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About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy

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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2017, 18:36
egmat wrote:
sobby wrote:
In B , it seems like "that" is pointing to Eurasia not milky sap..
If B is correct,can some please justify usage of that here..

Comma + that is worrying me in option B ...

Posted from my mobile device



Hello sobby,

I would be glad to help you resolve your doubt. :)

Let me bring in here the sentence with Choice B:

About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless.

In the above-mentioned sentence, it is the phrase with milky sap that has been enclosed between two commas. If we were to remove this phrase from the sentence, we would also remove the comma before with and the comma after sap. Hence, it is not so that the that clause is preceded by a comma.

The placement of the phrase with milky sap between the two commas implies this is just an additional information. The milky white sap does not necessarily give mouth sore to the cattle. It is the plant that does so.

Now let's talk about how that correctly modifies the noun entity a herbaceous plant. There is no issue in that modifying a herbaceous plant because the phrase from Eurasia modifies a herbaceous plant and cannot be placed anywhere else in the sentence. Here we see the case of a noun modifier modifying a slightly far away noun. We have a detailed article named Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun that deals with this concept. This article can be reviewed in the following link:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Hi Shraddha,

Nice to read your answer. I also chose B because I have same logic with you, except the modifier " that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food". IMO, this modifier modifies for milky sap.

I don't understand why above modifier modifies for "leafy spurge". If we summarize the sentence, it should be "About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering...".

Please correct if I'm wrong. Thanks.
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 14:00
hellosanthosh2k2 wrote:
Hi Shraddha Thanks for clarification.

I have one question for choice B. "that" after the non-vital modifier "with milky sap" what does it refer to, logically it should refer to leafy spurge. Because in one of my questions, when i chose a choice that had "that" modifier seperated from the noun by a non-vital modifier (as with choice B for the questions), i was marked wrong. So i rejected choice B for this question. I am kind of mis-guided.

Can you please help clarify the concept.

Thanks




Hello hellosanthosh2k2,

I apologize for answering this question so late. But as they say better late than never, :-)



The noun modifier that in the correct answer choice refers to a little far-away noun entity leafy spurge. Take a good look at the structure of Choice B. Whenever that is used to modify the immediate preceding noun entity, it is NEVER separated with that entity with a comma.


But in this choice, here is a comma between milky sap and that. Basically, both the modifiers - a herbaceous plant from Eurasia and with milky sap - are enclosed between commas because they just provide some additional information about the leafy spurge that are not crucial to core meaning of the sentence.

Hence, the noun modifier that jumps over the preceding modifiers and modify leafy spurge.

Please review our very famous article Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun to learn when noun modifiers can modify a slightly far-away nouns by clicking on the following link:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html



Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 14:09
1
rma26 wrote:
egmat
I have a question. You wrote " The comma + verb-ing modifier displacing has been turned to simple present tense verb displaces. The comma + verb-ing modifier rendering correctly modifies the preceding action displaces, presenting the result of this action. Because the leafy spurge displaces grasses and other cattle food, it renders rangeland worthless. "
But I thought in correct ssentence "rendering" modifies its previous clause's two actions that are "gives mouth.. " and "displaces". However, from your sentence it seems to me that only "displaces" is the reason.So I feel confused. If two verb are jointed by and, will modifier only modify last verb?!

Posted from my mobile device




Hello rma26,


I apologize for answering this question so late. But as they say better late than never. :-)

Per the rule, the comma + verb-ing modifier modifies the IMMEDIATE preceding action. So if there are two verbs associated with and, as we see in this official sentence, the comma + verb-ing modifier will modify the closest action.

This is the reason why in this official correct sentence, comma + rendering... modifies the closest action displaces.

Following correct official sentence is another example of the same usage:

To map Earth's interior, geologists use a network of seismometers to chart seismic waves that originate in the earth's crust and ricochet around its interior, traveling most rapidly through cold, dense regions and more slowly through hotter rocks.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 14:15
gwaitforitmat wrote:

Thank you for your brilliant explanation. I have a few questions which I can use your help with. My questions are mainly about verb-ing modifier.
In the wrong answer choice A, you pointed out that both displacing and rendering would refer to the action, in the preceding clause, gives. That leads me wonder why we cannot do the same for the following sentence, for which your team has offered excellent explanation.

As a result of record low temperatures, the water pipes on the third floor froze, causing the heads of the sprinkler system to burst, then releasing torrents of water offices on the second floor.
My question here is that why releasing cannot modify the action, similarly in the preceding clause, to burst. Especially as you mentioned that

"Verb-ing modifiers
1. When separated by comma modifies the preceding clause
2. When not separated by comma modifiers the preceding noun or noun phrase
"

My question is that which action or part of the sentence or which action the verb-ing modifiers refer to?

