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# Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause

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Manager
Joined: 23 Jun 2009
Posts: 180
Location: Brazil
GMAT 1: 470 Q30 V20
GMAT 2: 620 Q42 V33
Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

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04 Mar 2016, 07:26
1
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Question Stats:

0% (00:00) correct 0% (00:00) wrong based on 3 sessions

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Hello Everyone,

Recently, I got several wrong answers in hard SC questions; they were all involving Absolute Phrases.

I have always confused the usage of preposition versus the meaning keeping that I have sorted out somehow. But now, this "Absolute Phrases" made me feel like I know nothing.

See below a few examples from our beloved Gmatclub website.

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html

However, my question remains:

When do I consider a phrase without preposition and different meaning an "Absolute Phrase"?

If someone could refer a suitable material or, explain to me how to tackle this issue that would be great!

I hope this is also someone else's curiosity.
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4486
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

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04 Mar 2016, 14:01
1
2
felippemed wrote:
Hello Everyone,

Recently, I got several wrong answers in hard SC questions; they were all involving Absolute Phrases.

I have always confused the usage of preposition versus the meaning keeping that I have sorted out somehow. But now, this "Absolute Phrases" made me feel like I know nothing.

See below a few examples from our beloved Gmatclub website.

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html

However, my question remains:

When do I consider a phrase without preposition and different meaning an "Absolute Phrase"?

If someone could refer a suitable material or, explain to me how to tackle this issue that would be great!

I hope this is also someone else's curiosity.

Dear felippemed
I'm happy to respond! Yes, my friend, absolute phrases are tricky. Here's a blog I wrote, with two SC practice questions:
Absolute Phrases on the GMAT
Here's one of my friend Kevin's famous GMAT Tuesday videos, about absolute phrases:
GMAT Tuesdays with Kevin: Absolute Phrases
Here's another GMAT Tuesday about absolute vs. appositive phrases:
GMAT Tuesdays: Sentence Correction — Absolute vs Appositive Phrases
Those are a few resources. Of course, the MGMAT book on SC is also superb.

If you have any further question about the concept or about individual SC problems, please let me know!

Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Intern
Joined: 07 Jan 2013
Posts: 27
GMAT 1: 570 Q43 V26
GMAT 2: 610 Q47 V28
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

04 Mar 2016, 14:21
mikemcgarry wrote:
felippemed wrote:
Hello Everyone,

Recently, I got several wrong answers in hard SC questions; they were all involving Absolute Phrases.

I have always confused the usage of preposition versus the meaning keeping that I have sorted out somehow. But now, this "Absolute Phrases" made me feel like I know nothing.

See below a few examples from our beloved Gmatclub website.

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html

However, my question remains:

When do I consider a phrase without preposition and different meaning an "Absolute Phrase"?

If someone could refer a suitable material or, explain to me how to tackle this issue that would be great!

I hope this is also someone else's curiosity.

Dear felippemed
I'm happy to respond! Yes, my friend, absolute phrases are tricky. Here's a blog I wrote, with two SC practice questions:
Absolute Phrases on the GMAT
Here's one of my friend Kevin's famous GMAT Tuesday videos, about absolute phrases:
GMAT Tuesdays with Kevin: Absolute Phrases
Here's another GMAT Tuesday about absolute vs. appositive phrases:
GMAT Tuesdays: Sentence Correction — Absolute vs Appositive Phrases
Those are a few resources. Of course, the MGMAT book on SC is also superb.

If you have any further question about the concept or about individual SC problems, please let me know!

Mike

Hello Mike,

Can you help me with the below question?

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-142362.html

I'm finding it hard to understand why the below is not a full clause. How do I know that "thought to be" is not a verb?

its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom.

Thank you.
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4486
Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

04 Mar 2016, 14:33
1
1
kassim wrote:
Hello Mike,

Can you help me with the below question?

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-142362.html

I'm finding it hard to understand why the below is not a full clause. How do I know that "thought to be" is not a verb?

its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom.

Thank you.

Dear kassim,
I'm happy to respond.

The word "thought" could be the past tense or the past participle of the verb "to think." If it is past tense, then it would be active and the subject would have to be something capable to doing the thinking. That's clearly not the case here.

Because it is not used as a past tense form, it must be a past participle. A present or past participle NEVER acts as a verb by itself. A participle needs an auxiliary verb to act as a full verb:
is thought
has been thought

Those are full verb. Without the auxiliary verbs, a participle by itself can only be a modifier. Thus, "thought" has to be a noun modifier.

That means that this entire phrase is of the form [noun] + [noun modifier], which is the anatomy of an absolute phrase.
[its 60 square miles of water] [thought to be frozen from top to bottom]
Absolute phrases never appear in casual colloquial sources; they are slightly more frequent in sophisticated sources. That's why developing a habit of sophisticated reading is so important for SC success.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Intern
Joined: 07 Jan 2013
Posts: 27
GMAT 1: 570 Q43 V26
GMAT 2: 610 Q47 V28
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

04 Mar 2016, 14:41
mikemcgarry wrote:
kassim wrote:
Hello Mike,

Can you help me with the below question?

