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# Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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12 Nov 2013, 00:02
mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Hi Mike,

I've couple of doubts in what you've mentioned -
i] You've here mentioned "The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E). ". But in the first article that you've shared, in the example "1) Bartholomew doesn’t like people who talk too much." - 'who' without commas, is a restrictive modifier and this sentence is correct per GMAT. Right?

That means there are exceptions. We can't just eliminate option E because 'who' is NOT preceded by a 'comma' ?

ii] 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. Right? Please clarify.

Dear bagdbmba,
Hold on! The rules for "who" are NOT the same as the rules for "which". In the case of "who", (or "when" or "where") we have only one choice, so we have to use the same word in both restrictive and non-restrictive context, and the only thing that tells us the difference is the use of punctuation.
.... the modern house, where Frank lives. (Only one modern house exists in this context, and as it happens, Frank lives there.)
.... the modern house where Frank lives. (Frank's modern house, as oppose to any other modern house.)
With "that"/"which", we get two words, and the convention that the GMAT follows is that "that" is always used in the restrictive case (no comma), and "which" is always used in the non-restrictive case (with a comma). There are no exceptions. What happens with the other relative pronouns and adverbs is not a guide for what happens with these two words.
Does all this make sense?
Mike

Thanks Mike for your excellent clarifications

I think you've missed out the somehow my second concern. Would you please help me understand the same?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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12 Nov 2013, 15:52
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bagdbmba wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
ii] 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. Right? Please clarify.

Thanks Mike for your excellent clarifications

I think you've missed out the somehow my second concern. Would you please help me understand the same?

Dear bagdbmba
I'm sorry to miss that. I'm happy to help.

Here's version (E) of the sentence.
(E) Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that previously thought.

The word "that" is a pronoun, and its antecedent is the noun "emergence". This is a bit tricky --- "emergence" is an "action" word, but "emerge" is the verb form and "emergence" is the noun form. As a noun, "emergence" can be the antecedent of the pronoun.

This is exactly part of what make (E) one of the less desirable answers. Whenever we use the noun-forms or adjectival forms of action words, instead of the verb-forms, that makes the sentence longer and clunkier. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/active-verbs-on-the-gmat/

Finally, notice that the verb "suggest" can take either a noun clause or a plain noun. The noun clause properly would begin with "that" (as the OA (C) has) --- then the noun-clause, like all clauses, would have a full [noun]+[verb] structure, allowing for the use of the verb form "emerge." By contrast, choice (E) simply gives the verb "suggest" a plain noun "emergence" as a direct object.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2013, 22:51
mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
ii] 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. Right? Please clarify.

Thanks Mike for your excellent clarifications

I think you've missed out the somehow my second concern. Would you please help me understand the same?

Dear bagdbmba
I'm sorry to miss that. I'm happy to help.

Here's version (E) of the sentence.
(E) Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that previously thought.

The word "that" is a pronoun, and its antecedent is the noun "emergence". This is a bit tricky --- "emergence" is an "action" word, but "emerge" is the verb form and "emergence" is the noun form. As a noun, "emergence" can be the antecedent of the pronoun.

This is exactly part of what make (E) one of the less desirable answers. Whenever we use the noun-forms or adjectival forms of action words, instead of the verb-forms, that makes the sentence longer and clunkier. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/active-verbs-on-the-gmat/

Finally, notice that the verb "suggest" can take either a noun clause or a plain noun. The noun clause properly would begin with "that" (as the OA (C) has) --- then the noun-clause, like all clauses, would have a full [noun]+[verb] structure, allowing for the use of the verb form "emerge." By contrast, choice (E) simply gives the verb "suggest" a plain noun "emergence" as a direct object.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,
This time the explanation appears a bit complicated to me!!

However, I think we can right away reject E because it contains 'which' without a comma before it and GMAT doesn't allow the same as you've mentioned earlier...So, this can be sufficient reason to discard option E. Right?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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15 Nov 2013, 13:56
bagdbmba wrote:
Hi Mike,
This time the explanation appears a bit complicated to me!!