Looking forward to your reply.

Best regards,
Li




Hello gwaitforitmat,

I apologize for answering this question so late. But as they say better late than never, :-)


Usage of the word then is very important in Choice D.

It seems to suggest that some entity first caused something and then released torrents of water. This the reason why comma + releasing... does not modify to burst.



Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 14:29
2
thingocanhnguyen wrote:

Hi Shraddha,

Nice to read your answer. I also chose B because I have same logic with you, except the modifier " that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food". IMO, this modifier modifies for milky sap.

I don't understand why above modifier modifies for "leafy spurge". If we summarize the sentence, it should be "About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering...".

Please correct if I'm wrong. Thanks.



Hello thingocanhnguyen,


I would be glad to help you with this one. :-)

Please pay attention the meaning of the sentence.

Per he context of the sentence, we may think that the milky sap gives mouth sores to cattle. However, there is no confusion in understanding that leafy spurge displaces grasses and other cattle food.

Now look at the structure of Choice B. The verb gives and displaces are parallel and must belong to the same subject. The subject for these two verbs is that.

So logically, that must refer to leafy spurge because both the verbs make sense with this subject. It is absolutely logical to say that leafy spurge gives mouth sores to cattle, may be because of the milky sap it has.

In addition, whenever that is used to modify the immediate preceding noun entity, it is NEVER separated with that entity with a comma.


But in this choice, there is a comma between milky sap and that. Basically, both the modifiers - a herbaceous plant from Eurasia and with milky sap - are enclosed between commas because they just provide some additional information about the leafy spurge that are not crucial to core meaning of the sentence.

Hence, the noun modifier that jumps over the preceding modifiers and modify leafy spurge.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

A) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering
B) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering
C) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering
D) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders
E) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia that has milky sap giving mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering


This is perhaps the worst official GMAT SC question I have ever seen: the OA of B is still the best choice due to verb parallelism / meaning issues, but it is wordy and horribly punctuated.

Sometimes on the GMAT, the "best" choice is pretty darn far from the perfect version.

My perfect version: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap, which gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders rangeland worthless.

Also, in the 2018 OG the phrase "a herbaceous plant from Eurasia" is in italics in Choice B for some reason.

-Brian
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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 19 Apr 2018, 17:06.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 04 Jun 2018, 07:09, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2018, 19:20
1
GMATNinja wrote:
Full disclosure: I totally got punked by this one during our last verbal chat. Join us for the next one! https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-chat- ... 78-20.html I mean, it's fun to see a guy with an 800 get embarrassed, right? :oops: :-D

As some others have pointed out, this one is all about the intersection of structure and meaning. (And there are already some excellent explanations here, but, well, I promised to write one as penance, so here you go.)

Quote:
A. States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering

I really only notice two things in (A). "That gives mouth sores to cattle" seems to modify "milky sap", and I guess that's OK.

But then at the end of the sentence gives us a pair of parallel "-ing" modifiers, "displacing grasses... and rendering rangeland worthless." And what do they modify?

Hold that thought. We'll come back to that in a second.

Quote:
B. States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering

OK, so the added commas around "with milky sap" change things just a tiny bit: "that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses..." now clearly modifies "a herbaceous plant from Eurasia." Hm, that makes a lot of sense.

And now "rendering" clearly modifies the preceding clause, "that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food." That also makes a lot of sense: rangeland is rendered useless by this evil plant that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces their food sources.

Back to (A), then:
Quote:
A. States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering

So wait: in (A), it's the milky sap that gives the mouth sores to cattle -- not the leafy spurge itself, as (B) would indicate. In that sense, (B) seems to be a slightly better choice. It's a bigger problem, presumably, if the entire plant gives mouth sores to cattle.

More importantly: "displacing grasses and rendering rangeland useless", would generally modify the preceding clause. And that's pretty illogical in (A): "that gives mouth sores to cattle" has absolutely nothing to do with "displacing grasses." And in that sense, (B) is much clearer.

So (A) is gone. And the rest are easier to eliminate:

Quote:
C. States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering

Parallelism in (C) is clearly wrong: "... and displacing grasses" is parallel to what, exactly? "Having milky sap", I guess? That's a mess. We can comfortably eliminate (C).

