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# I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would

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I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2009, 11:19
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I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would appreciate some help.

From my understanding,THAT modifies the noun immediately preceding it... is this correct?
Or should THAT modify subject immediately preceding it?

Ex.
Aho, a Kiowa matriarch, held festivals in her home THAT featured the preparation of great quantities of food..... <<<< Use of THAT is confusing here as it is not clear whether THAT refers to 'home' or 'festivals'.

"The city allocated $150million to cover the increase in wages THAT it expected to approve....." <<<< this sentence is correct but I use my THAT rule and got confused whether THAT is modifying "wages" or "increase". If THAT needs to modify noun immediately preceding it, then THAT modifies 'wages' here, if THAT needs to modify subject, then it modifies 'the increase'. Can the same rule be applied to the use of WHICH? What does WHICH modify, the subject or the noun preceding it? My understanding is that WHICH modifies the subject of the clause preceding it. What do I write in my GMAT grammar rules? PLEASE HELP If you have any questions you can ask an expert New! Founder Joined: 04 Dec 2002 Posts: 14911 Location: United States (WA) GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42 GPA: 3.5 Followers: 3951 Kudos [?]: 25096 [0], given: 4746 That and Which use in Clauses [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2009, 12:43 Expert's post 1 This post was BOOKMARKED I don't think your question can easily be answered. It is a bit more complicated than that - it really depends if you have two independent clauses joined together with a "that" or if you have just a sentence with an additional noun that happens to use a "that". Also, more often than not, GMAT will test a VPR (Vague Pronoun Reference) error by throwing that or it, making the explanations even more confusing. Here is a primer on the use of that from the best source I have found so far - TOEFL Cliff's Book. Here is a quick summary of the rules: 1. Relative Clauses A relative clause is used to form one sentence from two separate sentences. The relative pronoun replaces one of two identical noun phrases and relates the clauses to each other. The relative pronouns are: - that - which - who - whom - whose Remember that a sentence with relative clause can always be reduced to two sentences, so each clause must contain a verb Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses (that) A relative clause can be either restrictive or nonrestrictive. A restrictive clause is one that cannot be omitted from a sentence if the sentence is to keep its original meaning. A nonrestrictive clause contains additional information which is not required to give the meaning of the sentence. A nonrestrictive clause is set off from the other clause by commas and restrictive clause is not. Who, whom, and which can be used in a restrictive or nonrestrictive clauses. That can be used only in restrictive clauses. Normally, that is the preferred word to use in a restrictive clause, although which is acceptable. TOEFL does not test the use of which and that in restrictive clauses. Examples of restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses: Restrictive: Weeds that float to the surface should be removed before they decay. (We are not speaking of all weeds, only those that float to the surface. Thus the sentence is restrictive; if "that float to the surface" were omitted, the sentence would have a different meaning.) Nonrestrictive: My car, which is very large, uses too much gasoline (The fact that my car is very large is additional information and not important to the rest of the sentence. Notice that it is not impossible to use the pronoun that in place of which in this sentence) Examples of relative clauses: Hurricanes that are born off the coast of Africa often prove to be the most deadly. Film that has been exposed to X rays often produces poor photographs. That - Other Uses * Optional: the word that has several uses besides its use in relative clauses. One such use is as a conjunction. Sometimes when that is used as a conjunction it is optional, and sometimes it is obligatory. That is usually optional after the following verbs: - Say - Tell - Think - Believe * Obligatory: That is usually obligatory after the following verbs when introducing another clause: - Mention - Declare - Report - State * That Clauses: some clauses, generally introduced by noun phrases, also contain that. These clauses are reversible. E.g. It is well known that many residents of third world countries are dying. OR That many residents of third world countries are dying is well known. Subjunctive The subjunctive in English is the simple form of the verb when used after certain verbs indicating that one person wants another person to do something. The word that must always appear in subjunctive sentences. If it is omited, most of the verbs are followed by the infinitive We urge that you leave now. We urge you to leave now. The following verbs require that after them Advise, ask, command, decree, demand, insist, move, order, prefer, propose, commend, request, require, stipulate, suggest, urge The following structure applies: Code: Subject + Verb + that + subject + [verb in simple form] Also, a similar rule applies after impresonal expressions with the same meaning as the above verbs. The adjectives that fit into this formula include the following: Advised, important, mandatory, necessary, obligatory, proposed, recommended, required, suggested, urgent, impreative The following structure applies: Code: It + be + adjective + that + subject + [verb in simple form] E.g. It is necessary that he find the books. Note that it is not finds Source: TOEFL Cliff's Book. _________________ Founder of GMAT Club US News Rankings progression - last 10 years in a snapshot - New! Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... Need GMAT Book Recommendations? Best GMAT Books Co-author of the GMAT Club tests Founder Joined: 04 Dec 2002 Posts: 14911 Location: United States (WA) GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42 GPA: 3.5 Followers: 3951 Kudos [?]: 25096 [0], given: 4746 Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2009, 13:00 kukulkan wrote: I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would appreciate some help. From my understanding,THAT modifies the noun immediately preceding it... is this correct? Or should THAT modify subject immediately preceding it? Ex. Aho, a Kiowa matriarch, held festivals in her home THAT featured the preparation of great quantities of food..... <<<< Use of THAT is confusing here as it is not clear whether THAT refers to 'home' or 'festivals'. "The city allocated$150million to cover the increase in wages THAT it expected to approve....." <<<< this sentence is correct but I use my THAT rule and got confused whether THAT is modifying "wages" or "increase". If THAT needs to modify noun immediately preceding it, then THAT modifies 'wages' here, if THAT needs to modify subject, then it modifies 'the increase'.

