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

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17 Dec 2018, 06:25
daagh wrote:
@vanam

Quote:
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.

if i remove this bold underlined part considering it as non essential modifer,then sentence will read as:

About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

So i am stuck here:

the result of action of invasion is displacing and redering so makes sense.

Now displacing and rendering should make sense with the doer of the action "have been invaded"

so who is doer in this case?

Subject is 5 million acres but doer as pe rme is leafy sponge bcz it does action of invasion but doer is subject .Right?

So if doer is 5 million acres,then rendering dioesnot make sense but if doer is leafy sponge ,it does.So can u please clear me how to find doer?

And if i write sentence as:

Leafy spurge have invaded about 5 million acres in the United States , displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

This is correct?

bcz subject/doer is leafy sponge and it is displacing and rendering.Right?

Please clarify my doubt of doer in original sentence.

And yes i read in one of doubt clarification posts,

comm+verbing modifies nearest verb so modies gives here.Is it a rule?

1. In terms of overall sense, the doer, in this case, is the weed plant. However, the problem here is the passive voice sentence. Therefore, we have to go out of the box and fix the real doer. The five million acres of land is only a cover-up subject rather than real. I think you have that correctly.

2. It may be ok to mask the parenthesis temporarily for a clear understanding, but for the sake of structure, please do not remove the modifier while considering the previous clause.

3. Yes. Structurally, the verb+ing should modify the previous verb namely 'gives.'

Nevertheless, common sense (which is the Supreme Court) disqualifies it because it does not make sense.

The take away is that one should be worldly-wise and down-to-earth in the verbal section because isn't it verbal reasoning after all?
In the given case, it will be worthwhile to read Ninja's painstaking explanation as many times as one would need and put up the Golden Explanation given by Ron in a placard in one's bedroom so that one can see it as the last thing before going to bed and see it once again as the first thing in the morning when getting up.

daagh thankyou so much ,really appreciate all your help
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06 Jan 2019, 06:24
Hi,

One query.

In option-B, shouldnt ''that'' be repeated before the verb ''displaces'' to ensure parallelism?

(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
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13 Jan 2019, 05:14
In the original sentence with milky sap tends to modify Eurasia, Can we say this?
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17 Jan 2019, 22:13
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?

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.

GMATNinja... could you please explain the correct sentence or structure in which "Having been" would be correct. I understand it needs to be the first of two actions but i want to see how this same sentence would look like if we were to to use - Having been.
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19 Jan 2019, 23:11
raghavrf wrote:
In the original sentence with milky sap tends to modify Eurasia, Can we say this?

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

No, "milky sap" does not modify Eurasia.
Although a modifier should be as close to the noun as possible, if an essential modifier such as "from Eurasia" intervenes,
then the modifier (with) can "reach back" over the preposition to modify the noun.

The essential modifier "trumps" the non-essential one.
Further, the prepositional phrase cannot be placed elsewhere.

milky sap modifies a plant [from Eurasia]
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19 Feb 2019, 10:09
I have a question regarding the "milky sap" modifier here. In answer choice A, it seems like the milky sap is the one that causes mouth sores, but in answer choice B, the meaning changes and it is now the plant that causes the mouth sores. Because of this meaning choice I selected A, could someone briefly go over why my thought process was incorrect?
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10 Mar 2019, 18:13
Hiee , can anyone explain

In the correct ans B.

how we can use displaces as the verb to grasses ?

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10 Mar 2019, 20:13
Akshi123 wrote:
Hiee , can anyone explain

In the correct ans B.

how we can use displaces as the verb to grasses ?

Posted from my mobile device

Quote:
Correct answer B in the sentence
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.

Hi Akshi123 - welcome to GMAT Club!

displaces is not the verb for grasses
displaces is the verb for that
that is the relative pronoun for leafy splurge

displaces needs a direct object
displaces WHAT?
displaces grasses and other cattle food.

grasses and other cattle food are direct objects of the verb displaces

leafy splurge/that . . . displaces . . . and gives . . .

leafy splurge (singular) . . .
that (singular)
(1) gives mouth sores to cattle
and
(2) displaces grasses and other cattle food

. . . leafy splurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives [mouth sores to cattle] and displaces [grasses and other cattle food],
rendering rangeland worthless.

