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# Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words

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GMAT Club Verbal Expert
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Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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15 May 2017, 22:24
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In last week’s Topic of the Week, we discussed the GMAT’s many uses of “-ing” words. (If you haven’t already read last week’s article, check it out here.) The quick summary: “-ing” words aren’t usually verbs on GMAT SC questions – they’re usually nouns (also known as gerunds) or modifiers instead. And if you understand why “-ing” words usually aren’t verbs, you can avoid a lot of trouble on GMAT SC.

This week, we’ll tackle “-ing” words’ cousins, “-ed” words. The good news is that there are fewer ways to get confused about “-ed” words on SC questions, but the GMAT still has a couple of funky little tricks up its sleeve.

Two uses of "–ed" words

The nice thing about "–ed" words is that there are really only two ways to use them on the GMAT, and the uses are relatively straightforward. The first: an “-ed” word can be a nice, simple verb, in some form of past tense (“studied”, “had studied”, etc.). And sure, the GMAT gets into some mayhem with verb tenses, but that’s a separate issue for another day.

The second GMAT-approved use of “-ed” words: they can be modifiers (also known as past participles, if you're a fan of grammar jargon). In spirit, these are very similar to “-ing” modifiers: your primary concern is making sure that the “-ed” modifier logically “makes sense” with the noun it modifies. Here are some nice, clear examples:

• Published in New York, Saveur magazine features obscure, exotic cuisines from all over the world. → correct, since Saveur magazine is “published in New York”
• Thrilled with her progress on the GMAT verbal section, the GMAT Club member sent carcass a bouquet of roses to thank him for his wonderful GMAT question banks. → correct, since the GMAT Club member was "thrilled with her progress"

Notice that these “-ed” modifiers have nothing to do with verb tense. Since they’re not verbs, they have no tense – and it’s completely fine to use these “-ed” modifiers in present-tense sentences. So at the very least, be careful not to assume that “-ed” words are always verbs.

Trickier "-ed" modifiers

The two uses of “-ed” words seem clear enough, right? And for many of you, “-ed” modifiers present no challenge at all. If that’s the case for you, awesome! Tune in next week for a completely different GMAT verbal topic.

But even though the concept is clear, some GMAT test-takers really struggle when the GMAT makes the “-ed” modifier “sound good.” See if you can figure out which of the following sentences are right, and which are wrong:

1. Sautéed in butter and capers, the chef prepared an outstanding plate of tilapia this evening.
2. United by admiration for the world’s greatest athlete, LeBron James is worshipped by millions of basketball fans.
3. Weakened by concerns about loose monetary policy, the country’s currency fell to a record low against the dollar.
4. Based on extensive genealogical research, my mother-in-law concluded that I am descended from livestock.

The answer? Only #3 is correct: it makes perfect sense to say that the country’s currency was “weakened by concerns about loose monetary policy.”

The key on these questions is to be incredibly strict and literal when you connect the “-ed” modifier to the noun it modifies. On question #1, you’ll want to ask yourself: does it make sense for the chef to be “sautéed in butter and capers”? On #2, you’ll want to ask yourself: does it make sense for LeBron James to be “united by a shared admiration for the world’s greatest athlete.” And neither of these make sense logically.

Plenty of GMAT test-takers get tripped up on sentences such as #4. That one “sounds fine” to most of us. But if you’re being strict and literal, it doesn’t make logical sense, either: my mother-in-law can’t be “based on extensive genealogical research”. Maybe her report or her conclusion could be “based on extensive research” – but my mother-in-law herself can’t be.

The bottom line: if you find yourself missing any of these examples – or official GMAT SC questions with similar structures – make sure that you’re being mind-numbingly literal with these “-ed” modifiers. And if you want more practice, please keep an eye on souvik101990's magnificent Verbal Question of the Day series over the next couple of weeks.

If you have requests for future verbal Topics of the Week, please feel free to suggest them on this thread, or join us for our weekly Verbal Experts’ Chat at 8 a.m. PST/8:30 p.m. IST on Wednesdays.
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal: RC | CR | SC

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SC articles & resources: How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

RC, CR, and other articles & resources: All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for \$29.99 | Time management on verbal

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Re: Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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18 May 2017, 12:40
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Excellent stuff. How did you know that I had sent carcass a bouquet of roses?
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Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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18 May 2017, 13:15
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This board is amazing not only for people who work on it, knowledge shared and all the rest of it but also because I have always found a perfect balance between teaching and fun.

Both at the same time make easier the task.
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Re: Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2017, 03:33
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Hi GmatNinja,

Appreciate your efforts for sharing the Knowledge and it is equal to answering 1000 question of this type.

I have read your topic on present participles(Verb + ing Modifiers) and also past participles (verb +ed modifier),
Would you please cover one more modifier in GMAT, that is called Noun, Noun Modifier please

Regards
Joepc
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Re: Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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28 Jul 2017, 12:57
joepc wrote:
Hi GmatNinja,

Appreciate your efforts for sharing the Knowledge and it is equal to answering 1000 question of this type.

I have read your topic on present participles(Verb + ing Modifiers) and also past participles (verb +ed modifier),
Would you please cover one more modifier in GMAT, that is called Noun, Noun Modifier please

Regards
Joepc

Thank you for the kind words, joepc! Glad to hear that this stuff is helping.

And I like the idea of adding a Topic of the Week on "noun, noun" modifiers -- I'll add that to the list. Might take us a while to get to it, but it'll make a good topic.

In the meantime, here's a tricky example of one of those modifiers (an "absolute phrase", if you like grammar jargon) in a QOTD that inspired quite a bit of conversation: https://gmatclub.com/forum/qotd-prairie ... 42439.html

Thank you for the suggestion!!
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GMAT/GRE tutor @ www.gmatninja.com (we're hiring!) | GMAT Club Verbal Expert | Instagram | Blog | Bad at PMs

Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal: RC | CR | SC

YouTube LIVE verbal webinars: all videos by topic

SC articles & resources: How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

RC, CR, and other articles & resources: All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for \$29.99 | Time management on verbal

SC & CR Questions of the Day (QOTDs), featuring expert explanations: All QOTDs | Subscribe via email | RSS

Need an expert reply? Hit the request verbal experts' reply button; be specific about your question, and tag @GMATNinja. Priority is always given to official GMAT questions.
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Re: Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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28 Jul 2017, 13:24
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GMATNinja
Thanks a lot for sharing. It is posts like these that further solidify my understanding of GMAT Grammar. No wonder, GMATClub Score estimate now tells me I can score a V51
Kudos! I'm looking forward to next week's post.
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Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words  [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2018, 10:08
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GMATNinja

Quote:
The key on these questions is to be incredibly strict and literal when you connect the “-ed” modifier to the noun it modifies.

Do you recall GMAT testing if -ed modifier modifies complete clause after coma and NOT just noun after the coma in any of OGs?

I am sure -ing modifier does modify complete clause in OG questions.
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Experts’ Topic of the Week, 5/15/17: fun with "-ed" words   [#permalink] 18 Mar 2018, 10:08
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