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By a vote of 9 to 0, the Supreme Court awarded the Central Intelligenc

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By a vote of 9 to 0, the Supreme Court awarded the Central Intelligenc  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2019, 10:15
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By a vote of 9 to 0, the Supreme Court awarded the Central Intelligence Agency broad discretionary powers enabling it to withhold from the public the identities of its sources of intelligence information.

payalkhndlwl wrote:
Enabling is modifying "powers" --> enabling should modify CIA. Is my understanding incorrect?


payalkhndlwl , no, your understanding is not correct, but I can see why you would think that enabling should modify CIA.
What or who was authorized (enabled) to withhold identities? The Agency (CIA). This focus is problematic because it ignores the discretionary powers awarded to the CIA. The ability to withhold identities is an essential part of the discretionary powers awarded TO the CIA, not an essential part of the CIA itself.

So we can also ask : "The CIA was awarded discretionary powers to do what?" In that case, enabling makes sense.

discretionary powers enabling it to withhold . . . is a shortened form* of
discretionary powers that enable it to withhold . . .

Both that enable and enabling are essential modifiers of powers—they mean exactly the same thing and they are both essential modifiers of powers. See the footnote.

Discretionary powers to do what? To withhold the identities of its sources.
Enabling answers an essential question about powers and heads up the adjective phrase that follows and correctly modifies powers.

Being enabled to withholding identities of sources is not a defining characteristic of the CIA itself.
Being enabled to withhold identities IS a defining characteristic of the powers granted to the CIA by the Supreme Court.
Enabling should modify powers.

I hope that helps.


*The word enabling comes from a reduced relative clause, namely, [powers] that enable it.

Reduced relative clauses are very common in good writing and on the GMAT.
Reduced means shortened. The "relative" refers to a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which.
In order to shorten the relative clause [powers] that enable it and change it into the adjective enabling:
1) remove the relative pronoun (that);
2) change the verb into the present participle (verbING) (enable→enabling); and
3) place the present participle after the noun

Original: The Court awarded the CIA broad discretionary powers that enable it to withhold ... the identities of its sources ...

Reduced clause: The Court awarded the CIA broad discretionary powers enabling it to withhold ... the identities of its sources ...

That enable is an essential modifier of powers [that were granted to the CIA].
Because enabling is simply a shortened (reduced) form of that enable, enabling is also an essential modifier of powers. You can read a short overview about reduced relative clauses HERE.

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Re: By a vote of 9 to 0, the Supreme Court awarded the Central Intelligenc  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2019, 11:57
I agree with payalkhndlwl comment. Don't we need a comma before enabling?

payalkhndlwl wrote:
Enabling is modifying "powers" --> enabling should modify CIA. Is my understanding incorrect?
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New post 14 Sep 2019, 13:39
mview wrote:
I agree with payalkhndlwl comment. Don't we need a comma before enabling?

payalkhndlwl wrote:
Enabling is modifying "powers" --> enabling should modify CIA. Is my understanding incorrect?

mview , this question is official. The answer is correct.
No, we do not need a comma before "enabling." If we needed a comma, the OA would have a comma.

Rather than argue with the correct answer, try to figure out why GMAC constructed the answer as it did. I explained one reason in my post immediately above, (here.

Which part of my answer do you disagree with, and why?
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New post 14 Sep 2019, 15:16
Thanks for your reply generis. I had missed the part about reducing relative clauses. "that enable" becomes "enabling", got it now.
Very interesting, thanks for your help.
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Re: By a vote of 9 to 0, the Supreme Court awarded the Central Intelligenc  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2019, 04:58
Dear experts, please confirm/dismiss my following idea:
B - "withholding disclosure" has redundant meaning
C - "to withhold from public disclosure" has redundant meaning
E - "withhold public disclosure" has redundant meaning
All these options in average mean that one intents to conceal information in order not to reveal this information. Sounds redundant, does not it?
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Re: By a vote of 9 to 0, the Supreme Court awarded the Central Intelligenc   [#permalink] 23 Sep 2019, 04:58

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