Quote:
D. States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders

I really don't love "having been invaded" in this case. In general, "having + verb" needs to be the first of two actions, and that's just not happening here. (For more on this topic, see our last chat transcript.)

Also, the parallelism at the end of the sentence isn't ideal: "... with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses..., and renders rangeland worthless." The sap displaces grasses? That doesn't make sense. (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia that has milky sap giving mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering

(E) is similar to (D): "having been" doesn't seem quite right, and "giving mouth sores to cattle" is parallel to "displacing grasses", suggesting that the milky sap displaces grasses -- and that doesn't make sense. (E) is gone, too, and (B) is our winner.


egmat wrote:
Hello hellosanthosh2k2,

I apologize for answering this question so late. But as they say better late than never, :-)

The noun modifier that in the correct answer choice refers to a little far-away noun entity leafy spurge. Take a good look at the structure of Choice B. Whenever that is used to modify the immediate preceding noun entity, it is NEVER separated with that entity with a comma.

But in this choice, here is a comma between milky sap and that. Basically, both the modifiers - a herbaceous plant from Eurasia and with milky sap - are enclosed between commas because they just provide some additional information about the leafy spurge that are not crucial to core meaning of the sentence.

Hence, the noun modifier that jumps over the preceding modifiers and modify leafy spurge.


Please review our very famous article Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun to learn when noun modifiers can modify a slightly far-away nouns by clicking on the following link:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


egmat wrote:
Hello rma26,


I apologize for answering this question so late. But as they say better late than never. :-)

Per the rule, the comma + verb-ing modifier modifies the IMMEDIATE preceding action. So if there are two verbs associated with and, as we see in this official sentence, the comma + verb-ing modifier will modify the closest action.

This is the reason why in this official correct sentence, comma + rendering... modifies the closest action displaces.
Following correct official sentence is another example of the same usage:

To map Earth's interior, geologists use a network of seismometers to chart seismic waves that originate in the earth's crust and ricochet around its interior, traveling most rapidly through cold, dense regions and more slowly through hotter rocks.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha



mcelroytutoring wrote:
This is perhaps the worst official GMAT SC question I have ever seen: the OA of B is still the best choice due to verb parallelism / meaning issues, but it is wordy and horribly punctuated.

Sometimes on the GMAT, the "best" choice is pretty darn far from the perfect version.

My perfect version: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap, which gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders rangeland worthless.

Also, in the 2018 OG the phrase "a herbaceous plant from Eurasia" is in italics in Choice B for some reason.

-Brian



AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert , ccooley , GMATNinjaTwo , mcelroytutoring , daagh , other experts -- please enlighten.

1.In OA - B , that modifies a herbaceous plant from Eurasia or leafy spurge? I understand that "THAT" CAN'T refer to "with milky sap" since its enclosed between commas.

2. The below is the perfect version stated by mcelroytutoring -
About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap, which gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders rangeland worthless.
Is the parallelism here okay?

3. In OA- B, the verb-ing modifier rendering modifies the preceding verb displaces or both the verbs gives and displaces that are parallel ?
About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless

Please refer to highlighted parts of the answers quoted as it contains a few contradictory answers.
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2018, 14:11
1
Skywalker18 wrote:

Hi Skywalker18!

Skywalker18 wrote:
1.In OA - B , that modifies a herbaceous plant from Eurasia or leafy spurge? I understand that CAN'T refer to "with milky sap" since its enclosed between commas.


The sentence is saying: leafy spurge = herbaceous plant with milky sap. So "milky sap" is technically modifying "plant", which in turn is part of a noun phrase modifying "leafy spurge".

Skywalker18 wrote:
2. The below is the perfect version stated by mcelroytutoring -
About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap, which gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders rangeland worthless.
Is the parallelism here okay?

Yes, the parallelism here works :-) We can interpret "gives...", "displaces...", and "renders..." as all modifying "leafy spurge", and so the parallelism here is consistent and makes sense.

Skywalker18 wrote:
3. In OA- B, the verb-ing modifier rendering modifies the preceding verb displaces or both the verbs gives and displaces that are parallel ?
About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless


Here, "rendering" is modifying the whole phrase: "gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food".

I hope that helps! :-)
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2018, 21:25
1
Thanks AjiteshArun for your inputs

AjiteshArun wrote:
Hi Skywalker,

1. The that refers to a herbaceous plant from Eurasia. It cannot refer to leafy spurge as we want a specific type of plant, not a specific type of leafy spurge (which happens to be the name of a particular thing). For example:

(a) ...farmland has been invaded by leafy spurge that affects cattle.
(b) ...farmland has been invaded by leafy spurge, a plant that affects cattle.

