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# Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at

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Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 12:06
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53% (01:43) correct 47% (01:48) wrong based on 844 sessions

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Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

A. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

B. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

C. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

D. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk, much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

E. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight
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17 Jul 2014, 12:13
The answer provided by Mangoosh is E
But I am more towards C

My doubt is :
What should the non-underlined portion after the comma be modifying ?
, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

For me Considerably lighter can be Steel only and not weight
Weight can be more or less
But is the usage of lighter for weight correct ?

Thank you
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 20:06
1
Quote:
The answer provided by Mangoosh is E
But I am more towards C

the answer has to be E
C is wrong because C creates ambiguity

Quote:
My doubt is :
What should the non-underlined portion after the comma be modifying ?
, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

this is not the case as the construction "considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements" modifies the complete previous clause and not just the "noun" before the comma !!
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2014, 02:55
niyantg wrote:
Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

A. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

B. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

C. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

D. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk, much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

E. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

narrowed down to C and E

can someone explain the difference between these choices?
how is one better than the other
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2014, 03:07
2
1
Quote:
narrowed down to C and E

can someone explain the difference between these choices

i have already explained as why C is wrong . i will elaborate as why C is ambiguous
C says :Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

meaning 1 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than [the weight] high-grade alloy steel

meaning 2 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel [is at holding its own weight]

is it clear now?
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2014, 08:02
niyantg wrote:
Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

A. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

B. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

C. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

D. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk, much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

E. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

While I am clear on the comparison part [for reasons similar to what Aditya has explained above], I am not clear on how the non-underlined part is modifying spider's silk. What is the principle involved here?
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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09 Aug 2014, 20:29
1
niyantg wrote:
The answer provided by Mangoosh is E
But I am more towards C

My doubt is :
What should the non-underlined portion after the comma be modifying ?
, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

For me Considerably lighter can be Steel only and not weight
Weight can be more or less
But is the usage of lighter for weight correct ?

Thank you

The sentence compares “spider's silk” with “high-grade alloy steel”:
- They are comparable in tensile strength
- But: spider’s silk is much better than high-grad alloy steel at holding its own weight.
Then the sentence continues to describe that spider’s weight is considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.
The non-underlined part “considerably lighter because…” modifies weight in “its own weight”.

A) “Comparing tensile strength” gives the idea that tensile strength is being compared with other strength. 2) “considerably lighter because…” modifies “high-grade alloy steel”  Incorrect
B) “Comparing tensile strength” gives the idea that tensile strength is being compared with other strength. Incorrect
C) “considerably lighter because…” modifies “high-grade alloy steel”  Incorrect
D) This choice makes the sentence lack of the main verb  Incorrect
E) Correct comparison and modifier  Correct

Hope it helps.
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Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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09 Aug 2014, 20:41
Quote:
narrowed down to C and E

can someone explain the difference between these choices

i have already explained as why C is wrong . i will elaborate as why C is ambiguous
C says :Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

meaning 1 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than [the weight] high-grade alloy steel

meaning 2 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel [is at holding its own weight]

is it clear now?

Hmm, I don't think that I agree with you in this point: meaning 1 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than [the weight] high-grade alloy steel

Why spider's silk should hold high-grade alloy steel's weight? It's illogical. Thus, the comparison spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel clearly means that spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel [is at holding its own weight]. C is not ambiguous in comparison but is incorrect because of the modifier (as I mentioned in my previous post).

Best,
Lucy
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Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2015, 10:29
3
LucyDang wrote:

Hmm, I don't think that I agree with you in this point: meaning 1 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than [the weight] high-grade alloy steel

Why spider's silk should hold high-grade alloy steel's weight? It's illogical. Thus, the comparison spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel clearly means that spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel [is at holding its own weight]. C is not ambiguous in comparison but is incorrect because of the modifier (as I mentioned in my previous post).

Best,
Lucy

Dear Lucy,
I'm happy to respond. I am the author of this particular Magoosh question.

This is a funny thing about grammar. Consider the sentence:
I like Chinese food more than my friend Chris.
The ambiguity: this could be
1) a subjective comparison = comparing "Chris" to the subject, "I"; "Chris" would be the subject in the parallel clause
2) an objective comparison = comparing "Chris" to the direct object "pizza"; "Chris" would be the direct object in the parallel clause
Now, if you don't know anything at all about me and Chris, it is conceivable that the objective comparison is intended. In other words, I might be so passionate about Chinese food that I have more affection for this cuisine than I have for Chris. That is one reading.
By contrast, if you know the two of us, our good friendship, and Chris's relative disinterest in Chinese food, then the other reading, the subjective comparison appears as correct. Notice, though, we needed outside information to clarify the grammar. That's not a well-constructed sentence, if I need to go outside the sentence to determine what the grammar is intending to say.

