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# Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase?

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Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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28 Dec 2012, 13:49
Hi All,

Which vs That

I know that which has to modify the word placed right before it and it can not modify a phrase.

Can that modify a phrase?

From OG Question 96 from the SC section

Floating in the waters of the equatorial Pacific, an array of buoys collects and transmits data on longterm interactions between the ocean andthe
atmosphere, interactions that affect global climate.
(A) atmosphere, interactions that affect
(B) atmosphere, with interactions affecting
(C) atmosphere that affects
(D) atmosphere that is affecting
(E) atmosphere as affects

However, could the answer be C if affects is changed to affect?
Floating in the waters of the equatorial Pacific, an array of buoys collects and transmits data on longterm interactions between the ocean and the
atmosphere "that affect"

Can "that" modify interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere or can that only modify the noun immediately preceding it - in this case atmosphere?

Thanks a lot.
If you have any questions
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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31 Dec 2012, 04:17
Choice (C) is incorrect as "that" refers to Atmosphere rather than Interactions. Per intended meaning, Interactions are affecting the global climate, note just the atmosphere.

For further help on THAT vs WHICH, watch below video from GMAT-Pill:
http://www.gmatpill.com/presentations/f ... lesson.mp4
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2013, 04:03
monikajudd wrote:
Hi All,

Which vs That

I know that which has to modify the word placed right before it and it can not modify a phrase.

Can that modify a phrase?

From OG Question 96 from the SC section

Floating in the waters of the equatorial Pacific, an array of buoys collects and transmits data on longterm interactions between the ocean andthe
atmosphere, interactions that affect global climate.
(A) atmosphere, interactions that affect
(B) atmosphere, with interactions affecting
(C) atmosphere that affects
(D) atmosphere that is affecting
(E) atmosphere as affects

However, could the answer be C if affects is changed to affect?
Floating in the waters of the equatorial Pacific, an array of buoys collects and transmits data on longterm interactions between the ocean and the
atmosphere "that affect"

Can "that" modify interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere or can that only modify the noun immediately preceding it - in this case atmosphere?

Thanks a lot.

I would also like to know if 'that' can refer to interactions if affects is changed to affect.

Also, isnt A an absolute phrase??
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2013, 09:00
1
KUDOS
No 'that' here can not refer to interactions.
that pretty much functions like a which (for this kind of usage)

yes it is an absolute phrase.
use with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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18 Jan 2013, 22:10
jumsumtak wrote:
No 'that' here can not refer to interactions.
that pretty much functions like a which (for this kind of usage)

yes it is an absolute phrase.
use with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html

why can't that refer to interactions if the verb affects is changed to affect.. as affect can't now refer to the singular atmosphere.
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2013, 00:13
Sachin9 wrote:
jumsumtak wrote:
No 'that' here can not refer to interactions.
that pretty much functions like a which (for this kind of usage)

yes it is an absolute phrase.
use with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html

why can't that refer to interactions if the verb affects is changed to affect.. as affect can't now refer to the singular atmosphere.

I see what you are saying here. Valid concern.

see if this helps.
http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/usa ... 15311.html

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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2013, 00:23
jumsumtak wrote:
Sachin9 wrote:
jumsumtak wrote:
No 'that' here can not refer to interactions.
that pretty much functions like a which (for this kind of usage)

yes it is an absolute phrase.
use with-surface-temperatures-estimated-at-minus-230-degrees-143219.html

why can't that refer to interactions if the verb affects is changed to affect.. as affect can't now refer to the singular atmosphere.

I see what you are saying here. Valid concern.

see if this helps.
http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/usa ... 15311.html

I guess it can refer to interactions.. But it would be better if some expert confirms on this..
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2013, 00:46
1
KUDOS
I stand corrected.
'That' does not function like 'which', in that it can be slightly away from the noun it modifies. And from that logic it can modify interactions here. (after interactions there is a "mission critical" modifier)

right. something new !
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2013, 14:12
2
KUDOS
monikajudd wrote:
Hi All,

Which vs That

I know that which has to modify the word placed right before it and it can not modify a phrase.

Can that modify a phrase?

From OG Question 96 from the SC section

Floating in the waters of the equatorial Pacific, an array of buoys collects and transmits data on longterm interactions between the ocean andthe
atmosphere, interactions that affect global climate.
(A) atmosphere, interactions that affect
(B) atmosphere, with interactions affecting
(C) atmosphere that affects
(D) atmosphere that is affecting
(E) atmosphere as affects

However, could the answer be C if affects is changed to affect?
Floating in the waters of the equatorial Pacific, an array of buoys collects and transmits data on longterm interactions between the ocean and the
atmosphere "that affect"

Can "that" modify interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere or can that only modify the noun immediately preceding it - in this case atmosphere?

Thanks a lot.

This could help
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2013, 16:35
2
KUDOS
So...if we ignore the verb form here (i.e. whether it is 'affect' or 'affects'), then how to decide that 'that' refers to whether 'interactions' or 'atmosphere'??
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase? [#permalink]

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12 Nov 2013, 13:28
neoB wrote:
So...if we ignore the verb form here (i.e. whether it is 'affect' or 'affects'), then how to decide that 'that' refers to whether 'interactions' or 'atmosphere'??

Interesting discussion here. Let's step back and look at the big picture with regarding modifiers. You have Noun Modifiers and Adverbial Modifiers. As the name suggests, Noun Modifiers modify nouns. With few exceptions, Noun Modifiers must "touch" the noun they modify. Those few exceptions are "mission critical modifiers" as was mentioned in an earlier post. Here is an example of a mission critical modifier - "Picasso's works of art, which are displayed in museums around the globe, are all priceless". The modifier is "which are displayed..." but this modifier does not modify art - the noun the modifier is touching. The modifier skips over the mission critical modifier "of art" to modify "Picasso's works". For the most part, these mission critical modifiers are very short and they are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to Noun Modifiers.

You are asking how to decide whether that refers to "interactions" or "atmosphere". Both of these are nouns, so we are left with the Noun Modifier "touch rule", resulting in "that" incorrectly modifying "atmosphere". You could try to make an argument that "between the ocean and the atmosphere" is mission critical, but it's awfully long to be a mission critical modifier. Also, it doesn't have the same level of criticality as "works of art". That said, you can see that the writers of the GMAT understand that this could be a point of confusion, so they introduced a S/V agreement error to invalidate answer choice C.

In general, the "touch" rule for noun modifiers will be a great source of eliminations for you on modifier problems.

KW
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Re: Modifier "that" - can it modify a phrase?   [#permalink] 12 Nov 2013, 13:28
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