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# In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from

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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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unraveled wrote:
MartyTargetTestPrep wrote:
darshak1 wrote:
Shouldn't VERB+ING agree with the subject of the preceding clause when seperated by the comma?

OG itself has eliminated several options by stating that the verbing is not agreeing with the subject of the clause.

Here, option C, tries to convey that "a large area of the surface of the Mercury" did the act of revealing.

What you are saying is absolutely correct. When a participial phrase follows a clause + comma, ideally, that phrase would have as its agent the subject of the preceding clause. So, read literally, the version created via the use of (C) is nonsensical.

Of course, the others are even worse. Soooo, you have to choose (C).

What can we learn from seeing this question? We can learn that the official answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions are not always without flaws. So, sometimes we have to figure out which choice the question writer thought to be the best choice - lame, I realize, but that's the way it is. Since, in this case, all of the other choices have blatant comparison related errors, along with, in some cases, modification errors, (C), with no comparison error and and a somewhat subtle modification error is the one to choose.

MartyTargetTestPrep
Here's C

In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, revealing a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon.

I get your point but isn't C in passive voice. So, isn't "a large area of the surface of the Mercury" the object? Isn't
A participial phrase that follows a clause + comma does either of the two things:
1. modify main noun(subject)
2. modify the whole preceding clause.
Here in C the 2nd one is being done.
The meaning is actually that the "act of photographing" revealed(an unintentional action) the degree of cratering.

Sorry for the tag.

The act of photographing is not mentioned. We can all tell what the sentence is meant to convey, but if we go by how modifiers work, while that closing participial phrase modifies the preceding clause, it should have an agent in the preceding clause, and the only possible agent is "a large area of the surface of Mercury."
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Gnpth wrote:
In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s.

(A) which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s

(B) to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon

(C) revealing a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon

(D) and revealed cratering similar in degree to the Moon

(E) that revealed cratering similar in degree to that of the Moon

Want to understand how is option C correct,
The usage of ing modifier preceded by a comma is supposed to be modifying the preceding clause and depicts the cause and effect
Here the subject is large area of the surface so the modifier doesn't seem to make much sense here

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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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Manisha_1991 wrote:
Gnpth wrote:
In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s.

(A) which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s

(B) to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon

(C) revealing a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon

(D) and revealed cratering similar in degree to the Moon

(E) that revealed cratering similar in degree to that of the Moon

Want to understand how is option C correct,
The usage of ing modifier preceded by a comma is supposed to be modifying the preceding clause and depicts the cause and effect
Here the subject is large area of the surface so the modifier doesn't seem to make much sense here

Check here:

'revealing ...' is a present participle modifier modifying the entire preceding clause 'large area ... was photographed from varying distances'.
This 'photographing' led to the reveal.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Gnpth wrote:
In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s.

(A) which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s

(B) to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon

(C) revealing a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon

(D) and revealed cratering similar in degree to the Moon

(E) that revealed cratering similar in degree to that of the Moon

To whom is "which" referring to in option A ? imo It's area ( as it was photographed -verb and area would be the subject for that )
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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penco wrote:
To whom is "which" referring to in option A ? imo It's area

Yeah..either area or the photograph, but definitely not distances, as suggested by A.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Hi i would like Gmat Ninja to reply to this post-

1. In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon???s

In this question, you???d see ???official guide??? mentions that the use of ???which is correct??? but how can that be correct? Which refers to the preceding noun right? It never refers to the preceding clause/never modifies an action and even if you study the meaning of the sentence, the second half of this sentence explains the ???result??? aspect of the preceding clause, and hence ???verb-ing??? fits correctly here (hence the right answer is C). But why does the official guide says that ???use of which is correct???. It shouldn???t be no?
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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mk96 wrote:
Hi i would like Gmat Ninja to reply to this post-

1. In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon???s

In this question, you???d see ???official guide??? mentions that the use of ???which is correct??? but how can that be correct? Which refers to the preceding noun right? It never refers to the preceding clause/never modifies an action and even if you study the meaning of the sentence, the second half of this sentence explains the ???result??? aspect of the preceding clause, and hence ???verb-ing??? fits correctly here (hence the right answer is C). But why does the official guide says that ???use of which is correct???. It shouldn???t be no?

