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

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13 Jun 2019, 19:05
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?

Generally, a COMMA + VERBing modifier should refer to the agent of the NEAREST PRECEDING ACTION.
A: milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses
Here, COMMA + displacing seems to refer to milky sap -- the agent of gives (the nearest preceding action) -- implying that MILKY SAP is DISPLACING grasses.
This meaning is nonsensical.
The intended meaning is that LEAFY SPURGE is displacing grasses.
Eliminate A.

Generally, a VERBing modifier serves to express a TEMPORARY action that is performed concurrently with the main action.
C: a herbaceous plant...having milky sap
Here, the usage of having implies that a herbaceous plant is only TEMPORARILY having milky sap.
Not so.
The presence of milky sap is not a temporary event but a GENERAL TRUTH about the herbaceous plant.
Eliminate C.

In D and E, about 5 million acres (subject) lacks a verb.
The result is an incomplete sentence.
Eliminate D and E.

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02 Jul 2019, 01:30
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.

How I reached to B. Simple:

Ans 1:Having been ( GMAT never prefer this so D and E out)
Ans 2:use of that in A and C refer to milky sap which is wrong. It should refer to leafy spurge.

(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

WRONG : look at Ans.2 explanation

(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

WRONG : look at Ans.2 explanation

(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

WRONG : look at Ans.1 explanation

(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

WRONG : look at Ans.1 explanation
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Updated on: 30 Oct 2019, 05:47
Dear experts GMATNinja daagh generis, I read the discussion here, but I still have a question about the modification in option (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.

Let's simplify the sentence:

About 5 million acres [...] have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant [blah-blah] that gives [blah], displacing grasses and [...] food and rendering rangeland worthless.

The V+ing part displacing + rendering makes sense to me as it modifies the main clause that says that land has been invaded by leafy spurge. The V+ing modifier describes how the spurge was invading the 5M acres. Is not it?

What am I missing? Thank you in advance.

UPDATE

I looked at the questions with the fresh eyes and a cup of espresso and figured that meaning-wise the modifier that starts with displacing ... is wrong in option (A).

Originally posted by mykrasovski on 25 Oct 2019, 06:27.
Last edited by mykrasovski on 30 Oct 2019, 05:47, edited 3 times in total.
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26 Oct 2019, 08:25
Question:

"that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering"

I thought there is a parallellism issue with this sentence, ultimately I wanted to see something like "that gives and that displaces"
Doesn't that have to be the case?

I've seen splits either way, is the use of two 'that's' only necessary if the once outside form would be ambigous?

Any help is appreciated!
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12 Nov 2019, 10:09
hellosanthosh2k2 wrote:
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.

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.

Thanks

You are right by saying that "with milky sap" refers to "leafy spurge". Actually the noun "leafy spurge" has two modifiers, which are "a herbaceous plant from Eurasia" and "with milky sap". These two modifiers are separated by commas for the sake of easier read. Thus we should by no means discard (B) because of those "extra" commas

Hope it helps.
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12 Nov 2019, 10:41
chrtpmdr wrote:
Question:

"that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering"

I thought there is a parallellism issue with this sentence, ultimately I wanted to see something like "that gives and that displaces"
Doesn't that have to be the case?

I've seen splits either way, is the use of two 'that's' only necessary if the once outside form would be ambigous?

Any help is appreciated!

We only need one "that" as a relative pronoun to begin a surbodinate clause. In such a case, "that" is the subject of the clause.
In the question, the subject "that" has two paralleled verbs, which are "gives" and "displaces".

On the other hand, we can use several "that" in a sentence in case it is a subordinate conjunction. "That" as a subordinate conjunction marks the beginning of a dependent clause. The dependent clause would have a full S + V structure. We can have several dependent clauses, each begins with "that". For ex:
It is a common belief that there is no middle ground when you play the game of thrones, and that you will either win or die.

I hope it helps.

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30 Nov 2019, 16:40
chrtpmdr wrote:
Question:

"that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering"

I thought there is a parallellism issue with this sentence, ultimately I wanted to see something like "that gives and that displaces"
Doesn't that have to be the case?

I've seen splits either way, is the use of two 'that's' only necessary if the once outside form would be ambigous?

Any help is appreciated!

Good question! Your understanding about how parallelism works isn't quite correct. It's true that "and" must connect like forms, but which two forms will be determined by context. Generally, the best place to start is immediately after the word "and."