Can the same rule be applied to the use of WHICH? What does WHICH modify, the subject or the noun preceding it? My understanding is that WHICH modifies the subject of the clause preceding it.

What do I write in my GMAT grammar rules?

I would say increase in wages that is also vague.
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Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2009, 15:32
As bb said, THAT has various applications. The examples you brought use one of these applications.
kukulkan wrote:
Aho, a Kiowa matriarch, held festivals in her home THAT featured the preparation of great quantities of food..... <<<< Use of THAT is confusing here as it is not clear whether THAT refers to 'home' or 'festivals'.

THAT clause here is modifying "home". If it were to modify "festivals", the sentence would have to be written "...held in her home festivals THAT...."
Quote:
"The city allocated $150million to cover the increase in wages THAT it expected to approve....." <<<< this sentence is correct but I use my THAT rule and got confused whether THAT is modifying "wages" or "increase". If THAT needs to modify noun immediately preceding it, then THAT modifies 'wages' here, if THAT needs to modify subject, then it modifies 'the increase'. Again, THAT clause is clearly modifying "wages" here. Intern Joined: 03 Jan 2009 Posts: 11 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0 Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2009, 16:20 Thanks bb. No offence but I am aware of general uses of THAT... restrictive vs. non-restrictive etc. This explanation can easily be found in almost all Grammar resources. But, nowhere could I find the use of THAT as a modifier, modifying subject or noun preceding it. Also, you said the use of THAT in "the increase in wages that..." is confusing, which I am doubtful. I showed this sentence to a few people in my office and everyone picked the correct answer... with THAT modifying "the increase". I would probably have picked it too, but only because I did "Kiwo..." question first and noted use of THAT referred there in my notes, I got confused and thought of posting my querry here to get some explanation. boti- THAT actually modifies 'increase' in the sentence and not the wages. Hope some grammar expert will throw some light on this. No offence bb and boti, I truly appreciate your input. Founder Joined: 04 Dec 2002 Posts: 14911 Location: United States (WA) GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42 GPA: 3.5 Followers: 3951 Kudos [?]: 25096 [0], given: 4746 Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2009, 20:27 kukulkan wrote: Thanks bb. No offence but I am aware of general uses of THAT... restrictive vs. non-restrictive etc. This explanation can easily be found in almost all Grammar resources. But, nowhere could I find the use of THAT as a modifier, modifying subject or noun preceding it. Also, you said the use of THAT in "the increase in wages that..." is confusing, which I am doubtful. I showed this sentence to a few people in my office and everyone picked the correct answer... with THAT modifying "the increase". I would probably have picked it too, but only because I did "Kiwo..." question first and noted use of THAT referred there in my notes, I got confused and thought of posting my querry here to get some explanation. boti- THAT actually modifies 'increase' in the sentence and not the wages. Hope some grammar expert will throw some light on this. No offence bb and boti, I truly appreciate your input. You are asking a style question rather than grammar - there is no rule which object/noun is modified by THAT - there may be 1, 2, 3, etc nouns modified by THAT. What matters on the gmat is that the sentence is clear and has proper style. The only difference between the two sentence that i can think is: festivals and home - 2 objects (unclear which is modified as either can be) increase in wages - 1 compound object and therefore modified by THAT (increase is not the subject of the sentence, however. City is the subject.). _________________ Founder of GMAT Club US News Rankings progression - last 10 years in a snapshot - New! Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... Need GMAT Book Recommendations? Best GMAT Books Co-author of the GMAT Club tests Founder Joined: 04 Dec 2002 Posts: 14911 Location: United States (WA) GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42 GPA: 3.5 Followers: 3951 Kudos [?]: 25096 [0], given: 4746 Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2009, 20:31 kukulkan wrote: This explanation can easily be found in almost all Grammar resources. By the way, would be great if you could post some links to a few GOOD grammar resources. _________________ Founder of GMAT Club US News Rankings progression - last 10 years in a snapshot - New! Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... Need GMAT Book Recommendations? Best GMAT Books Co-author of the GMAT Club tests Intern Joined: 03 Jan 2009 Posts: 11 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0 Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2009, 21:22 bb, the following link is one of the best in my books. You can almost find anything that you are looking for- not just for GMAT purposes, but for general writing, etc. This is a terrific collection of online resources. I have no doubt that you and probably most of the forum members already know about this source. http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/res ... rammar.htm once in, you can choose from American Heritage site, Darling's guide, common errors in english, and many more from the collection. VP Joined: 15 Jul 2004 Posts: 1457 Schools: Wharton (R2 - submitted); HBS (R2 - submitted); IIMA (admitted for 1 year PGPX) Followers: 22 Kudos [?]: 195 [0], given: 13 Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink] ### Show Tags 24 Nov 2009, 22:46 Am taking the liberty to dig out an old post that carries an important subject which has been discussed numerous times. Till date, I haven't found an authentic answer (from GMAT's point of view in particular). Has anyone been able to come up with authentic GMAT-approved synopsis regarding the subject raised herein? kukulkan wrote: I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would appreciate some help. From my understanding,THAT modifies the noun immediately preceding it... is this correct? Or should THAT modify subject immediately preceding it? Ex. Aho, a Kiowa matriarch, held festivals in her home THAT featured the preparation of great quantities of food..... <<<< Use of THAT is confusing here as it is not clear whether THAT refers to 'home' or 'festivals'. "The city allocated$150million to cover the increase in wages THAT it expected to approve....." <<<< this sentence is correct but I use my THAT rule and got confused whether THAT is modifying "wages" or "increase". If THAT needs to modify noun immediately preceding it, then THAT modifies 'wages' here, if THAT needs to modify subject, then it modifies 'the increase'.