This is an excellent reminder for why we want to take these official explanations with a grain of salt. For starters, remember that the folks who write these explanations are not the same ones who write the questions themselves.

Just as importantly: because some explanations contradict others, it's not clear how we could them as prescriptive guides for evaluating answer choices even if we wanted to. There are dozens of instances in which an official explanation insists that the use of "which" is faulty because it lacks a clear or logical antecedent. But if it's true that "which" can modify an entire clause, how would the antecedent ever be clear? Wouldn't we constantly be agonizing over whether it refers to a single noun or a full clause? How would we know? Seems like a problem.

So here are our options:

(A) We can continue to evaluate "which" the same way we always have, namely, asking ourselves whether there is a noun or noun phrase in the vicinity that it could logically describe. Or...
(B) Every time we see the word "which" on the GMAT, we can panic and spiral into an existential crisis in which we agonize over whether this is one of those rare cases when "which" could potentially modify anything, a noun or a full clause.

If we consider that we've almost never seen a single correct answer to an official question that uses "which" without any logical noun it could refer to, and that the official explanations sometimes contradict each other, I think it's a pretty safe bet that the first option is the way to go here. And if, after evaluating a "which," you're still not sure whether it's used correctly, you can simply move on to other issues you feel more confident about.

I hope that eases your mind a bit!
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
I'll put the Official explanation below for the benefit of all.

OE:
Logical predication; Parallelism
This sentence’s second clause, expressing what the imaging of Mercury
showed, must be linked to the first clause in a grammatically correct
way. This is best done either by an appositive relative clause (requiring
the relative marker which), or by a clause starting with a nonfinite verb
(to reveal or revealing). Also, whatever is said to be similar to a degree of
cratering (on Mercury) should also be a degree of cratering (on the
Moon); this must be expressed clearly.
A. The use of which is correct, but that of the Moon’s is inferior to that
of the Moon, because the possessive ’s and that of the redundantly
express the same idea. That of the Moon’s appears to refer,
illogically, to cratering of some unspecified thing that belongs to the
Moon, not cratering of the Moon itself.
B. To reveal is acceptable, but to the Moon incorrectly compares a
physical entity (the Moon) to a degree of cratering.
C. Correct. Revealing is a good way to start the second clause, and to
that of the Moon properly contrasts two degrees of cratering.
D. And is incorrect as a way to introduce the second clause; to the
Moon makes the wrong sort of comparison.
E. That is not the correct way to introduce an appositive relative
clause. That is typically used restrictively, whereas the comma
preceding it makes the ensuing clause nonrestrictive. This leaves the
meaning unclear.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
dcummins wrote:
I understand why C is correct, but I didn't understand why A was incorrect so I selected A initially. Then I read the OG and I now understand that the reason C is correct is the same reason A is incorrect.

(A) "which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon$$'s$$"

The comma + which modifier is correctly used.
However we have a redundancy error caused by the conflict between the relative pronoun "that" and possessive "Moon's".

Substitution will make this easier to see:
, "which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that (cratering) of the Moon's (cratering)" - it's hard to see without substitution, but it's logical to conclude (A) is redundant.

(C) "revealing a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon"

This is correct and here are the rules you need to understand to see this :
Verb-ing modifier:
- If separated by comma, modifies preceding clause and associates with the subject
- If separated by comma, modifies the following clause or modifies only the subject
- If not separated by comma, modifies the noun

That is a relative pronoun that has a number of rules but here are the ones relevant to this:
- Relative pronouns must be placed close to the noun they modify otherwise it will be incorrect:
- substitute the antecedent for the relative pronoun to confirm agreement and meaning

I have confusion between C and E.
My concern since the subject of passive tense is large area , how it could be revealing degree of cratering.
It must be the photographs of area that must have revealed some facts. Thus I rejected option C and had to pick E.
Where my reasoning is wrong . kindly advise.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Why can't 'which' be modifying 'photographed' ?

Thank you
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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saliak wrote:
Why can't 'which' be modifying 'photographed' ?