2. Yes, there is both ambiguity and loss of meaning in this version. The sentence is really trying to say that the plant does something, and as a result, renders something worthless. If we switch to a series of 3 verbs, the sentence will imply that the plant separately renders rangeland worthless.

3. Even though in this case it does makes sense to view the rendering... bit as being the result of the displacing of grasses and other cattle food, I am not aware of any rule restricting the impact of the ing to one specific element in the sentence.

Ajitesh


MagooshExpert wrote:
Skywalker18 wrote:
3. In OA- B, the verb-ing modifier rendering modifies the preceding verb displaces or both the verbs gives and displaces that are parallel ?
About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless


Here, "rendering" is modifying the whole phrase: "gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food".

I hope that helps! :-)
-Carolyn


1. So whether a verb-ing modifier modifies only the preceding action or both actions will depend on the logic of the sentence ?


e-gmat -->Per the rule, the comma + verb-ing modifier modifies the IMMEDIATE preceding action. So if there are two verbs associated with and, as we see in this official sentence, the comma + verb-ing modifier will modify the closest action.

To map Earth's interior, geologists use a network of seismometers to chart seismic waves that originate in the earth's crust and ricochet around its interior, traveling most rapidly through cold, dense regions and more slowly through hotter rocks.

In the above official example, the Verb-ing traveling only makes sense with the verb ricochet.

2. Also , in OA- B and in general , is it possible for a THAT modifier to jump across two modifiers , a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, ?
I know that THAT modifier can jump when there is one modifier enclosed between two commas .

I 'm looking for a TV, with a remote, that costs less than $200. -- here the comma before "THAT" isn't actually part of the main structure at all . It's used only to block off the modifier.

About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless.


AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert , ccooley -- please enlighten
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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Let me simply say this: it's questions like these that make me feel better about having scored "only" 48/51 in Verbal (1 wrong) instead of a perfect 51.

Not every GMAC official question is fully fair or perfectly written, especially on Verbal, and this "leafy spurge" question is a great example of that. Luckily, you can get around 5 wrong on Verbal and still earn a 96% score of V42 (around 3 or fewer wrong for 99% or above: V45+).

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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2018, 08:01
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a student recently asked me about this question.

this question serves well to illustrate one of the most important features of GMAT SC: if you stay focused on FUNDAMENTALS — and stay aware of the common-sense INTENDED MEANING of the sentence (which you should always figure out as the very first step of any SC problem), you'll be able to solve the vast majority of SC problems — even the "hard" ones — without needing to consider anything beyond those basics.

for this problem, all we need is overall structure, parallelism, and the usage of comma + __ing modifiers (= the single most commonly tested type of modifier in GMAT SC).

.

OVERALL STRUCTURE:

the cue to think about overall structure is the difference between "HAVE been invaded" (a VERB), in choices A/B/C, and "HAVING been invaded" (a MODIFIER), in choices D/E.
(if you see this kind of difference, then one version MUST be wrong. if the verb works, then the modifier will create a sentence fragment with no verb; if the modifier works, then the verb will create a run-on sentence with two verbs "stuck together".)

here, choices D/E are not sentences — they're fragments, with no main verb.
eliminate these.

choices A/B/C, on the other hand, ARE constructed as legitimate complete sentences.

.


PARALLELISM & COMMA __ING modifiers:

each of choices A/B/C puts different elements in parallel. these choices also construct the comma + __ing modifier differently.
to decide which version is correct, we'll need to appeal to common-sense meaning.

CHOICE A:
in this choice, the comma + __ing modifier has two parts (which are written in parallel): "displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless".
this modifier implies that BOTH of these __ing's modify "gives mouth sores to cattle" (the action of the preceding clause).
this is NONSENSE — it's clearly not possible for "displacing grasses and other cattle food" to be any sort of reasonable description or immediate consequence of the mouth sores.
eliminate.

CHOICE B:
this choice puts two actions in parallel: "gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food". also, comma + "rendering rangeland worthless" modifies "displaces grasses and other cattle food" (= the preceding action).
all of this MAKES SENSE!
• the parallel verbs are two DIFFERENT/SEPARATE things that leafy spurge does;
• "rendering rangeland worthless" is an IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCE of the displacement of food, and thus makes sense as a modifier of that action.
CORRECT ANSWER

CHOICE C:
this choice puts two modifiers in parallel: "having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food".
this is NONSENSE.
in this sentence, the parallel elements SHOULD be the TWO ADVERSE ACTIONS of leafy spurge:
• it gives mouth sores to cattle,
• it displaces cattle food.
these items are NONparallel here. instead, this choice uses a parallel structure to connect two items that just don't make any sense as "two bullet points".
eliminate.
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2018, 15:23
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Hello Everyone!