Can the same rule be applied to the use of WHICH? What does WHICH modify, the subject or the noun preceding it? My understanding is that WHICH modifies the subject of the clause preceding it.

What do I write in my GMAT grammar rules?

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Re: Use of "That".... as a modifier [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2009, 00:31
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kukulkan wrote:
bb, the following link is one of the best in my books. You can almost find anything that you are looking for- not just for GMAT purposes, but for general writing, etc. This is a terrific collection of online resources.

http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/res ... rammar.htm

once in, you can choose from American Heritage site, Darling's guide, common errors in english, and many more from the collection.

This is tricky. You're wrong when you say "that" modifies the noun immediately preceding it. Here's how it works.

Suppose the following structure

NOUN1 + PREPOSITION + NOUN2 + THAT

Here that can refer either to NOUN1 or to NOUN2, only using the context and the verb you'll know to which one that refers. The same reasoning can be applied to which. However, looking at examples in OFFICIAL PROBLEMS I've noticed the following pattern

if you have NOUN1 + PREPOSITION + NOUN2 + THAT normally that refers to NOUN1
here are some examples extracted from OFFICIAL PROBLEMS (I'm writing this in capitals because it is the resource you should mainly use in SC)

Problem 116 OG 11
Out of America's fascination with all things antique has grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that is bringing

GMAT prep sentence
dolphins are more closely related to some of the oldest known even-toed ungulates—a group of hoofed mammals that today includes cows, camels, pigs, and hippos

Problem 34 verbal review second edition
people tend to overestimate the amount of energy used by visible equipment, such as lights, that must be turned on and off

an exception to this pattern is the structure

one of X that ... here that refers to X

a higher interest rate is only one of the factors that keep

look for more sentences among official resources.

On the other hand if you have a sentence with the following structure

NOUN1 + PREPOSITION + NOUN2, WHICH

normally which refers to noun2. This is the common situation that appears in most problems. However is possible that which refers to noun 1 without the comma. Look at the following GMAT prep sentence

Changes in sea level result not only from changes in water temperature, which affect water density, but also from the melting of glaciers

you don't have a problem here because changes is plural and the verb affect agrees with it.

To sum up, although in general that refers to the preceding noun, there are some exceptions especially when the preceding noun comes in a prepositional phrase.

let me know if this makes sense
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Re: I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would [#permalink]

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06 Jul 2014, 09:38
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would [#permalink]

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20 Apr 2016, 03:29
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: I am a bit confused about the use of 'that' and would   [#permalink] 20 Apr 2016, 03:29
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