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# Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a

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WhyabloodyMBA wrote:
Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

(A) Based on accounts of various ancient writers
(B) Basing it on various ancient writers’ accounts
(C) With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis
(D) By the accounts of various ancient writers they used
(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers

here modifier should modify 'scholars'... if you re write and put modifier after the 'scholars' in between commas also should make sense ..
letme try this way

scholars,Based on accounts of various ancient writers, have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess

or try other options ..

scholars,Using accounts of various ancient writers, have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess

see which one makes more sense? obviously the second one right? I think in this kind of situation, look for sensible meaning.

Scholars are using some thing to paint a sketch ..

IMO E.
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Dear Friends,

Here is a detailed explanation to this question-
kman wrote:
Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century BC, worshipped a goddess known as Bona Dea, "the good goddess".

(A) Based on accounts of various ancient writers

(B) Basing it on various ancient writers' accounts

(C) With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis

(D) By the account of various ancient writers they used

(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers

Meaning is crucial to solving this problem:
Understanding the intended meaning is key to solving this question; the intended core meaning of this sentence is that by using accounts of various ancient writers scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that worshipped a goddess known as Bona Dea.

Concepts tested here: Meaning + Modifiers + Pronouns + Awkwardness/Redundancy

• In a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun; this is one of the most frequently tested concepts on GMAT sentence correction.

A: This answer choice incorrectly uses the phrase "Based on accounts of various ancient writers" to modify the noun "scholars", illogically implying that the scholars were based on accounts of various ancient writers; the intended meaning is that the scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to paint a picture of the cult's activities; remember, in a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun.

B: This answer choice suffers from a pronoun error, as the pronoun "it" lacks a clear and logical referent. Further, Option B uses the needlessly wordy phrase "Basing it on", leading to awkwardness and redundancy.

C: This answer choice uses the needlessly indirect and wordy phrase "With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis", leading to awkwardness and redundancy.

D: This answer choice incorrectly uses the phrase "By the accounts of various ancient writers they used" to modify the noun "scholars", leading to an incoherent meaning; the intended meaning is that the scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to paint a picture of the cult's activities; remember, in a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun.

E: Correct. This answer choice correctly uses "Using accounts of various ancient writers" to modify "scholars", conveying the intended meaning - that the scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to paint a picture of the cult's activities. Further, Option E avoids the pronoun error seen in Option B, as it uses no pronouns. Additionally, Option E is free of any awkwardness or redundancy.

Hence, E is the best answer choice.

To understand the concept of "Phrase Comma Subject" and "Subject Comma Phrase" on GMAT, you may want to watch the following video (~2 minutes):

All the best!
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WhyabloodyMBA wrote:
Based on the growth rates of large modern reptiles such as the Galapagos tortoise and examinations of fossils of juvenile dinosaurs, scientists estimate that the largest dinosaurs probably lived to be between 100 and 200 years old.

(A) Based on the growth rates of large modern reptiles such as
(B) On the basis of growth rates of large modern reptiles such as
(C) Based on the growth rates of large modern reptiles like
(D) On the basis of growth rates of large modern reptiles, like those of
(E) Based on such growth rates as those of large modern reptiles like

same logic for this question as well..

'like' vs 'such as' .. here 'such as' wins because the sentence is listing examples.

scientists ,On the basis of growth rates of large modern reptiles such as the Galapagos tortoise and examinations of fossils of juvenile dinosaurs , estimate that the largest dinosaurs probably lived to be between 100 and 200 years old.

makes more sense.

A, C and E are wrong for using 'based '. scientists didn't base some thing to estimate. they estimate something on the basis of growth rates ..

IMO B.
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Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C., worshipped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

(A) Based on accounts of various ancient writers,
(B) Basing it on various ancient writers’ accounts,
(C) With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis,
(D) By the accounts of various ancient writers they used,
(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers,

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will not talk about how I've eliminated options B, C, and D, as I believe it is a straight forward process and does not warrant a discussion.

That leaves me with option A and E. Both seem to be correct grammatically and therefore it boils down to meaning.

This is where I find it hard to digest the explanation that OG gives in its answers.