This is because "which" is a pronoun and hence, can only refer to nouns (because this is what pronouns do ).

"Photographed" is not a noun.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Why is (A) wrong here ? why is comma + which wrong here ?
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Bhati89 wrote:
Why is (A) wrong here ? why is comma + which wrong here ?

This is because which seems to be modifying (referring to) "varying distances" and this clearly does not make sense.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses modifier issues with "which", their application and examples in significant detail. If you or someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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Bhati89 wrote:
Why is (A) wrong here ? why is comma + which wrong here ?

Hello Bhati89,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your query, the use of the "comma + which" construction is incorrect in Option A because it causes the modifier "which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s" to refer directly to the noun "distances", illogically implying that the distances from which the surface of Mercury was photographed revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon; the intended meaning is that the surface of Mercury was photographed, and as a result, a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon was revealed; remember, when “which” is preceded by a comma, it refers to the noun immediately before the comma.

Option C conveys the correct meaning through the "comma + present participle ("verb+ing" - "revealing" in this sentence)" construction; remember, the introduction of the present participle ("verb+ing"- “revealing” in this case) after comma generally leads to a cause-effect relationship.

We hope this helps.
All the best!
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In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
Dear MartyTargetTestPrep

In option B

In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s.

(B) to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon

While the comparison error was easy to find, I am confused about the correctness of "to reveal" here

Correct me if am wrong.

Here, to reveal is acting as an "adverb" and modifying the action "was photographed" so it is not gramtically incorrect to say
"In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon."
and the only error is in the meaning and comparison.
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Re: In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from [#permalink]
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devil.rocx wrote:
Dear MartyTargetTestPrep

In option B

In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s.

(B) to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon

While the comparison error was easy to find, I am confused about the correctness of "to reveal" here

Correct me if am wrong.

Here, to reveal is acting as an "adverb" and modifying the action "was photographed" so it is not gramtically incorrect to say
"In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon."
and the only error is in the meaning and comparison.

The "to reveal" version of the sentence is indeed grammatically correct, and it uses a structure that is accepted in English, even though, when read literally, it conveys a meaning that doesn't make sense.

In English it is acceptable to use the following type of structure.

"X was y to z," where "was y" is a passive voice verb and "to z" is the purpose of the "y" action.

So, in this case, "a large area ... was photographed ... to reveal a degree of cratering," is acceptable even though, if read literally, it seems to convey that "a large area" had a purpose when it "was photographed," which purpose was "to reveal a degree of cratering."

People do not read such sentences literally. Rather they ascribe the "to z" purpose to the unnamed actor who performed the "y" action on "x."

So, in this case, "to reveal a degree of cratering" is understood to have been the purpose of the people who photographed the area of the surface of Mercury.

So, short answer, yes, only the comparison is clearly incorrect in that version.
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devil.rocx wrote:
Dear MartyTargetTestPrep

In option B

In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, which revealed a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon’s.

(B) to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon

While the comparison error was easy to find, I am confused about the correctness of "to reveal" here

Correct me if am wrong.

Here, to reveal is acting as an "adverb" and modifying the action "was photographed" so it is not gramtically incorrect to say
"In 1974 a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed from varying distances, to reveal a degree of cratering similar to the Moon."
and the only error is in the meaning and comparison.

Hello devil.rocx,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your query, your reasoning here is, indeed, correct; the use of "to reveal" in Option B is grammatically correct and does convey a logical meaning - the infinitive verb ("to + base form of verb") acts upon the verb "photographed" to convey a sense of purpose behind the action; remember, the infinitive verb form is the preferred construction for referring to the purpose/intent of an action.

The error produced by this usage is that it changes the meaning; Option B implies that a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed in order to reveal a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon; the intended meaning is that a large area of the surface of Mercury was photographed, and as a result, a degree of cratering similar to that of the Moon was revealed; remember, the introduction of the present participle ("verb+ing"- “revealing” in this case) after comma generally leads to a cause-effect relationship.

To understand the concept of "Infinitive" vs "Present Participle" on GMAT, you may want to watch the following video (~2 minutes):

All the best!
Experts' Global Team
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