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

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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


The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2018
Practice Question
Sentence Correction
Question No.: 751

https://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/09/science/rootin-shootin-raiders-conquer-native-ground.html

LEAFY SPURGE. About five million acres in 26 states, including New York, have been invaded by leafy spurge, an herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering range land worthless. Ranchers tried putting sheep on spurge-infested range. Although they eat the plant, they do not kill it and there is not enough of a market for sheep wool and meat. So about 13 insects have been imported to help control it. Dr. Neal Spencer, an entomologist at a Department of Agriculture research laboratory in Sidney, Mont., said flea beetles had been most effective. The adult beetles feed on the leaves and their larvae mine the roots.

Leafy Spurge

(A) Modifier / Meaning (displacing)

(B) CORRECT

(C) Modifier (displacing)

(D) Subject-Verb / Meaning (displaces, renders)

(E) Structure; Parallelism (X and Y)


First glance

The opening split is between States have been and States, having been. In the former, the verb is in main-verb form; in the latter, the verb form is a modifier. Examine sentence structure and modifiers.

Issues

(1) Modifier / Meaning: displacing
Structure; Parallelism: X and Y


First, a warning: This is an extremely difficult problem. If you were able to eliminate a couple of answer choices before you guessed, you can feel good about this problem.

The underlined portion consists of a series of modifiers. The original sentence contains a pair of parallel comma –ing modifiers: displacing … and rendering. These should modify the main action of the clause to which they are attached—in this case, the sap that gives mouth sores to cattle. The fact, however, that the plant’s sap … gives mouth sores to cattle is not what displaces grasses and other cattle food. Rather, this plant is invasive—it grows everywhere and takes over. That is why it has displaced other grasses. Eliminate choice (A) for faulty modifier meaning.

Choices (C) and (E) also use the –ing word displacing so check them for similar issues.

Answer (C) uses the parallel structure having … and displacing. The having portion disguises the later issue; remove it and look at just the second part of the parallel structure:

(C) a plant from Eurasia … displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless

The first –ing form, displacing, is no longer preceded by a comma, so it is a noun modifier in this sentence. That part might be okay. The word rendering, though, is still a comma –ing, so it still needs to refer to a clause. Displacing is not a verb, though; it’s a modifier. To what clause is the rendering modifier referring? The main clause says that 5 million acres have been invaded by leafy spurge; it could be acceptable to say that this is what rendered the rangeland worthless, though the modifier is awfully far from the clause to which it refers. Typically, modifiers should be placed close enough to what they’re modifying that you don’t have to think so hard about it.

Compare this to choice (B): in that choice, the spurge displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering rangeland worthless. This structure is much more specific and clear: if you get lose grasses and cattle food, then rangeland (meant to feed cattle) definitely does lose its value. Eliminate choice (C) for an ambiguous comma –ing modifier.

Answer (E) has two issues jumbled together. First, and displacing needs some other parallel word to match before the and. There are two possible –ing words (having or giving), but this highlights an even bigger issue: where is the main verb for the subject 5 million acres? Having is not a main verb, nor is giving, displacing, or rendering. Has milky sap describes the plant, not the 5 million acres. There is no main verb for the main subject of the sentence. Eliminate choice (E) because it is a sentence fragment.

(2) Subject-Verb / Meaning: displaces, renders

The issues described above for choice (E) may help you to spot the error in choice (D). What is the main verb for 5 million acres in this choice? The only verbs that could qualify are displaces and renders, but these are both singular verbs, while the subject 5 million acres is plural. Eliminate choice (D) for faulty subject-verb agreement.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (B) fixes the modifier issues in other choices by having the comma –ing modifier rendering … refer to the clause that … displaces grasses and other cattle food. Gives and displaces are properly parallel.

The with milky sap phrase seems very odd. On hard questions, it’s not uncommon for there to be an element that seems wrong or sounds funny; the test writers are trying to give you a reason to cross off the correct answer.

As mentioned earlier, this is an extremely difficult problem. If you were able to eliminate some choices, particularly (D) and (E), before you guessed, you can feel good about this problem even if you did not guess correctly. Just be careful not to spend too much time on a problem like this one; guess and move on.