However, I think we can right away reject E because it contains 'which' without a comma before it and GMAT doesn't allow the same as you've mentioned earlier...So, this can be sufficient reason to discard option E. Right?

Dear bagdbmba,
That's correct. The GMAT only accepts use of the word "which" for non-vital modifiers. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
On the GMAT, the word "which" always introduces a non-restrictive, non-vital modifier, and if any modifier of this sort is not set off by commas, it is wrong.
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2013, 22:16
mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Hi Mike,
This time the explanation appears a bit complicated to me!!

However, I think we can right away reject E because it contains 'which' without a comma before it and GMAT doesn't allow the same as you've mentioned earlier...So, this can be sufficient reason to discard option E. Right?

Dear bagdbmba,
That's correct. The GMAT only accepts use of the word "which" for non-vital modifiers. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
On the GMAT, the word "which" always introduces a non-restrictive, non-vital modifier, and if any modifier of this sort is not set off by commas, it is wrong.
Mike

Thanks for confirming the same Mike.

Much appreciate your effort to clarify this
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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27 Nov 2013, 04:50
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

I am not clear why "that which" in d and e is wrong. let me try

"that in d and e is a kind of emergence." the emergence which is previously thought " has not clear meaning. that is why d and e is wrong.

another reason is that "that" used as pronoun normally needs parallel pattern. though we see "that" in non parallel patterns in oas in some sc problems, this usage is not prefered.

please, comment on the erors in d and e.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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27 Nov 2013, 11:29
vietmoi999 wrote:
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

I am not clear why "that which" in d and e is wrong. let me try

"that in d and e is a kind of emergence." the emergence which is previously thought " has not clear meaning. that is why d and e is wrong.

another reason is that "that" used as pronoun normally needs parallel pattern. though we see "that" in non parallel patterns in oas in some sc problems, this usage is not prefered.

please, comment on the erors in d and e.

Dear vietmoi999,
I'm happy to help and to explain a little more about what my friend & colleague Chris said.

First of all, I am going to recommend this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/active-verbs-on-the-gmat/
One big strike against both (D) and (E) is the use of the noun "emergence" over the verb "emerge". This is an action-word. Making action-words verbs makes a sentence direct and powerful. Making the action-words nouns or adjectives makes things indirect, lily-livered, and wordy, as is the case with both (D) & (E).

Also, consider this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/dropping-c ... -the-gmat/
Dropping words in parallel is a very tricky issue, and the GMAT loves to test it. Consider these three constructions
(1) ... emerged earlier than previously thought. (what choice (C) has)
(2) ... emerged earlier than that which was previously thought. (similar to the ending of choice (D))
(3) ... emerged earlier than that previously thought. (similar to the ending of choice (E))
All three of those are 100% grammatically correct. There's absolutely no problem with the word "that." All three of them mean the same thing. Option #1 says this idea with the fewest words, and options #2 & #3 say the same thing with more words than needed. Saying anything with more words than needed is always wrong on the GMAT SC.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2013, 12:01
bagdbmba wrote:
So what I understand from your reply is 'which' can even refer to something else (NOT noun) before it. And in that case it doesn't need to be preceded by a 'comma'. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

'Which' can only refer to nouns. However, if it has a preposition before it (in phrases such as 'in which'), it should not have a comma before it.

bagdbmba wrote:
In comparison we mostly use 'that' as to indicate the noun replacement - as a pronoun in the second clause I think.
Let's consider this sentence : Temperature in Egypt is much higher than that in Moscow. ----> here 'that' represents 'Temperature' and is a pronoun. Right?

Yes, that is correct. 'That' is a pronoun that refers to 'temperature' in this sentence.

bagdbmba wrote:
And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is a pronoun that refers to 'emergence', a meaning that is illogical in the context of this sentence.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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06 Dec 2013, 00:06
Hi egmat,
Thanks for the reply. Got you on other parts.
egmat wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is a pronoun that refers to 'emergence', a meaning that is illogical in the context of this sentence.

