Is it improved efficiency or Stimulation of Demand?

Doubt 2:
Isn't thereby redundant in this usage, since participle usually shows Cause - Effect relationship, then what purpose does "thereby" serves here?

This is correct sentence from GMAT.

Regards,
H
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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07 May 2013, 09:43
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imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Mike,
I would like to know your inputs on what the Participle "boosting" is modifying in the below sentence.

Although improved efficiency in converting harvested trees into wood products may reduce harvest rates, it will stimulate demand by increasing supply and lowering prices, thereby boosting consumption.

Doubt 1:
Who is boosting Consumption? Is it improved efficiency or Stimulation of Demand?
Doubt 2:
Isn't thereby redundant in this usage, since participle usually shows Cause - Effect relationship, then what purpose does "thereby" serves here?

This is correct sentence from GMAT. Regards, H

Dear Himanshu,
First of all, I would say, the participle modifies the main subject, "it", the pronoun whose antecedent is "improved efficiency". I suppose one could make an argument that the "demand" or "falling prices" boosts consumption, but I think the "improved efficiency" is the cause which sets everything else in the sentence in motion --- in fact, that helps to give a strong unity to the sentence as a whole, something the GMAT likes.

Now, as for Doubt #2 --- this statement, "participle usually shows Cause - Effect relationship" --- where did you get that? That's bunk.
I drove to Peoria, singing of my true love.
She walked into the party wearing a neon green dress.
He reluctantly bought the hot pink paint, wondering how the parlor would look when done.

No cause-effect in those three sentences. I suppose it's true that, not usually, but sometimes, a participle can show a cause-effect relationship, but it's hardly so regularly that we expect it every single time we see a participle. Moreover, in the context of the sentence, we have A causes B and B causes C, so the word "thereby" is a perfectly clear way to indicate the latter part of a chain of cause-effect. In fact, if the sentence omitted the word "thereby", it would be awkward --- it would seem that "boosting" applied to something closer in the sentence. The word "thereby" brilliantly gives a logical coherence to the entire sentence by illuminating the chain of logical connections. Quite the opposite of something like "redundancy", the word "thereby" is a rhetorical success in the sentence, one of the things that makes the sentence as a whole function quite well.

Himanshu, are you familiar with the phrase "missing the forest for the trees"? What the GMAT is looking for on SC cannot be reduced to math-like rules, and in this instance, misapplying a poorly conceived rule led you in a direction diametrically opposed what the GMAT most values. Here are a few videos about Rhetoric on the GMAT SC, including one on redundancy.
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/917-ver ... e-language
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/918-sub ... -proximity
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/919-focus-on-a-topic
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/920-avoid-redundancy

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 04:53
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the detailed reply. I concur your thoughts that I'm getting too much into the questions while losing the bigger picture. The reason that I'm getting confused is because of the following question.

The original building and loan associations were organized as limited life funds, whose members made monthly payments on their share subscriptions, then taking turns drawing on the funds for home mortgages.

Could you please show me why the participle is wrong in this case. I would like to see how would you justify the wrong usage of Participle.

The original building and loan associations were organized as limited life funds, whose members made monthly payments on their share subscriptions and then took turns drawing on the funds for home mortgages.

Here, the correct answer choice makes the two verbs parallel rather than the original cause effect present. Generally, we have been asked to stay with the Original Meaning presented, and selecting this answer choice will definitely ring bells and make me double check if there is shift in meaning justified?
The same doubt goes in the question posted in my last message, whether the cause effect is justified. If not, if the question is asking for making the things parallel.

Could you please enlighten me on this?

Again,Huge Thanks for your earlier replies.

Regards,
Himanshu
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 12:23
imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Mike,
Thanks for the detailed reply. I concur your thoughts that I'm getting too much into the questions while losing the bigger picture. The reason that I'm getting confused is because of the following question.

The original building and loan associations were organized as limited life funds, whose members made monthly payments on their share subscriptions, then taking turns drawing on the funds for home mortgages.

Could you please show me why the participle is wrong in this case. I would like to see how would you justify the wrong usage of Participle.

The original building and loan associations were organized as limited life funds, whose members made monthly payments on their share subscriptions and then took turns drawing on the funds for home mortgages.

