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Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods

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New post 28 Oct 2018, 18:01
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Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods without becoming carbon intensive with their ability to run on batteries, efficiently covering short distances; however, their inability to cover long distances may hinder their popularity in transportation industry

A. ship goods without becoming carbon intensive with their ability to run on batteries, efficiently covering
B. ship goods without becoming carbon intensive, running on batteries and thus efficiently cover
C. ship goods without becoming carbon intensive because they run on batteries and thus efficiently cover
D. can ship goods without becoming carbon intensive as they run on batteries to efficiently cover
E. may ship goods without becoming carbon intensive due to running on batteries and thus efficiently covering
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New post 28 Oct 2018, 18:37
I don't understand ''because and thus'' in the option C could it be together?
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New post 28 Oct 2018, 19:23
Yes. Because and thus depending on context can go together. In C the pronoun is a bit ambiguous to me. They can refer to goods, which is ambiguous.

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New post 28 Oct 2018, 20:00
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2019800aspirant wrote:
Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods without becoming carbon intensive with their ability to run on batteries, efficiently covering short distances; however, their inability to cover long distances may hinder their popularity in transportation industry

A. ship goods without becoming carbon intensive with their ability to run on batteries, efficiently covering

• Verbs are not parallel.
• "with their ability" stretches causality. The phrase is extra information, not an expression of cause or reason.


B. ship goods without becoming carbon intensive, running on batteries and thus efficiently cover

• Causality is unclear. Careful: in the special case of a verbING phrase and a clause, if causality is involved, sequence matters.
-- IF the verbING phrase is the cause of the event in the clause, then the verbING phrase should NOT follow the clause.
-- COMMA + verbING can present the result of that clause.
-- But in (B), running on batteries is NOT the result of ship goods without becoming carbon intensive.
The logic is the other way around. See notes below
• Further, as in D, it seems as if running on batteries causes efficient coverage of short distances.


C. ship goods without becoming carbon intensive BECAUSE they run on batteries and thus efficiently cover

D. can ship goods without becoming carbon intensive as they run on batteries to efficiently cover

• Verbs are not parallel
• Logic is skewed. "...as they run on batteries to efficiently cover short distances" sounds as if the batteries create the efficient coverage of short distances.


E. may ship goods without becoming carbon intensive due to running on batteries and thus efficiently covering

• Verbs are not parallel
• "May ship" is not as good an option as its counterparts in A, B, C, or even D.
• Although followed by a noun, due to is used improperly. "Due to" cannot explain the reason for the verb / action, which is annoyingly ambiguous but probably refers to drones' "not becoming carbon intensive." Replace "due to" with "caused by." That replacement does not work. If "due to" is used correctly, that replacement will work.

Exactly one option presents what GMAC prefers, namely, clear "logical predication."

Exactly one option uses the simple word because.

In other words, we have a 4-1 split. Option C prevails.

I. ___ING as a modifier: cause and result

Logical causality can be difficult. Ultimately, we have to think about meaning that is derived from context.

• Terminology
-- ___ING or verbING = present participle (and its phrase is a "participial phrase")
-- to explain this issue I will use verbING

• verbING phrases that modify clauses can function in many ways, but
-- IF a causal chain is involved, then
the sequence of the verbING phrase and the clause matters

• common sense logic and sequence

Suppose that I drive an electric car that saves me money, and I can afford to travel frequently with that money.
The saved money causes me to be able to travel frequently.

Emulating the structure in option B, I write:
I save money, driving an electric car and thus travel frequently.

Common sense should tell us that causality is not clear in that sentence.
The connection between saving money and traveling frequently is severed.
In fact, a non-native speaker or someone not reading carefully might conclude that
for some strange reason, my electric car causes me to travel frequently. :(

My original logic is lost. The construction of my sentence is identical to that in option B, and close to that in A and D.

II. Sequence of causation when verbING modifier and a clause are involved

-- if information conveyed earlier in the sentence (X) results in information conveyed later in the sentence (Y), then
If the clause is X, the verbING follows as Y
If the verbing is X, the clause follows as Y

In other words, comma + verbING modifies a previous clause as a result, not as a cause

If verbING is the CAUSE, COMMA+ verbing is incorrect

• instigator and result

The statement that comes first initiates the action. The statement that comes after is a result or effect of the first statement.
That sequence holds true whether the initiating information is in the clause or in the modifier.

Correct: Running on batteries, the drones avoid becoming carbon intensive.
Because the drones run on batteries, they avoid becoming carbon intensive.

(Batteries do not use fossil fuels, which emit a lot of carbon dioxide.)