Using the accounts of - to my understanding - implies that the accounts were used to sketch. And this means that the sketches of the goddesses were precise. But this is not true.

When one uses Based on the accounts of, it still leaves the possibility that the 'actual sketch' of the goddess may be different from the one sketched based on the accounts.

I might be thinking about this too far, but I do feel that the logic using both seems OK.

We also see the usage of 'Based on' for similar constructions in our day-to-day lives (e.g. Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion), so why exactly does OG state the modifier as non-sensical? Am I missing something here?

Kind regards,

Vikas
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[A]: Who is based on the accounts of the scholars? The story can be, but not the scholars themselves. Incorrect usage of the modifier.
[B]: Awkward and wordy, and there is a pronoun reference issue. Incorrect.
[C]: Awkward and wordy and it implies that the activity of using the accounts as the basis and the scholars' actions are separate, whereas they are not. Incorrect.
[D]: 'By the accounts' implies that the scholars' activities were part of the accounts, which is wrong.
[E]: Correct. Uses the modifier correctly (the scholars used the accounts), and is concise as well.

Clear E.
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"Based" must be used with things not people or persons.

Non-modified
The book written by a professor from Toronto about an sixth century B.C all-female cult was based on accounts of various ancient writers.

Modified
Based on accounts of various ancient writers, the book about a sixth century B.C all-female cult was written by a professor from Toronto.

In the modified sentence, "based on ..." is properly modify "the book"
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The difference is a matter of what you're describing. E is not better because it is shorter -- it's because it is more accurate.

"Using" -- refers to "Scholars". "Scholars' is a noun, and the "using" phrase describes what they used.

"Based on accounts of X people" --- now, this should be referring to a noun that reflects the accounts of those X people. In other words, "the paintings by scholars".

"Based on accounts of X writers", the "stories/paintings" of King Henry....blah blah blah

It is the "stories/paintings" that were based on the accounts of some writers. NOT that "scholars" were based on the accounts of some writers. Catch that little nuance and you'll see the difference for this question.

Remember, train your mind to understand the structure of the question -- this is all about frameworks which is what we teach at gmatpill.
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a [#permalink]
Tough call between A and E, rest can be easily eliminated. ( B, basing it is incorrect, C. with accounts also doesn't sound right and D. by the accounts is definitely wrong).

I would go with E as "the scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that worshipped a goddess, using accounts of various writers" sounds better.

Based on accounts seems to be more of an eyewitness narration than the act of painting a sketchy picture of activities.

Please correct me experts if my reasons are totally wrong!

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Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century BC, worshipped a goddess known as Bona Dea, "the good goddess".

(A) Based on accounts of various ancient writers - incorrect. The phrase "Based on accounts of various ancient writers" incorrectly modifies "scholars".
(B) Basing it on various ancient writers' accounts - incorrect. "it" does not have an antecedent.
(C) With accounts of various ancient writers used for a basis - wordy
(D) By the account of various ancient writers they used - wordy. Moreover, "account" should be plural; not sure whether this error is just a typo.
(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers - correct.
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a [#permalink]
Out of following two which one is correct.

1-Based on 25 years of research in the field, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

2-Depending on 25 years of research in the field, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

I feel first one is incorrect as "based on....." modifies the doctor...which is incorrect as Doctor is not based on 25 years of research.
and i am not sure about the 2nd one.

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GmatBawse wrote:
Tough call between A and E, rest can be easily eliminated. ( B, basing it is incorrect, C. with accounts also doesn't sound right and D. by the accounts is definitely wrong).

I would go with E as "the scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that worshipped a goddess, using accounts of various writers" sounds better.

Based on accounts seems to be more of an eyewitness narration than the act of painting a sketchy picture of activities.

Please correct me experts if my reasons are totally wrong!

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Hello GmatBawse,

Whenever a sentence starts with a verb-ed or a verb-ing modifier, the action denoted by these modifiers must make sense with the subject of the main clause.

Let's now apply this rule to the official sentence at hand.

Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century BC, worshipped a goddess known as Bona Dea, "the good goddess".

The question we ask here is that are the scholars based on accounts of various ancient writers? Most definitely not. Hence, usage of the opening verb-ed modifier is incorrect because it fails to make sense with the subject scholars.

