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

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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

(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


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 11: Sentence Correction


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Originally posted by kman on 09 Nov 2008, 19:26.
Last edited by Bunuel on 16 Oct 2018, 03:09, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a  [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2017, 08:55
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Quote:
(A) 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".


Maybe some of you will disagree, but I think (A) sounds good. This absolutely sounds like a sentence that a smart history professor would include in a paper or a lecture.

Trouble is, this is the GMAT, and your ear is not your friend. Welcome to GMAT SC: correct answers will “sound bad”, and wrong answers often “sound good.”

In this case, you’ll want to be strict and literal when you analyze the “-ed” modifier and its relationship to the noun it modifies. (A) is saying that scholars themselves are “based on accounts of various ancient writers”, and that doesn’t make sense. (A) is gone.

(And for more on “-ed” modifiers, please check out our Topic of the Week.)

Quote:
(B) Basing it on various ancient writers' accounts

This one is easier to eliminate, since “it” has no antecedent. “Picture” would be the closest singular noun, but that’s too far ahead in the sentence to be reasonable. (B) is gone.

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

If you wanted to be conservative, I suppose that you could hang onto this one until you see a better option. I don’t think that it’s grammatically wrong, exactly, but it’s definitely wordy, and I don’t love the use of “with” in this sentence –- it just seems like a very clunky way to express the fact that scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to accomplish their work. And as we’ll see in a moment, (E) is much better.

Quote:
(D) By the accounts of various ancient writers they used

This one seems to be saying that the scholars used the various ancient writers, and that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m also not sure that the structure makes sense in general: the scholars painted a sketchy picture “by the accounts of various ancient writers”? Sure, the scholars used those accounts, or based their picture on those accounts – but it wouldn’t make sense to say that they painted the picture “by the accounts” of the ancient writers. We can eliminate (D).


Quote:
(E) Using accounts of various ancient writers

The “-ing” modifier is perfect here: the scholars used the accounts of various ancient writers to paint their sketchy picture. And there’s no extra nonsense in (E), so it’s much clearer than (C). (E) wins.
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New post 10 Jul 2009, 15:32
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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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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2009, 15:39
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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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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2012, 22:13
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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?

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New post 20 Aug 2012, 11:47
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Hi @mvikred,

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.”

After reading your doubt, I feel that you have misinterpreted the meaning of this sentence somehow. Now the real meaning might not have significant impact in choosing the correct answer choice in this sentence. However, it is very important that you understand the correct intended meaning that, in most cases, has a direct bearing on choosing the correct answer choice.

The sentence means that the scholars studied the accounts of various ancient writers and have painted a sketchy picture of the activities of an all-female cult worshipped a goddess called Bona Dea, the good goddess. Now, the scholars did not paint any literal sketch of the activities of the all-female cult. Here, this expression has been used as metaphor to mean that scholars presented their not-very-perfect understanding of the cult. Notice, the sentence says that the scholars painted the sketchy picture of the activities of the cult and not the goddess.

Error Analysis:

On GMAT, verb-ed modifier is a noun modifier that can only refer to a noun entity. It does not refer to a clause. If the verb-ed appears in the middle of the sentence then it modifies the preceding noun. If it appears in the beginning of the sentence, then it modifies the subject of the following clause. Let’s take a set of simple examples here:

1. Kim has kept the lamp in the casket designed by her grandmother.
2. Designed by Kim’s grandmother, the casket got sold in the auction at a very high price.

In the first sentence, “designed” appears in the middle of the sentence and is preceded by the noun “casket”. Hence it modifies the preceding noun “casket”. The modifier suggests that the casket was designed by Kim’s grandmother.

In the second sentence, “designed” appears in the beginning of the sentence. In this case, it modifies the subject of the following main clause “casket”. The modifier suggests that the casket was designed by Kim’s grandmother.

Now let’s apply this rule on the OG sentence:

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.”

The verb-ed modifier “based” appears in the beginning of the sentence. This means it will modify the subject of the following clause. The subject is “scholars”. This modification suggests that “scholars” were based on accounts of various ancient writers. This modification is absolutely illogical. That’s why OG says that the modification is incorrect. Here we need a modifier that must correctly and logically modify “scholars”.
Now let’s analyze the sentence with the correct answer choice E:

Using 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.”
This answer choice is correct because the verb-ing modifier “using” correctly modifies the scholars. It suggests that scholars used accounts of various ancient writers to do something.

Now let's consider your example:

Based on the assumptions listed, the professor calculated the rate of dispersion.

Now in day-to-day language, this form might be acceptable but this sentence will stand incorrect for the same reason – illogical modification. The modification in this sentence suggests that the professors were based on listed assumptions. So on GMAT, this sentence is incorrect.

For more on verb-ed and verb-ing modifiers, please refer to this article:
verb-ed-modifiers-vs-verb-ing-modifiers-125611.html

Hope this helps.
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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2013, 22:13
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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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New post 06 Nov 2013, 23:37
Hi All,

'Based on' is still not clear to me.

Can somone give any example where 'based on' is correct.

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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2013, 12:41
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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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New post 22 Sep 2014, 05:24
Hi all in case of modifier based question,when we have to select the correct modifier for it's subject, is it always safe to consider an option which is more crisp and concise.
Example.

Q) 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., worshiped a goddess known in Latin as Bona Dea, "the goddess."

Options

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 Modifiers are in (B) and (E).
Previously i had opted for (b). But that is incorrect.
As (E) is a much shorter version,should i always go ahead with such an approach ?
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New post 22 Sep 2014, 16:07
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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New post 15 May 2017, 09:00
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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Re: Based on accounts of various ancient writers, scholars have painted a  [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2017, 14:32
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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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New post 01 Jun 2017, 11:18
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.

Expert please reply
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New post 02 Jun 2017, 10:49
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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. :-)
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New post 02 Jun 2017, 11:03
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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.

Expert please reply




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. :-)
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New post 01 Jul 2017, 23:05
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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"Using the evidence, the jury reached a verdict ---- is correct.
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New post 20 Jul 2017, 12:20
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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New post 28 Jul 2017, 17:16
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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] 28 Jul 2017, 17:16

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