Think of it this way: when you were evaluating (B), you didn't necessarily know that you were looking for a parallel construction until you came across this phrase: "...and displaces grasses..." Once you notice that the element following "and" is a verb, you'll want to go backwards to locate another verb that can be connected to "displaces."

So then we see "a herbaceous plant from Eurasia... that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses..." The verbs "gives" and "displaces" are grammatically parallel, as they're both performing the same function. So far so good.

Next, you'd ask yourself if the two elements are logically parallel. Does it make sense to say that the "herbaceous plant" 1) gives mouth sores to cattle and 2) displaces grasses? Unfortunately for the cattle and grass, it does make sense, so we have correct parallelism, and you can move on to other elements of the sentence.

Put another way, your job isn't to ask yourself what should be parallel - there are lots of ways a sentence can have parallel elements! - but instead, you want to evaluate what is parallel and then determine whether the construction is logical.

For much more on parallelism and meaning, check out this video.

I hope that helps!
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25 May 2020, 13:24
AbdurRakib wrote:
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 question can be addressed with meaning: it should be the plant (leafy spurge) that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses, and eventually making the rangeland worthless.

So A, C, D are out, given the "that gives mouth sores..." modifier illogically modifies the sap instead of the plant.

Now between B and E, E lack the main verb. The entire sentence becomes "About 5 million acres,..., a plant..., rendering....".

So B is correc the answer.

A good way to tell how multiple elements should be organized in a parallel structure is to understand their logical connection. In this case, 'give mouth sores" and "displace grasses" are parallel given they both provide an example of the plant's physical impacts. "Render rangeland worthless", on the other hand, is more like a result caused by previous 2 elements. So the structure should be "sb/sth gives... and displaces..., rendering..."
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31 May 2020, 05:51
I think pretty simple and got this correct in merely 30 seconds.
we have a leafy splurge and milky sap. Gmat allows that to refer to both mily sap and LS.

i do not know the that refers to which one. That is why i choose B. By putting coma. That refers to ls.

The second one is gives mouth sores, how does mouth sores affect rendering wasteland worthless. Well it could happen, but i may think extra hard to make that logical connection and gmat makes the question to last only 1 minute + per question. With this consideration in mind, i choose B

Posted from my mobile device
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14 Jun 2020, 01:14
I think this question requires a deep knowledge in plant to answer this question correctly.

How do we know who is displacing the grassess? leafy spurge or the a plant?
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17 Jun 2020, 01:34
[quote="AbdurRakib"]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

whenever you see comma+doing, we have to realize the main verb this phrase modify and justify whether this modification of subordination is logical. this skill to sove SC is the skill to write.
apply this skill to choice A and choice C
choice A
displacing and rendering can not be in logical meaning relation with "that give mouth sores" which is the main clause of displacing and rendering. choice A is wrong
choice C
'comma+doing "here is " comma+rendering". we can not find main verb for this phrase. choice c is wrong.

if we see "no comma+doing" , then we have to find the preceding noun which is headword of this phrase and justify whether this modification is logical. this case is more easy
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29 Jun 2020, 07:26
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 ...

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Hello sobby,

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.

I'm still confused on this one because of 2 points -
1) that mostly defines/explains the word just before it.
2) also, one cannot use that in commas as it would render that as non-essential modifier.

If I look at the spoiler (Nytimes article) there are no commas there and hence it clearly defines what purpose of that is and hence the correct parallelism
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29 Jun 2020, 08:56
shubhampathak1sp wrote:
I'm still confused on this one because of 2 points -
1) that mostly defines/explains the word just before it.

Hi Shubham, that is considerably flexible in terms of what it modifies.

For example, in the following correct answer choice:

Marconi conceived of the radio as a tool for private conversation that could substitute for the telephone; instead, it has become precisely the opposite, a tool for communicating with a large, public audience.

that modifies considerably far-away noun tool. In fact, there are numerous such examples in official questions.

Quote:
2) also, one cannot use that in commas as it would render that as non-essential modifier.

with milky sap is a non-essential modifier. How do we know? Well, because it is delimited by commas on both sides.

So, the core of the sentence (without the non-essential modifier) is:

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.

So, the core sentence is:

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

Notice that now, there is no comma before that.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses modifier issues of "that", their application and examples in significant detail. If you or someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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01 Aug 2020, 09:54
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.

How can a plant displace cattle food and grass?

Srikar
Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy   [#permalink] 01 Aug 2020, 09:54

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