Originally posted by AbdurRakib on 13 Jun 2017, 12:25.
Last edited by Bunuel on 04 Dec 2018, 09:18, edited 7 times in total.
Edited the question.
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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 14 Jun 2017, 10:01
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sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?



Hello sevenplusplus,

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

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. :-)
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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 13 Jun 2017, 16:13
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sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?

I am not an expert, but the way I understood the question is "leafy spurge" has 2 negative effects - it gives mouth sores to cattle and also displaces grasses and other cattle food. As far as I understand in option A the intended meaning is that it gives mouth sores to cattle and, by doing that, displaces grasses and other cattle food.
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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 13 Jun 2017, 13:35
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could anyone explain how A is wrong?
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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 13 Jun 2017, 13:49
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My line of thoughts:
a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle
appositive for leafy spurge.

The sentence, after removing above appositive is correct:
About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.
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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 13 Jun 2017, 14:20
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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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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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Vardan95 wrote:
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?

I am not an expert, but the way I understood the question is "leafy spurge" has 2 negative effects - it gives mouth sores to cattle and also displaces grasses and other cattle food. As far as I understand in option A the intended meaning is that it gives mouth sores to cattle and, by doing that, displaces grasses and other cattle food.


Thanks for your reply, @Verdan95. I, still, feel like "displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless." modifies "leafy spurge".
If you remove the appositive in red below, the sentence read correctly to me.
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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Re: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2017, 06:07
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The question checks the meaning and parallelism.

Parallel elements are
gives mouth sores to cattle
displacing grasses and other cattle food and
rendering

Here the leaf spurge performs two actions
gives mouth sores to cattle
displace grasses and other cattle food

The effect of the second action(displace grasses and other cattle food) causes the third rendering rangeland worthless.


So rendering rangeland worthless is a modifier, not an action
So B is the correct option
The other option either considers three parallel elements or causes meaning ambiguity
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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 14 Jun 2017, 10:43
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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. :-)
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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 14 Jun 2017, 10:49
egmat wrote:
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?



Hello sevenplusplus,

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

Let's take a look at the original sentence:

About 5 million acres in the United [u]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.[/u]

(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.
Shraddha


Hi Shraddha

I read another related post on this from you:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verb-ing-mod ... 35567.html

Does this mean that A without comma before verb + ing phrase would have been correct?

About 5 million acres in the United [u]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.[/u]

in other words, in the above sentense, would "displacing" modify the preceding noun (cattle) or "leafy splurge"? would this sentence be correct?
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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 14 Jun 2017, 19:07
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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.
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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 14 Jun 2017, 20:31
egmat wrote:
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?



Hello sevenplusplus,

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

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)


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.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Excellent explanation, Shraddha. I have a couple of doubts though. I am truncating part of your solution
to lay stress on my doubts.
For choice A, there is no coma before rendering. How did you assume both rendering and displacing as coma + verb-ing modifier
when in fact coma is present only before displacing. Do you assume this because of parallelism?
Also want to understand if my noun + noun modifier is correct in option B: a herbaceous plant (noun) from euracia (noun modfier due to presence of from) modifies
leafy spurge - a noun. Also let me know of you omit phrases between coma to understand meaning better. There are just two many (comas) to complicate things in option B
WR,
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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 14 Jun 2017, 22:40
RaguramanS wrote:
The question checks the meaning and parallelism.

Parallel elements are
gives mouth sores to cattle
displacing grasses and other cattle food and
rendering

Here the leaf spurge performs two actions
gives mouth sores to cattle
displace grasses and other cattle food

The effect of the second action(displace grasses and other cattle food) causes the third [i]rendering rangeland worthless.

Hi RaguramanS, this is a very good analysis. The key to this question is to understand that mouth sores to cattle have nothing to do with displacing of grasses.

