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# In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by

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Manager
Joined: 26 Mar 2017
Posts: 164

Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 1

Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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11 Jun 2017, 02:32
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
_________________

I hate long and complicated explanations!

Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 1

Intern
Joined: 06 Dec 2016
Posts: 10

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 18

Location: India
Schools: ISB '18
GMAT 1: 710 Q51 V35
GPA: 3.5
WE: Engineering (Energy and Utilities)
Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2017, 23:12
mikemcgarry wrote:
AmanKidCACS wrote:
Hey mikemcgarry, Another great explanation.

Of course I spotted the " ,which " here.

Wanted to understand a bit about the " -ING modifiers" - If there is an "ING word" following a Noun without a COMMA, does it mean to modify the NOUN ? I have read that we need a COMMA ING word if we want to use it as a participle. Do you have any resources that will help me understand this?

Thanks

Dear AmanKidCACS,

I'm happy to respond.

Here's what I am going to say. It is is impossible, impossible, to attain GMAT SC mastery by assembling some ideal list of rules. The Chinese sage Laozi said: "The Way that can be put into words is not the true Way." While this might be more relevant for big questions of destiny and life meaning, there is a sense in which it says something deep about GMAT SC. There are multiple elements of SC mastery that cannot be formulated tersely as rules. For example, as I have mentioned before, apprehending the meaning of the sentence is more important than figuring out what any comma is doing.

As I believe we have discussed, whether what you are calling the "ING word" is a participle or a gerund or part of a full verb is the first issue. If it is a participle, then it's hard to deduce anything universal from the presence or absence of a comma. Context is everything!

Here's the prompt, which is the OA (A):
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
In that sentence, we have three participles. The first, "entering," clearly modifies the noun that precedes it, "oxygen": the oxygen" is performing the action of "entering the cigarette."
The other two participles, "slowing ... and lowering" are in parallel. These modify the action of the entire clause before the comma. You see, participles can be noun-modifiers or they can be verb-modifiers--modifying the action of a verb or, essentially, the action of an entire clause, since the verb is the heart of any clause.

That's what is happening in this particular sentence, but once again, it's hard to form general rules. I would recommend that you be deeply suspicious of any GMAT prep book that is recommending a ton of rules about SC. Some books make their money by giving students what they ask for rather than what they need.

If you really are committed to improving your verbal performance on the GMAT, I would urge you to cultivate a habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score
Reading is precisely what builds intuition for the language, all those levels of understanding that are subtle & pattern-based rather than clear-cut & rule-based.

Also, I will say that I explain a tremendous amount about GMAT SC in the Magoosh lessons. Here's a free lesson:
Substantive Clauses
Here's a practice SC question:
With American cryptanalysts
When you submit your answer, the following page will have my video explanation. Each one of Magoosh's 1000+ has its own VE: this sort of immediate feedback accelerates the learning process of our students. That's where you would find a compendium of my advice on GMAT SC.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike
I have heard and read that "comma + which" is the correct modifier usage. Then why in the correct OA, "in which" used in the beginning of the highlighted portion is correct.

SS

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 18

Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4426

Kudos [?]: 8450 [1], given: 102

In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 10:31
1
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Expert's post
Ssingh1807 wrote:
Hi Mike
I have heard and read that "comma + which" is the correct modifier usage. Then why in the correct OA, "in which" used in the beginning of the highlighted portion is correct.

SS

Dear Ssingh1807,

I'm happy to respond.

My friend, I am going to chide you. Your question is very much characteristic of someone who has been diligent learning rules but who has done far too little reading. Learning lists of rules will not get you anywhere close to GMAT SC mastery. To learn and understand at a deep level, you need to develop a habit of reading. I recommend this blog:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

I'll briefly discuss this particular rule. If the pronoun "which" is the subject of the subordinate clause, as it often is, then most typically it would immediately follow the target noun modified by the clause. In this case, there is always a comma.
Christiaan Huygens was the first to identify the rings of Saturn, which confused Galileo, who had a less powerful telescope.
Nevertheless, sometimes in more sophisticated writing, the pronoun "which" is object of a preposition within the subordinate clause. In this case, the structure is
[target noun][preposition]"which"[subordinate clause]
I just read the book for which the professor wrote the introduction.
This is not a task of which I am capable.

There is no comma in this construction. Once again, this is a feature of particularly sophisticated and well-spoken language. Most of the American population does not speak in this way. The GMAT, though, represents a very high bar, so these forms are typical of what you could see on the GMAT SC.

I also will recommend these two blogs:
That vs. Which on the GMAT
GMAT Grammar: Vital Noun Modifiers

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Kudos [?]: 8450 [1], given: 102

Intern
Joined: 06 Dec 2016
Posts: 10

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 18

Location: India
Schools: ISB '18
GMAT 1: 710 Q51 V35
GPA: 3.5
WE: Engineering (Energy and Utilities)
Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 19:15
Thanks mike.. i don't mind your chiding; it only helps..

SS

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Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 18

Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2017, 19:15

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