Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been

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

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27 Jul 2012, 10:07
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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
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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27 Jul 2012, 10:15
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Modifier "Digging in sediments in northern China" should change anything that comes after it.So here evidence is being modified by this phrase but that is clearly not the intended meaning.Evidences can not themselves dig something rather scientists are digging up evidences.This leaves us with choice (C) (D) and (E)

(C)Perfectly written.Present perfect and then Past tense.Earlier error of Past Perfect has been taken care of.
(D)As per 'VAN' rule Verb Adjective/Adverb and then Noun.We have a verb that is there in the option C also "than that which was" is totally confusing
(E)Same as D.Also "than that" is not properly construct

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27 Jul 2012, 16:27
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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.'
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2012, 09:05
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.'

Hi,

Although I choose C, but I am always confused while choosing Gerund.

In Between C & D, please explain which is better "Evidence Suggesting" or "evidence that Suggests" and why?

Please let me know if there is any article on this topic so kindly let me know.

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2012, 10:37
suggesting is not playing a role of verb+ing modifier then can we use two verbs in the same independent clause ?
with subject-scientist verb 1 -digging, verb 2- suggesting ?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2012, 07:20
thevenus wrote:
suggesting is not playing a role of verb+ing modifier then can we use two verbs in the same independent clause ?
with subject-scientist verb 1 -digging, verb 2- suggesting ?

Yes indeed it is the modifier(present participle) modifying evidence Just before it.

Just to add this discussion- Emergence(noun) emerged(verb ) flipped in different ans choices ..
please keep an eye for shorter forms that is verb . Maxm chances verb form sentences will be correct.

I have doubt .. Is "a much" is wrong? should we always use 'Much'.
A much better way than.... Is it correct ?
much better way than... . Is this correct.?
if both are correct which one to prefer.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2013, 07:22
"that" is used to compare 2 different nouns, so it has to be used in paralel structure. "that" is never used as stand alone pronoun
"it" is used to compare the same noun at different context.

so

"that which" is never correct on gmat. remember this mechanically .
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2013, 09:38
"that" pronoun is used to refer to a noun different from prevous noun and is used in paralel pattern. When parallel pattern can be tolerate, "that" must be refer to a noun clearly.

in D and E, there is no parallel pattern and it is not clear "that " refer to which noun. this is the real reason which makes D and E wrong.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2013, 02:10
Modifier error- digging... followed be 'who is doing the digging'- scientists. Then look out for the best answer choice. C is the best
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 08:57
parallel phrase make pronoun "that" clear and unambiguous. "that" can be used in non parallel stucture if the context make "that" unambiguous. There is one gmatprep question which show this acceptable non parallel pharase.

in D and E "that" is ambiguous.

so, be carefull of "that" pronoun and never underestimate the og and gmatprep problem. some questions seam to contradict one another but the are beautiful terriblly.

now, I am highly interested in discussion of official problem. the bad news is that gmat force us to infer the rule.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2013, 21:26
I am curious to know that if I change option (E) as explained below would that be correct then:

Original:
scientists have gathered evidence which
suggests a much earlier emergence of complex
life-forms than that

Modified:
scientists have gathered evidence,which
suggests a much earlier emergence of complex
life-forms than that

As comparisons are killing me these days, I want to clarify this doubt

emergence ~= that (emergence) previously thought .

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11 Sep 2013, 01:52
I think that "than that..." in D and E is correct because "that" can refer to "emergence" which is a noun.

however, "that" is used is parallel pattern normally.

the book on the table and that on the chair are mine.

"that" in D and E is not in parallel pattern and so, is not prefered. "that" in D and E can be acceptable and can appear in OA in other sc problems if there is no better choices in those questions . So, do not think that "that" in unparallel pattern is wrong immediately.

in this sc problem, C is better and we can avoid "that" in unparallel pattern . we can eliminate D and E

I see that in many cases, a pattern is OA is some sc problems but is eliminate in other sc problems. This is problem of PREFERENCE not problem of absolute grammar rules.

is my thinking correct? pls comment.
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25 Oct 2013, 08:27
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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
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a
much earlier emergence of complex life-forms
(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

@ e-GMAT,
Please clarify the doubts I've on this question -

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

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

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28 Oct 2013, 09:24
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bagdbmba 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

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. 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).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

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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31 Oct 2013, 10:54
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
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02 Nov 2013, 23:35
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mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba 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

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. 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).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

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

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02 Nov 2013, 23:47
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.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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03 Nov 2013, 05:32
mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba 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

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. 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).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,

I haven't seen any consideration for the fact the D and E use "evidence suggesting" instead of the phrase in C.
Is this phrase acceptable?
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2013, 15:54
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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
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2013, 15:57
ronr34 wrote:
Hi Mike,
I haven't seen any consideration for the fact the D and E use "evidence suggesting" instead of the phrase in C.
Is this phrase acceptable?

Dear ronr34,
That wasn't discussed because all of these are appropriate modifiers:
...evidence suggesting X.
...evidence that suggests X.
...evidence, which suggest X.

All three of those constructions are perfectly correct. For more on participial modifiers, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/participle ... -the-gmat/
Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been   [#permalink] 04 Nov 2013, 15:57

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