But can you please let me know why do you say this as highlighted above ? Please share your analysis.

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2013, 08:39
Hi there,

Just try to replace the pronoun "that" with the noun phrase " a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms" - the entity it refers it refers to - and then see whether the sentence makes sense.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2013, 12:31
bagdbmba wrote:
egmat wrote:
Thanks, bagdbmba, for posting your query here as suggested. Also, thanks to Mike for the very comprehensive response!

bagdbmba: to put it simply, when 'which' refers to the noun before it, there should be a comma between 'which' and the noun. Secondly, 'that' is incorrect in option E since it is functioning as a pronoun in this option, whereas the part after 'than' should actually refer to what the scientists had previously thought.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

Regards,
Meghna

So what I understand from your reply is 'which' can even refer to something else (NOT noun) before it. And in that case it doesn't need to be preceded by a 'comma'. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

In comparison we mostly use 'that' as to indicate the noun replacement - as a pronoun in the second clause I think.
Let's consider this sentence : Temperature in Egypt is much higher than that in Moscow. ----> here 'that' represents 'Temperature' and is a pronoun. Right?

And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is is incorrect since it should refer to what scientists had previously thought.

Regarding 'which', it should only refer to nouns. But there are cases where it is used in phrases such as "in which" or "for which", where there should not be a comma before it.

Regards,
Meghna
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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13 Dec 2013, 08:18
egmat wrote:
Hi there,

Just try to replace the pronoun "that" with the noun phrase " a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms" - the entity it refers it refers to - and then see whether the sentence makes sense.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

I thought "that" here refers to "emergence of complex life-forms" only NOT to "a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms"...

Thoughts?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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13 Dec 2013, 08:19
egmat wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
egmat wrote:
Thanks, bagdbmba, for posting your query here as suggested. Also, thanks to Mike for the very comprehensive response!

bagdbmba: to put it simply, when 'which' refers to the noun before it, there should be a comma between 'which' and the noun. Secondly, 'that' is incorrect in option E since it is functioning as a pronoun in this option, whereas the part after 'than' should actually refer to what the scientists had previously thought.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

Regards,
Meghna

So what I understand from your reply is 'which' can even refer to something else (NOT noun) before it. And in that case it doesn't need to be preceded by a 'comma'. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

In comparison we mostly use 'that' as to indicate the noun replacement - as a pronoun in the second clause I think.
Let's consider this sentence : Temperature in Egypt is much higher than that in Moscow. ----> here 'that' represents 'Temperature' and is a pronoun. Right?

And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.

Yes, 'that' in option E is is incorrect since it should refer to what scientists had previously thought.

Regarding 'which', it should only refer to nouns. But there are cases where it is used in phrases such as "in which" or "for which", where there should not be a comma before it.

Regards,
Meghna

So ONLY 'which' (I mean not "in which" or "for which") will always be preceded by a comma (',') in GMAT and will be used in non-restrictive use. Right?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2014, 02:29
betterscore wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had

(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was

(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

Digging refers to scientists, so A and B gone.

D) "than that which was" sounds weird, "a much earlier emergence" (I think is called "passive voice"?) is way too stiff and formal. So D is a contender, but a weak one

E) "than that" is wrong, only "than" is correct.

Also, we would like to keep the same tense throughout the sentence.. We have "diggING" so "suggestING" sounds nice and correct.. Therefore, we go with C
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2014, 21:54
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

E is wrong only because it is wordier than C and maybe a bit awkward too. I couldnt find any grammatical error E since "that" is correctly referring to "the emergence of complex life-forms".
Am I right in my thought process? many thanks.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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31 Mar 2014, 10:45
divineacclivity wrote:
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

E is wrong only because it is wordier than C and maybe a bit awkward too. I couldn't find any grammatical error E since "that" is correctly referring to "the emergence of complex life-forms".
Am I right in my thought process? many thanks.

Dear divineacclivity,
I'm Chris' friend and colleague, and I am happy to respond.