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-142362.html

I'm finding it hard to understand why the below is not a full clause. How do I know that "thought to be" is not a verb?

its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom.

Thank you.

Dear kassim,
I'm happy to respond.

The word "thought" could be the past tense or the past participle of the verb "to think." If it is past tense, then it would be active and the subject would have to be something capable to doing the thinking. That's clearly not the case here.

Because it is not used as a past tense form, it must be a past participle. A present or past participle NEVER acts as a verb by itself. A participle needs an auxiliary verb to act as a full verb:
is thought
has been thought

Those are full verb. Without the auxiliary verbs, a participle by itself can only be a modifier. Thus, "thought" has to be a noun modifier.

That means that this entire phrase is of the form [noun] + [noun modifier], which is the anatomy of an absolute phrase.
[its 60 square miles of water] [thought to be frozen from top to bottom]
Absolute phrases never appear in casual colloquial sources; they are slightly more frequent in sophisticated sources. That's why developing a habit of sophisticated reading is so important for SC success.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Yes it does.

Miles cannot think.

Manager
Joined: 23 Jun 2009
Posts: 180
Location: Brazil
GMAT 1: 470 Q30 V20
GMAT 2: 620 Q42 V33
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

05 Mar 2016, 05:33
mikemcgarry wrote:
kassim wrote:
Hello Mike,

Can you help me with the below question?

with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-142362.html

I'm finding it hard to understand why the below is not a full clause. How do I know that "thought to be" is not a verb?

its 60 square miles of water thought to be frozen from top to bottom.

Thank you.

Dear kassim,
I'm happy to respond.

The word "thought" could be the past tense or the past participle of the verb "to think." If it is past tense, then it would be active and the subject would have to be something capable to doing the thinking. That's clearly not the case here.

Because it is not used as a past tense form, it must be a past participle. A present or past participle NEVER acts as a verb by itself. A participle needs an auxiliary verb to act as a full verb:
is thought
has been thought

Those are full verb. Without the auxiliary verbs, a participle by itself can only be a modifier. Thus, "thought" has to be a noun modifier.

That means that this entire phrase is of the form [noun] + [noun modifier], which is the anatomy of an absolute phrase.
[its 60 square miles of water] [thought to be frozen from top to bottom]
Absolute phrases never appear in casual colloquial sources; they are slightly more frequent in sophisticated sources. That's why developing a habit of sophisticated reading is so important for SC success.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

You are amazing. Thank you very much for your incredible explanations.

Let me rephrase my question. Do you think that the Gmat test could test both lack of preposition or absolute/apposite phrase on the same underlined portion?

I say that because my strategy follows you videos from Magoosh (Yeah! I am an user of them too!), that suggests to go first for the low-hanging fruit. Then, the first checking is Prounouns, specially their lackage. This strategy leads me to eliminate the apposite phrases then,opting for the least worse option and then the disaster is set.

Do you think that the approach should be different?
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4486
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

06 Mar 2016, 11:26
1
felippemed wrote:
You are amazing. Thank you very much for your incredible explanations.

Let me rephrase my question. Do you think that the Gmat test could test both lack of preposition or absolute/apposite phrase on the same underlined portion?

I say that because my strategy follows you videos from Magoosh (Yeah! I am an user of them too!), that suggests to go first for the low-hanging fruit. Then, the first checking is Prounouns, specially their lackage. This strategy leads me to eliminate the apposite phrases then,opting for the least worse option and then the disaster is set.

Do you think that the approach should be different?

Dear felippemed,
I'm happy to respond.

Could the GMAT test a lack of preposition and absolute and appositive and everything else all in one underlined section? Of course! There is absolutely no combination of words or grammatical structures that the GMAT wouldn't test! The folks who write the GMAT specialize in handing us what we weren't expecting!

Yes, by all means eliminate low-hanging fruit, but have HIGH standards for what counts as "low-hanging fruit"! If something is an obvious mistake, then eliminate it, but always be suspicious that the GMAT is handing you some combination that you haven't seen before.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Manager
Joined: 23 Jun 2009
Posts: 180
Location: Brazil
GMAT 1: 470 Q30 V20
GMAT 2: 620 Q42 V33
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2016, 05:16
Thank you very very much Mike!

I hope that one day all the goodness come back to you as a payback for this wonderful donation!
Non-Human User
Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 3577
Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause  [#permalink]

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14 May 2018, 02:59
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Re: Absolute Phrase versus Run-on sentence versus Meaningless Clause &nbs [#permalink] 14 May 2018, 02:59
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