Here is another great sample GMAT question! Let's take a closer look at each option and see where we can narrow things down to find the right answer! First, here is the original sentence, with any major differences highlighted in orange:

About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

(A) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering
(B) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering
(C) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering
(D) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders
(E) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia that has milky sap giving mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering

There are a couple major differences we can see after a quick glance over the options:

1. have been invaded vs. having been invaded
2. parallel structure


Let's start with #1 on our list because it will eliminate either 2 or 3 options right off the bat: have been invaded vs. having been invaded.

If we read through each option and look for the complete sentence within it, we find a problem:

(A) About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.
(B) About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless.
(C) About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless.

Options A, B, & C are OK so far because there is a complete sentence somewhere in there, with just a few added phrases after it to add detail.

(D) About 5 million acres in the United States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders rangeland worthless.

This option is INCORRECT because, while you could argue there is a complete sentence here, it is vastly different than the intended meaning! The leafy spurge does all of these things, not the land itself!

(E) About 5 million acres in the United States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia that has milky sap giving mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless.

This option is INCORRECT because there is no other phrase here that has a verb to complete the rest of the sentence! Therefore, this is one very long sentence fragment!

We can eliminate answers D & E because using the phrase "having been invaded" creates either a sentence fragment or distorts the original meaning.

Now that we're left with options A, B, & C, let's tackle #3 on our list: parallel structure.

We know that leafy spurge does 3 things:
1. gives cattle mouth sores
2. displaces grass and other cattle food
3. renders rangeland worthless

In some options, all 3 items are listed as happening at the same time (A, B, and C). For those, all 3 items must use parallel structure.
In other options, only 2 items are listed, and #3 on the list happens as a result of #1 and #2 (A and B, causing C). In that case, only #1 and #2 on the list must be parallel.

Let's see how each option stacks up in terms of parallel structure:

(A) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering

This option is INCORRECT because the listed items don't use parallel structure. In this case, the sentence lists all 3 items as happening at the same time, so all 3 must be parallel!

(B) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering

This option is CORRECT! The two items (gives mouth sores / displaces grasses) use parallel format. The word "rendering" doesn't need to be parallel to the other two here because it is being used to indicate that #1 and #2 on the list lead to #3 happening, so it's okay to keep it the way it is.

(C) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering

This option is INCORRECT because the two items (gives / displacing) need to be in parallel format!

There you go! Option B is the correct answer because it uses parallel structure where needed, and includes a verb to make it a complete thought!


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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 23:56
Sentence Analysis
Here’s the sentence structure:

About 5 million acres (Main subject: ‘acres’)
in the United States (Prepositional phrase modifying the main subject)
have been invaded by leafy spurge, (Main Verb: have been invaded)
a herbaceous plant (A noun – technically, an appositive – modifying ‘leafy spurge’)
from Eurasia (Prepositional phrase modifying ‘plant’)
with milky sap (Prepositional phrase modifying ‘plant’)
that gives mouth sores to cattle, (relative clause modifying ‘plant’. Subject: that; Verb: gives)
displacing grasses and other cattle food (First Verb-ing modifier modifying the previous clause)
and rendering rangeland worthless. (Second Verb-ing modifier modifying the previous clause)
The main part of the sentence is that some land (about 5 million acres) in the US have been invaded by a plant (leafy spurge). The plant is from Eurasia and has milky sap. The plant gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle foods and (common sensibly) by doing so, renders rangeland worthless.

There are a couple of problems in the original sentence:

‘displacing grasses and other cattle food’ is presented as a verb-ing modifier modifying the preceding clause ‘that gives mouth sores to cattle’. However, the verb-ing modifier does not provide additional information about the clause. ‘Giving mouth sores to cattle’ is unrelated to (and independent of) ‘displacing grasses and other cattle food’.
The reference of ‘that’ is not very clear. While the clause ‘that gives mouth sores to cattle’ may make sense even if ‘that’ refers to milky sap, the verb-ing ‘displacing grasses…’ will not make sense in such a case since milky sap cannot displace grasses. Ideally, ‘that’ should clearly refer to ‘herbaceous plant’.
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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy &nbs [#permalink] 23 Aug 2018, 23:56

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