Now let's check the usage of the verb-ing modifier using accounts of various ancient writers in Choice E.

The question we ask here is that did the scholars use the accounts of various ancient writers? Yes, indeed. That's the correct usage of the verb-ing modifier in the context of this sentence. Hence, Choice E is the correct answer.

This is the way to check the correctness of the opening verb-ed and verb-ing modifiers in a sentence.

The correct usage of both these modifiers have been explained in super details with ample examples in our SC course. In fact, the concept dealing with Verb-ing Modifier is part of our Free Trail Course. You can register at e-gmat.com and review the same.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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abhineetmanu wrote:
Out of following two which one is correct.

1-Based on 25 years of research in the field, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

2-Depending on 25 years of research in the field, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

I feel first one is incorrect as "based on....." modifies the doctor...which is incorrect as Doctor is not based on 25 years of research.
and i am not sure about the 2nd one.

Hello abhineetmanu,

1-Based on 25 years of research in the field, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

Indeed, this sentence is incorrect. The doctor is not based on 25 years of research. So yes, your analysis about this sentence is correct.

2-Depending on 25 years of research in the field, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

IMHO, this sentence is also incorrect because the meaning conveyed by the modifier does not fit logically in the context of the sentence. Does the sentence intend to say that because the doctor depended on 25 years of research, he had a hunch or the doctor depended on 25 years of research to arrive at the hunch? The sentence does not convey clear meaning.

Let's alter the wording of this sentence a bit.

2- Possessing great expertise in the field of chemistry, the doctor had a hunch that the new medicine would be successful.

In the above-mentioned sentence, the opening modifier correctly modifies the subject doctor by suggesting that the doctor possessed great expertise in the field of chemistry.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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GMATNinja , So the following sentence is wrong :
''Based on the evidence, the jury reached a verdict."

Will it be correct to say, "Using the evidence, the jury reached a verdict"?
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rma

"Using the evidence, the jury reached a verdict ---- is correct.
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daagh wrote:
rma

"Using the evidence, the jury reached a verdict ---- is correct.

Thanks! So we can always use the word "using" in such cases??

if I write ''Basing on accounts of various ancient writers'' , will it be correct? Why or why not?
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rma26 wrote:
daagh wrote:
rma

"Using the evidence, the jury reached a verdict ---- is correct.

Thanks! So we can always use the word "using" in such cases??

if I write ''Basing on accounts of various ancient writers'' , will it be correct? Why or why not?

As long as the phrase "using ____" makes sense with the noun that follows, then "using" is no problem. So the sentence "using the evidence, the jury reached a verdict" is fine, since makes sense that the jury uses the evidence.

This, however, would be wrong: ''Basing on accounts of various ancient writers, young Athenian women wove a new woolen robe each year.'' First of all, the young Athenian women aren't performing the action "basing." Second, I think you'd need some sort of object here: what, exactly, is based on the accounts of various ancient writers?

Something like this would be acceptable: "Basing their conclusions on the accounts of various ancient writers, scholars determined that young Athenian women really liked baklava." The scholars perform the action "basing", and it's clear that the scholars' conclusions are based on the accounts of the various ancient writers.

For more, feel free to check out our posts on "-ing" and "-ed" words.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a [#permalink]
GMATNinja : Upcoming is a strange problem you may have never heard of . I disregarded E for an assumed meaning error. This is a problem i face with many questions wherein I see strange meaning in few correct answer choices. For instance, here I striked off E thinking that it says, "Using bank accounts of various ancient writers, Scholars have painted a sketchy picture. There existed an obvious meaning error in this option until I realized (only after marking the wrong answer) that bank was my own hypothetical addition.

How do I get rid of such wishful thinking which makes me assume such strange elements(like bank accounts in this case) to answer choices? I know it sounds funny, dumb and out of context, but I have seen myself striking off right answers just for this reason many times. And this happens mostly when I am left with just 2 answer choices(in this case i had D and E). And because E seemed to have this presumed meaning error, I marked D.

Quote:
Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult that, perhaps as early as the sixth century BC, worshipped a goddess known as Bona Dea, "the good goddess".

(E)Using accounts of various ancient writers
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