Here, the correct answer choice makes the two verbs parallel rather than the original cause effect present. Generally, we have been asked to stay with the Original Meaning presented, and selecting this answer choice will definitely ring bells and make me double check if there is shift in meaning justified?
The same doubt goes in the question posted in my last message, whether the cause effect is justified. If not, if the question is asking for making the things parallel.

Could you please enlighten me on this? Again, Huge Thanks for your earlier replies.
Regards, Himanshu

Dear Himanshu
BIG IDEA #1: the whole association of participles with cause-and-effect is tenuous --- it's sometimes true in certain cases, it's NOT a general applicable rule by any stretch of the imagination. It something to notice in certain cases, not a rule to follow for guidance.

BIG IDEA #2: Parallelism is the single most important construction on the entire sentence correction section. The GMAT loves parallelism! If there is a single subject, and two actions performed by that subject, then I would say, 100% of the time, the GMAT is looking for parallel structure. Whenever parallelism is possible on the GMAT, there has to be an overwhelming reason not to put things in parallel. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/parallelis ... orrection/

Also, between the two actions here is NOT a cause-effect relationship. It's simply a time-sequence in a process. The members made monthly payments, and when they were done with that, they took turns drawing on fund. A does action #1, and then, action #2 --- that relationship is crying out for parallelism. It's not cause-and-effect because the "members" are the subject of both. To phrase this as a cause-and-effect, we would have to alter the sentence radically, completely changing the original meaning ---- "members made monthly payments on their share subscriptions, and these contributions provided them with the funds for home mortgages." In a cause-effect statement, the "members" are not the cause --- their action is the cause.

Overall, you are giving preference & priority to a half-baked "sometimes" pattern over the single-most tested idea on GMAT SC.

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2014, 02:24
good morning mike
i have read ur post above but i have some doubts :
Quote:
u said :That rule, the verb should make sense with an explicitly stated subject --- jettison that rule. It's not necessary. In the sentence,
Cameras detected new moons, increasing the number of known satellites to twelve.

on most other forums many other experts have explicitly said that it is pertinent to make sure that the subject of the previous clause make sense with the comma+ verb ing modifier .can u please elaborate as where and when we need to do so

also ,this particular sentence that u have said is correct is also being considered wrong :Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values..
i can paste the link where i have read this .kindly elaborate
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2014, 09:29
neha24 wrote:
good morning mike
i have read ur post above but i have some doubts :
Quote:
u said :That rule, the verb should make sense with an explicitly stated subject --- jettison that rule. It's not necessary. In the sentence,
Cameras detected new moons, increasing the number of known satellites to twelve.

on most other forums many other experts have explicitly said that it is pertinent to make sure that the subject of the previous clause make sense with the comma+ verb ing modifier .can u please elaborate as where and when we need to do so

also ,this particular sentence that u have said is correct is also being considered wrong :Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values..
i can paste the link where i have read this .kindly elaborate

Dear Neha24,
I'm happy to respond.

Often the present participle (i.e. the -ing participle) begins a phrases that acts as a noun modifier, an adjectival phrase. In that case, the implied subject of the participle would be the target noun, the noun modified. That is certainly true in many cases on the GMAT SC.

BUT, the present participle also can introduce a phrase that modifiers the verb, the action of the clause, or the entire clause --- in other words, it acts as an adverbial phrase. Participial phrases are unique among modifiers in that they can modify both nouns and verbs. In this latter case, the implied subject of the participle would not necessarily be stated explicitly at all in the sentence.

I would say that the sentence:
Crime has recently decreased in our neighborhood, leading to a rise in property values.
is 100% correct according to GMAT SC values. In fact, that very sentence, word for word, appears in the MGMAT volume 8, Sentence Correction, in Ch. 6 on p. 90. This is a MGMAT sentence, and as always, those folks really know the standards of the GMAT very well.

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-clauses/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-clauses/

Yes, I would be extremely curious to see a link to a article in which someone is claiming that both MGMAT and I are wrong about this.

Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2014, 10:35
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2014, 12:55
neha24 wrote:

Dear neha24,
While I have tremendous respond for Mr. Ron Purewal, I still believe the sentence is 100% correct. I have contacted the MGMAT folks asking them to comment on this case.
Mike
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Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2014, 20:11
to mike
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
Re: Verb+ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity   [#permalink] 11 Apr 2014, 20:11

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