The brilliant thing about this official question is that there are almost no grammatical mistakes. Choice (A) certainly questionable with the odd verb tense, but the other four answer choices are free of grammatical errors. Naive GMAT takers thing the GMAT SC is simply about grammar. It's not. Grammar is only one of many things tested on the GMAT SC. This particular question is testing one of the most tested areas, something called Rhetorical Construction. For a description of this, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/rhetorical ... orrection/
Logic and Rhetorical Construction are each as important as, if not more important than, grammar on the GMAT SC.

So, yes, choice (E) is 100% grammatically correct and rhetorically, it is an absolute trainwreck. It is far too wordy, and using "emergence" rather than the verb form, "emerge", makes it indirect and awkward.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2014, 17:11
mikemcgarry wrote:
divineacclivity wrote:
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

E is wrong only because it is wordier than C and maybe a bit awkward too. I couldn't find any grammatical error E since "that" is correctly referring to "the emergence of complex life-forms".
Am I right in my thought process? many thanks.

Dear divineacclivity,
I'm Chris' friend and colleague, and I am happy to respond.

The brilliant thing about this official question is that there are almost no grammatical mistakes. Choice (A) certainly questionable with the odd verb tense, but the other four answer choices are free of grammatical errors. Naive GMAT takers thing the GMAT SC is simply about grammar. It's not. Grammar is only one of many things tested on the GMAT SC. This particular question is testing one of the most tested areas, something called Rhetorical Construction. For a description of this, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/rhetorical ... orrection/
Logic and Rhetorical Construction are each as important as, if not more important than, grammar on the GMAT SC.

So, yes, choice (E) is 100% grammatically correct and rhetorically, it is an absolute trainwreck. It is far too wordy, and using "emergence" rather than the verb form, "emerge", makes it indirect and awkward.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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05 May 2014, 20:30
Hi,

Can someone help me clarify why A/B are wrong b/c of the word "evidence" right after the comma and not "scientists"? Since Digging is a verb modifier, it doesn't need to touch anything it modifies, so theoretically, can't it modify "scientists" in A/B?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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06 May 2014, 13:47
russ9 wrote:
Hi,
Can someone help me clarify why A/B are wrong b/c of the word "evidence" right after the comma and not "scientists"? Since Digging is a verb modifier, it doesn't need to touch anything it modifies, so theoretically, can't it modify "scientists" in A/B?

Dear russ9
I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.
(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

The participial phrase "digging in sediments in northern China" is, here, a noun modifier. It's true, participles and participial phrases can modifier either a noun, or a verb, or an entire clause. It's very subtle to interpret which a given participle modifies. Here, "digging" is a very concrete action. If the participle denotes a concrete action, and the action is clearly attributable to a particular noun in the sentence, then the participle is a noun modifier. Here, the "digging" had to be done by the "scientists," without a doubt. Therefore, the phrase is a noun modifier modifier "scientists" and therefore needs to touch that word. That's precisely why (A) & (B) make the misplaced modifier mistake. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/modifiers- ... orrection/

Participle modifiers are not easy. You have to ask yourself: is this a concrete action performed by someone in the sentence? Then that's a noun-modifier. Participial phrases modify verbs and clauses when they explain a further consequence of some action, or something caused not by the subject but by the action of the independent clause.
Stocks felt sharply yesterday, sending the bond market into a panic.
What "[sent] the bond market into a panic"? Not the noun "stocks" but the entire action, the fact that stocks fell.
The governor signed the new crime bill, sending a strong message to his harshest critics.
The concrete action is the one in the main clauses, "signing." The participle communicated a less concrete, more far-reaching effect of the action in the main clause.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2014, 09:33
Chose C. But,

Isnt "Digging in sediments in northern China" - a verb modifier, thus need not be followed by "who is doing the digging". Because verb modifier do not follow the touch rule of noun modifier.

A and B - can be eliminated for using "Past Perfect" - had.

D - that which was - incorrect
E - that is used with noun and pronoun.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been   [#permalink] 18 Sep 2014, 09:33

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# Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been

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