Much in the same way, if we look at the (C) version of this sentence:
Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel
The grammar leaves open both the subjective & objective comparisons as possibilities. Again, we could use our physical science knowledge of materials in the real world to deduce that the subjective comparison must be intended, but again, we had to go outside the sentence to make this decision. If the grammar itself leaves open a logical ambiguity, then it is not a well constructed sentence, no matter how easy it may be to resolve the ambiguity by other means.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2016, 21:36
niyantg wrote:
Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

A. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

B. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

C. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

D. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk, much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

E. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

Can Someone explain why option B is wrong
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2016, 22:03
1
1
smartguy595 wrote:
niyantg wrote:
Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

A. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

B. Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

C. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

D. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk, much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

E. Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

Can Someone explain why option B is wrong

two flaws--
1) Modifier problem -- comparing this with that, the scientist did ...
so comparing requires some person carrying out the comparing as a modifier...
spider's silk is not carrying out COMPARING..

2) what are you comparing tensile strength WITH-?
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1) Absolute modulus : http://gmatclub.com/forum/absolute-modulus-a-better-understanding-210849.html#p1622372
2)Combination of similar and dissimilar things : http://gmatclub.com/forum/topic215915.html
3) effects of arithmetic operations : https://gmatclub.com/forum/effects-of-arithmetic-operations-on-fractions-269413.html

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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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28 Apr 2016, 08:34
1
1
smartguy595 wrote:
Can Someone explain why option B is wrong

Dear smartguy595,
I'm the author of the question and I'm happy to respond. I see that chetan2u brought up some good points. To reiterate

1) When a participial phrase begins a sentence, it must be modifying the subject: the subject must be the "doer" of the action of the participle. That is not the case with "comparing" in choice (B).

2) Also, as chetan2u, the nature of the comparison is ambiguous. If some unknown person is "comparing tensile strength,' to what is this unknown agent comparing it.

Does all this make sense?
Mike -)
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Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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28 Apr 2016, 08:40
mikemcgarry wrote:
smartguy595 wrote:
Can Someone explain why option B is wrong

Dear smartguy595,
I'm the author of the question and I'm happy to respond. I see that chetan2u brought up some good points. To reiterate

1) When a participial phrase begins a sentence, it must be modifying the subject: the subject must be the "doer" of the action of the participle. That is not the case with "comparing" in choice (B).

2) Also, as chetan2u, the nature of the comparison is ambiguous. If some unknown person is "comparing tensile strength,' to what is this unknown agent comparing it.

Does all this make sense?
Mike -)

Hi Mike,
GOOD Q worthy of 700 level and thankfully I could find the flaw correctly in front of the author..
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2)Combination of similar and dissimilar things : http://gmatclub.com/forum/topic215915.html
3) effects of arithmetic operations : https://gmatclub.com/forum/effects-of-arithmetic-operations-on-fractions-269413.html

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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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28 Apr 2016, 08:49
chetan2u wrote:
mikemcgarry wrote:
smartguy595 wrote:
Can Someone explain why option B is wrong

Dear smartguy595,
I'm the author of the question and I'm happy to respond. I see that chetan2u brought up some good points. To reiterate

1) When a participial phrase begins a sentence, it must be modifying the subject: the subject must be the "doer" of the action of the participle. That is not the case with "comparing" in choice (B).

2) Also, as chetan2u, the nature of the comparison is ambiguous. If some unknown person is "comparing tensile strength,' to what is this unknown agent comparing it.

Does all this make sense?
Mike -)

Hi Mike,
GOOD Q worthy of 700 level and thankfully I could find the flaw correctly in front of the author..

Dear mike & chetan2u,

Thank you very much for your inputs
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2018, 19:17
1
test takers must know that the pattern in E is an important because such pattern often appears in 700-lvl questions.
The pattern is the 2 nouns in a comparison must stand next to each other. For example, "spider's silk (first noun) is much better than high-grade alloy steel (second noun) at....
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15 Jan 2018, 20:20
Hi mike,

I think both C and E are same. C says x is much better at z than y, and E says x is much better than y at z.Here ‘at holding it’s own weight’ modifies either x or y, and that makes x and y comparison same in both C and E. So I think in one of the options it should be mentioned as x at z is much better than y at z. Simply shifting the pronoun doesn’t make sense I think. Please explain

mikemcgarry wrote:
LucyDang wrote:

Hmm, I don't think that I agree with you in this point: meaning 1 : Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than [the weight] high-grade alloy steel

Why spider's silk should hold high-grade alloy steel's weight? It's illogical. Thus, the comparison spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel clearly means that spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel [is at holding its own weight]. C is not ambiguous in comparison but is incorrect because of the modifier (as I mentioned in my previous post).

Best,
Lucy

Dear Lucy,
I'm happy to respond. I am the author of this particular Magoosh question.