III. Overall scheme - Causal links
If another link in the causal sequence did not follow "running on batteries," it is possible that GMAC would allow (B).
I do not recall having seen such an official question, but I won't rule out its possibility.

I finally found a post explaining that COMMA + verbING [IF causality is involved] "presents the result of the preceding clause," HERE. (my emphasis)

Causality in this sentence
• [can] ship without becoming carbon intensive = A
• running on batteries = B
• [can] cover short distances efficiently = C

B causes A. A causes C.
B => A => C

Using batteries => no carbon buildup
No carbon buildup => drone can efficiently cover short distances

The relationship between participial phrases and modified clauses is among the most tricky of topics.
In this case, we have a clear winner.
Sometimes we need to read all five options and choose the option with the clearest meaning, even if we are not quite sure about the rules.

Split # 1: Verbs are not parallel
A (ship, covering)
D (can ship, to cover) or (ship, to cover)
E (may ship, covering) or (ship, covering)

Eliminate A, D, and E

Split #2: Meaning and logic
In option C, causality is clear.
Because drones run on batteries, they do not become carbon intensive.
Because they do not become carbon intensive, the drones can efficiently cover short distances.

In option B, by contrast, causality is not established in the correct direction
and IS established in the incorrect direction.
COMMA running on batteries does not convey "because drones run on batteries, drones do not become carbon intensive."
At the same time, it seems as if "running on batteries" is the cause of efficient coverage of short distances.

Eliminate B.

ANSWER C
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New post 28 Oct 2018, 20:08
2019800aspirant wrote:
Yes. Because and thus depending on context can go together. In C the pronoun is a bit ambiguous to me. They can refer to goods, which is ambiguous.

Posted from my mobile device

2019800aspirant , true pronoun ambiguity is rare.

If a pronoun has more than one possible antecedent, as long as one (and only one) antecedent makes logical sense
and meaning is clear, GMAC allows the multiple antecedents.
HERE is an official question with two possible antecedents.

If the other four options have obvious errors, and
if there is one logical antecedent that makes meaning clear in the remaining option, pronoun ambiguity is not an issue.
Hope that helps.
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Re: Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 06:29
Thanks for the pronoun clarification. I am still not clear as why B is wrong. Can a Verbing modifier not act as a reason for an action? Does it only act as a result?
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New post 29 Oct 2018, 06:43
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I would like to understand why choice B is wrong. I am of the understanding that Verbing modifiers have 2 functions. 1) A result of an action (which is not the case here). 2) Provide a reason or extra information regarding the preceding clause. For example: Joe monitored the fish, catching and releasing 10,000 of them a year. Here verbing modifier is providing as to how Joe monitored fish.

Similarly in option B, why can we say "running on batteries" is explaining why drones ship goods without becoming carbon intensive?

Experts, please help me understand.
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Re: Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 10:51
2019800aspirant wrote:
I would like to understand why choice B is wrong. I am of the understanding that Verbing modifiers have 2 functions. 1) A result of an action (which is not the case here). 2) Provide a reason or extra information regarding the preceding clause. For example: Joe monitored the fish, catching and releasing 10,000 of them a year. Here verbing modifier is providing as to how Joe monitored fish.

Similarly in option B, why can we say "running on batteries" is explaining why drones ship goods without becoming carbon intensive?

Experts, please help me understand.
B misses parallelism... Verbing modifier and...... Second part isn't a modifier.. At least for me

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Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 16:41
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2019800aspirant wrote:
I would like to understand why choice B is wrong. I am of the understanding that Verbing modifiers have 2 functions. 1) A result of an action (which is not the case here). 2) Provide a reason or extra information regarding the preceding clause. For example: Joe monitored the fish, catching and releasing 10,000 of them a year. Here verbing modifier is providing as to how Joe monitored fish.

Similarly in option B, why can we say "running on batteries" is explaining why drones ship goods without becoming carbon intensive?

Experts, please help me understand.

Expert mikemcgarry wrote a series of terrific posts about your issue;
that series is on this GMAT Club thread titled "verb-ing Modifier - Conceptual Clarity," HERE.

I amended my post after I saw your comment.
I explained why (C) is crystal clear about the causal significance of the fact that drones run on batteries.
In an official explanation, that causal significance would be described as "Logical Predication."

Perhaps GMATNinja , MagooshExpert, DmitryFarber , or daagh could address your post.
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New post 30 Oct 2018, 05:47
Thank you Generis for the link. very helpful.
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Delivery drones, unlike conventional modes of transport, ship goods  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2018, 06:52
2019800aspirant wrote:
Thank you Generis for the link. very helpful.

You're welcome. I'm glad that it helped. :-)
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