Hope that helps.
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10 Mar 2019, 20:59
Quote:
Correct answer B inserted into the sentence:

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.

NinetyFour wrote:
I have a question regarding the "milky sap" modifier here. In answer choice A, it seems like the milky sap is the one that causes mouth sores, but in answer choice B, the meaning changes and it is now the plant that causes the mouth sores. Because of this meaning choice I selected A, could someone briefly go over why my thought process was incorrect?

Hi NinetyFour , LordStark gave you an excellent head start.*

Are there parts of those posts that you do not understand?

Essential modifiers can never be removed from a sentence.

Non-essential modifiers can be removed from a sentence.

with milky sap is a non-essential modifier
(1) the phrase is set off by commas, and ONLY non-essential modifiers can be set off by commas.

(2) non-essential modifiers can be removed without changing the core meaning of the sentence

(3) remove the phrase. No kidding.
Take it and the commas out.
"With milky sap" is a prepositional phrase that adds some information.
It is set off by commas. If a modifier is set off by commas, it should be fair game for removal.**

We can also remove the other modifier set off by commas, a . . . plant from Eurasia.

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

Now we have

... leafy splurge ... that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless.

The guideline is: that-clauses almost always touch the noun that they modify. That guideline is not a hard-and-fast rule, as this official question demonstrates.

Sometimes a descriptive phrase such as "with milky sap" cannot be placed in another part of the sentence. In such cases, it is okay for there to be separation between the noun plant, and its relative pronoun that.

Takeaway: is the information set off by commas?
The commas signal that the modifier is not essential.
Remove the information and the comma(s). See what happens.

In this case, what happens is that the leafy splurge gives mouth sores and displaces grasses.

Hope that analysis helps.

*I think that LordStark was hinting that "with milky sap" does not matter a whole lot to the meaning of the sentence. That hint is correct.

**There are a few exceptions to the comma rule such as dates, which must always be set off by commas. Not to worry. GMAC does not test whether information such as a date is essential.

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10 Mar 2019, 23:29
1
generis wrote:
Manas1212 wrote:
Hi generis ,
Please let me know whether my analysis is correct.

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
that refers to milky sap suggesting that displacement is caused by milky sap rather by the plant.
How ever we can correctly infer that milky sap gives mouth sores to cattle.

(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

That correctly refers to leafy surge and suggests that it displaces the grass.

It would not be incorrect to assume that the plant causes the mouth sores in cattle.

For Ex: The sting of a particular mosquito causes malaria.
A particular type of mosquito causes malaria.

I believe both of them are correct.

Hence we have a reason to choose B over A.

Manas1212 , both of your examples are correct.

I think that you are suggesting that we should use logic to figure out
the most likely subject (and causal culprit);
in your examples, the logical culprit is a particular kind of mosquito,
and whether we add the "sting" does not change the causal logic.

In the prompt, the most likely culprit is some hideous plant called "leafy splurge."
What invaded the U.S.? Leafy splurge.
What is likely to be the cause of worthless rangeland? Whatever invaded the U.S.

If you are asking a different question or I have missed your point,
tag me again.
Nice work! +1

(And I just caught an error in my answers: I need to use splurge, the plant's name, not plant.
Plant is in the appositive.)

generis, Thank you for your response.. That's exactly what i meant.
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14 Apr 2019, 13:38
Hi Expert,

Option 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

I crossed out this option because I thought a 'that' was required before 'displaces' to have a 'that verb1 AND that verb2' parallelism. Of course in the hindsight I realise by POE , option B seems the 'best' option , but I would really appreciate your response on a 'that AND that'usage here.

Also in general is there any difference in meaning when we say -
1 - that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food
2 - that gives mouth sores to cattle and that displaces grasses and other cattle food

Essentially when do we use 'that AND that' parallelism.
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15 Apr 2019, 01:17
1
MartyTargetTestPrep wrote:
testprep11 wrote:
Hi Expert,

Option 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

I crossed out this option because I thought a 'that' was required before 'displaces' to have a 'that verb1 AND that verb2' parallelism. Of course in the hindsight I realise by POE , option B seems the 'best' option , but I would really appreciate your response on a 'that AND that'usage here.