This is a funny thing about grammar. Consider the sentence:
I like Chinese food more than my friend Chris.
The ambiguity: this could be
1) a subjective comparison = comparing "Chris" to the subject, "I"; "Chris" would be the subject in the parallel clause
2) an objective comparison = comparing "Chris" to the direct object "pizza"; "Chris" would be the direct object in the parallel clause
Now, if you don't know anything at all about me and Chris, it is conceivable that the objective comparison is intended. In other words, I might be so passionate about Chinese food that I have more affection for this cuisine than I have for Chris. That is one reading.
By contrast, if you know the two of us, our good friendship, and Chris's relative disinterest in Chinese food, then the other reading, the subjective comparison appears as correct. Notice, though, we needed outside information to clarify the grammar. That's not a well-constructed sentence, if I need to go outside the sentence to determine what the grammar is intending to say.

Much in the same way, if we look at the (C) version of this sentence:
Comparable in tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel
The grammar leaves open both the subjective & objective comparisons as possibilities. Again, we could use our physical science knowledge of materials in the real world to deduce that the subjective comparison must be intended, but again, we had to go outside the sentence to make this decision. If the grammar itself leaves open a logical ambiguity, then it is not a well constructed sentence, no matter how easy it may be to resolve the ambiguity by other means.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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26 May 2018, 19:53
1

Official Explanation Magoosh:

Split #1: “comparing” vs. “comparable”. If I say, “comparing blah blah, X ....”, then X must be a subject performing the action of comparison. It would be grammatically correct to say something like “Comparing himself to Jefferson, the candidate said ...” --- in that sentence, the candidate is the one who performs the act of comparing. Here, the sentence is drawing a comparison, but the target of the modifying phrase, “spider’s silk”, is not performing the act of comparison. Rather, “spider’s silk” is merely a term in a comparison --- therefore, it is “comparable.” Choices (A) & (B) incorrectly use the participle “comparing”, but choices (C) & (D) & (E) use the adjective “comparable.”

Split #2: order of the “than” phrase vs. the “at” phrase. The subject, “spider’s silk”, is one term of the comparison. The other term, “high-grade alloy steel” is the other term --- this is the object of the “than” phrase. The respect in which they are being compared, “holding its own weight”, is the object of the “at” phrase. In what order should these two phrases come?

Order #1: spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel

Order #2: spider's silk is much better than high-grade alloy steel at holding its own weight

In principle, both of these are grammatically correct. It is possible that the first order suggests an ambiguity --- is spider's silk better at holding its own weight than it is at holding high-grade alloy steel? This is a potential problem for order #1. The big determiner is what comes after the underlined section --- the modifying phrase “considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.” Clearly that modifying phrase cannot modify “high-grade alloy steel” --- it has to modify “its own weight”. Therefore, in consideration of the continuity of the entire sentence, order #1 is incorrect, and choices (A) & (C) make this mistake.

Split #3: the missing verb mistake. Everything before the first comma is a modifier, and everything after the second comma is another modifier. The main part of the sentence is between the two commas. The main subject is “spider’s silk.” Four of the choices have a main verb, “is”, but choice (D) omits “is” and does not supply another verb --- choice (D) commits the famous “missing verb” mistake, so it is incorrect.

The only possible answer is (E).
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2018, 08:42
A, B are wrong because it seems as if spider's silk is doing the comparing

C is wrong because of misplaced modifier. It looks as if spider's silk is much better at holding its own weight than high-grade alloy steel's weight. Expression is very ambiguous

D has a missing verb.

E is best of the lot
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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24 Jul 2018, 08:22
niyantg wrote:
The answer provided by Mangoosh is E
But I am more towards C

My doubt is :
What should the non-underlined portion after the comma be modifying ?
, considerably lighter because the organic composition is less dense than the metallic elements.

For me Considerably lighter can be Steel only and not weight
Weight can be more or less
But is the usage of lighter for weight correct ?

Thank you

In C.. Is spider's silk better at HOLDING its own weight than HOLDING the alloy steel.

There is a comparison mistake here, creating an ambiguity. Hence answer is E.

however, in E considerably lighter should modify Spider's silk that is kept too far from its subject. So i am a bit perplexed. However, Its the best option out of others. As STYLE comes last in GMAT.
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at  [#permalink]

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24 Jul 2018, 10:01
Nightmare007 wrote:

In C.. Is spider's silk better at HOLDING its own weight than HOLDING the alloy steel.

There is a comparison mistake here, creating an ambiguity. Hence answer is E.

however, in E considerably lighter should modify Spider's silk that is kept too far from its subject. So i am a bit perplexed. However, Its the best option out of others. As STYLE comes last in GMAT.

I was caught up with the same doubt - considerably lighter is very far from the noun it is modifying. However, on thinking of a similar construction, I am in a more satisfying position with this far-away modifier.
E.g. Britney's scores are much better in finals than in mocks, considerably higher than what she had expected.

There is always something to learn from Mike!
Thanks for the question.
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Re: Comparing tensile strength, spider's silk is much better at &nbs [#permalink] 24 Jul 2018, 10:01

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