In fact, parallelism with participial phrases is a very commonly tested concept on GMAT and is totally about understanding the intended meaning of the sentence.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Parallelism with participial phrases, its application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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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 15 Jun 2017, 11:12
sevenplusplus wrote:
Hi Shraddha

I read another related post on this from you:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verb-ing-mod ... 35567.html

Does this mean that A without comma before verb + ing phrase would have been 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.

in other words, in the above sentense, would "displacing" modify the preceding noun (cattle) or "leafy splurge"? would this sentence be correct?



Hello sevenplusplus,


Thank you for the query. :)


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

No, the above-mentioned sentence is not correct because in this one, the verb-ing modifier displacing now modifier the preceding noun cattle.


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 16 Jun 2017, 06:03
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adkikani wrote:

Excellent explanation, Shraddha. I have a couple of doubts though. I am truncating part of your solution
to lay stress on my doubts.
For choice A, there is no coma before rendering. How did you assume both rendering and displacing as coma + verb-ing modifier
when in fact coma is present only before displacing. Do you assume this because of parallelism?
Also want to understand if my noun + noun modifier is correct in option B: a herbaceous plant (noun) from euracia (noun modfier due to presence of from) modifies
leafy spurge - a noun. Also let me know of you omit phrases between coma to understand meaning better. There are just two many (comas) to complicate things in option B
WR,
Arpit


Can verbal expert please comment on this?



Hello adkikani,


Thank you for the query. :-)


Whenever two comma + verb-ing modifiers make a parallel list, the comma appears only before the first verb-ing modifier. This is a common usage across the GMAT SC section.

And yes, the connector and between displacing... and rendering... is the indicator that since they are part of a list and since displacing... is preceded by a comma, hence rendering... is also a comma + verb-ing modifier.


The phrase a herbaceous plant from Eurasia is not a Noun + Noun Modifier because a prepositional phrase is not exclusively a noun modifier. It modifies either a noun or an action, depending on the context of the sentence.

But yes, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia is a noun phrase that modifies the preceding noun leafy spurge. Again usage of noun phrases to describe a noun entity is common on GMAT SC.

Let's take a look at 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.

So Arpit, just treat these commas as a pause points to read and understand the sentence better. Of course, the comma before rendering... defines the role of this entity in the sentence. But the other commas are really the pause points so that you can relate all the information properly to understand what the author wants to convey.


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 11 Jul 2017, 15:15
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?!

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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 12 Nov 2017, 09:23
egmat wrote:
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?



Hello sevenplusplus,

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

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.
Shraddha


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.

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New post 22 Nov 2017, 22:56
egmat wrote:
sevenplusplus wrote:
could anyone explain how A is wrong?





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,
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New post 19 Dec 2017, 06:19
Is the use of 'having been' always incorrect? If not, where all can we use it ?
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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 20 Dec 2017, 10:47
RashmiT wrote:
Is the use of 'having been' always incorrect? If not, where all can we use it ?

Nope, it's not always incorrect, though you don't see it in correct answers all that often.

Here's a snippet from one of our old chat transcripts on this topic. Full transcript is available here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-chat- ... l#p1869642

Quote:
Q: Can you provide an explanation on the usage of 'having + verb'

A: The quick version is that ""having + verb" ("having been", "having studied," "having eaten," etc.) is sort-of just another "-ing" modifier, but the timeline has to be correct.
Just like any other "-ing" modifier, it has to make sense with the noun it modifies. But the added twist is that the timeline has to make sense, too. The "having + -ing" has to occur before some other action. Sort of like past perfect tense.

1) Having been sick all day today, Amber called in sick to work this morning. --> Here’s the problem: the timeline is wrong in #1. The "having + verb" needs to be the first action, followed by another action. That’s not happening here. Logically, she wasn’t sick "all day today" before she called in sick this morning.

2) Having eaten dinner already, Amber immediately began drinking heavily at the dinner party. --> This one actually gets the timeline right. She ate dinner first, and then started drinking at the dinner party. That’s perfectly fine logically.

To be honest, I can’t think of any official questions that use this "having + verb" construction in a correct answer. It’s not inherently wrong, but GMAT doesn’t seem to use it much. In that sense, it’s sort of like "being" -- mostly used in wrong sentences, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be used correctly.


I hope this helps!
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