Also in general is there any difference in meaning when we say -
1 - that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food
2 - that gives mouth sores to cattle and that displaces grasses and other cattle food

Essentially when do we use 'that AND that' parallelism.

In this case, the clause beginning with "that" is a relative clause that modifies "a herbaceous plant from Eurasia." This relative clause has a subject, "that," which clearly goes with the verbs "gives" and "displaces," just as the the noun "plant" does in the following clause. The plant gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses.

So, while repeating "that" would not make the sentence clearly incorrect, there is no need to repeat "that."

So, when do we have to repeat "that"? We have to repeat "that" when the meaning that we want to convey would not be effectively conveyed unless "that" were repeated.

Consider the following sentences.

I told John that I had seen a man peering into the windows of the building and that the man had been wearing a blue hat.

I told John that I had seen a man peering into the windows of the building, and the man had been wearing a blue hat.

These two sentences are pretty similar, but mean different things.

The first conveys that I told John two things, that I had seen a man and that the man had been wearing a blue hat.

The second contains only one "that," and so, it conveys that I told John one thing, that I had seen a man, and it conveys that, in addition to my telling John about the man, the man had been wearing a blue hat. Because the second "that" is not included, the sentence does not convey that I told John that the man was wearing a blue hat.

Either version is correct, but they convey different things. So, if you want to convey that I told John two things, you have to use "that" twice.

Overall, it helps to realize that analyzing parallel structures tends to be more about considering logic and effectiveness of expression than about checking to see whether a structure is constructed according to some rule.

Thanks a lot MartyTargetTestPrep .
Now I am at peace with the usage, which had been bugging me for quite some time
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24 Apr 2019, 01:09
saurabh9gupta wrote:
GMATNinja... could you please explain the correct sentence or structure in which "Having been" would be correct. I understand it needs to be the first of two actions but i want to see how this same sentence would look like if we were to to use - Having been.

Sorry for my horribly belated reply, saurabh9gupta!

There's a pretty long rant about "having + verb" constructions in this transcript from our old verbal chats. The essence is basically what you suggested above: "having + verb" basically has to indicate the first of two actions.

For example, we could say "Having been angry all morning, Charlie ate a third breakfast and subsequently behaved more reasonably." That's fine, since "having been angry" was an action that Charlie "performed" before he ate his third breakfast.

I don't think there's a ton of value in contorting the original sentence to make "having been" work. But I'll give it a shot with a stripped-down version of the sentence, anyway: "Having been invaded by leafy spurge, about 5 million acres in the United States became unpalatable to cattle." In this version, the 5 million acres were invaded by leafy spurge first, and became unpalatable to cattle later. Fair enough.

I hope this helps a bit!
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24 Apr 2019, 03:25
B is correct. 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.
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28 Apr 2019, 09:45
I have a doubt in this question.

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.

Isn't the quoted part a non-essential part of the sentence as it describes something on the spurge. Because if it is,then, the comma before and after the non essential can be erased with the non-essential modifier itself, giving rise to the following statement

About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

Where displacing is modifying spurge.

I also a a doubt that the non-essential is more than a phrase because of verb "gives" is present in it

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28 Apr 2019, 15:29
Panoj wrote:
I have a doubt in this question.

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.

Isn't the quoted part a non-essential part of the sentence as it describes something on the spurge. Because if it is,then, the comma before and after the non essential can be erased with the non-essential modifier itself, giving rise to the following statement

About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

Where displacing is modifying spurge.

There are a multiple ways of looking at that situation. One is that, while you can remove the modifier that you quoted, you should leave a comma between "spurge" and "displacing."

A second way to look at it is that "displacing grasses ..." is part of the nonessential modifier, and thus could be removed along with the part that you quoted.

A third is your way, which, to a degree, seems to make sense. However, the truth is that restrictively modifying "leafy spurge" with "displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless" creates an awkward sentence with a not entirely clear meaning.

Are we meant to understand that there are multiple types of leafy spurge and that this one type, the type that is displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless is the one invading?

Probably not.

The version created via the use of choice (B), on the other hand, conveys one clear, logical meaning.

Quote:
I also a a doubt that the non-essential is more than a phrase because of verb "gives" is present in it

The entire quoted portion is a noun phrase that serves as an appositive modifying "leafy spurge."

Within that noun phrase, is the relative clause "that gives mouth sores to cattle," which seems to modify the noun "sap."
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26 May 2019, 01:53
GMATNinja , egmat, RonPurewal

In case of comma + verb-ing modifier, Verb-ing modifier makes sense with the subject of the preceding clause, and it:
ii) Or presents the result of the preceding clause.
I agree that in choice A, 'displacing.. & rendering...' are not the results of preceding clause, but why they can't act as an additional information?
In a sentence "Tom killed the snake, using a stick", 'using a stick' acts as an additional information and makes sense with the subject (Tom killed snake by using a stick)
In same way, why it can't be "that (subject referring to plant) gives mouth sores to cattle by displacing grasses.....and rendering rangeland worthless (by starving the cattle)"
Is it that "that" in above sentence is not referring to plant, but acting as a modifier for plant?

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09 Jun 2019, 06:01
chetansptl wrote:
GMATNinja , egmat, RonPurewal

In case of comma + verb-ing modifier, Verb-ing modifier makes sense with the subject of the preceding clause, and it:
ii) Or presents the result of the preceding clause.
I agree that in choice A, 'displacing.. & rendering...' are not the results of preceding clause, but why they can't act as an additional information?
In a sentence "Tom killed the snake, using a stick", 'using a stick' acts as an additional information and makes sense with the subject (Tom killed snake by using a stick)
In same way, why it can't be "that (subject referring to plant) gives mouth sores to cattle by displacing grasses.....and rendering rangeland worthless (by starving the cattle)"
Is it that "that" in above sentence is not referring to plant, but acting as a modifier for plant?

The word "that" is indeed a noun modifier here (modifying "plant"). If it were instead a pronoun, we would have, "... a herbaceous plant a plant gives mouth sores", and obviously that wouldn't work.

Also, the plant doesn't give mouth sores to cattle BY rendering rangeland worthless. Sure, I guess we could come up with some bizarre story for how the loss of value eventually, indirectly causes mouth sores in cattle (the cows lose value, and then lose self-confidence, and then start nervously chewing their own mouths...?). But that would be a serious stretch, and the meaning in (B) is MUCH better.

For more on that, check out this post.
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09 Jun 2019, 15:24
egmat wrote:
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?

Hello sevenplusplus,

Let's take a look at the original sentence:

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.

(Blue = subject, Green = verb, Pink = comma + verb-ing modifiers)

Let's understand what the sentence intends to convey. The sentence states that in the US, some 5 million acres of land have been invaded leafy spurge. Describing the leafy spurge, the sentence states that it's a plant from Eurasia. It has milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle. This leafy spurge displaces grasses and other cattle food and renders rangeland worthless.

However, the way this sentence is worded, it suggests that because leafy spurge gives mouth sores to cattle, it displaces grasses and other cattle food and has rendered rangeland worthless.

We get this illogical meaning from the sentence because of the incorrect usage of the comma + verb-ing modifiers* displacing and rendering.

The comma + verb-ing modifier must modify the preceding action logically and must also make sense with the doer of the modified action.

In this official sentence, the comma + verb-ing modifiers displacing and rendering illogically modifies the preceding action gives by presenting the result of this action. Grasses and other cattle food are not displaced and rangeland are not rendered worthless because leafy spurge gives mouth sores to cattle.

This is the reason why Choice A is incorrect.

From the context of the sentence, we can understand that because leafy spurge displaces grasses and other cattle food, rangeland are rendered useless. So we do have this logical cause-and-effect in the sentence that must be communicated in correct grammar.

Let's evaluate Choice B now:

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.

This choice correctly conveys the logical intended meaning. 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.

*The correct usage of comma + verb-ing has been covered in great details and with pertinent examples in our SC course, In fact, this concept features in the Free Trail course offered by e-GMAT. You can register for free at e-gmat.com and review the concept.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

As per the meaning, can't milky sap give mouth sores to cattle?
Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2019, 15:24

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