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# More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20

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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
Can any one please explain what is the problem with D?
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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shalabhg27 wrote:
Can any one please explain what is the problem with D?

Dear shalabhg27,

I'm happy to respond.

Here's version (D):
While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

This is 100% grammatical correct but logically suspect. There is absolutely no grammar problem here. The problem is the strange contrast implied by the word "while." That word is a contrast word, a change-of-direction word, and implies something that might seem contradictory.

Think about the content of the clause: more than 300 rivers drain into it
That is evidence for the fact that there's a lot of water in Lake Baikal.

Then, the main clause tells us that there's a lot of water in Lake Baikal!

There's absolutely no contraction between those ideas: they are completely consistent. Therefore, having the contrast word "while" is completely illogical.

That's the problem with (D), a logical problem, not a grammar problem.

Students frequently have the misconception that the GMAT SC is simply a test of grammar. This a profound underestimation of this question format. The GMAT SC tests grammar, logic, and rhetoric, all of which combine to produce meaning. You always have to be reading the SC sentences at all these levels. The GMAT loves to write incorrect answers that are 100% grammatically correct, to trap all the people who are looking only at grammar and ignoring everything else.

Does all this make sense?
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
jimmyjamesdonkey wrote:
More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(A) More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

(C) Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, it holds more of the world's fresh water than all that of the North American Great Lakes combined, 20 percent.

(D) While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(E) More than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

Please Pay attention to the following Posting Rules.
1) Always post the question in relevant forum. e.g. This question should be posted in SC sub-forum and should not be in General Verbal Forum.
2) Always underline the relevant part of SC question sentence.
3) Always post the question along with OA and if possible mark the appropriate tags.
Thank You.

I think it is hard to know why B is wrong. I will try. all of you, pls, join discussion

the girl with red hat is my friend
with red hat, the girl is my friend

the first is right, "with..." phrase works as adjective.
the second is wrong because "with..." phrase works as adverb and shows the method of main clause. it is not logic because the girl is my friend by means of a red hat.

our choice B is similar. so, B is wrong.

takeaway
in the pattern
with+noun+comma+main clause
with phrase works as an adverb and we need to check this adverbial modification is logic or not.

we alway have to know the grammatical role of entities in the sentence before we justify it is logic or not.

am i correct? pls, comment. I am not confident in this point
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
victory47 wrote:
I think it is hard to know why B is wrong. I will try. all of you, pls, join discussion

the girl with red hat is my friend
with red hat, the girl is my friend

the first is right, "with..." phrase works as adjective.
the second is wrong because "with..." phrase works as adverb and shows the method of main clause. it is not logic because the girl is my friend by means of a red hat.

our choice B is similar. so, B is wrong.

takeaway
in the pattern
with+noun+comma+main clause
with phrase works as an adverb and we need to check this adverbial modification is logic or not.

we alway have to know the grammatical role of entities in the sentence before we justify it is logic or not.

am i correct? pls, comment. I am not confident in this point

Dear Victory47,

I'm happy to respond.

I totally agree with your analysis of both the "girl with the red hat" sentence and choice (B) about Lake Baikal. I think you are 100% correct in those cases.

I would caution you, though---adding the word "always" to almost any grammar rule makes it false. I would say, in the pattern,
"with"[noun], [main clause]
that it is usually the case that the "with" preposition functions as a adverbial phrase, a verb modifier. Admittedly, it is hard to think of a counterexample, but in my experience, the best way to nullify any grammar rule is to make it universal without exception.

Does all this make sense?
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
Hi,
I know this might sound stupid, but can you please explain how with... phrase preceding main clause acts as an adverb only, why it cannot modify subject or acts as an adjective.
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
shalabhg27 wrote:
Hi,
I know this might sound stupid, but can you please explain how with... phrase preceding main clause acts as an adverb only, why it cannot modify subject or acts as an adjective.

Dear shalabhg27,

I'm happy to respond.

You are asking for a explicit logical explanation for something that is very much something that depends on the feel of language. One short answer is: if the "with" prepositional phrase were going to modify the subject as a noun-modifier, why on earth would we separate it from the subject with a comma? When prepositional phrases act as noun-modifiers, often they are not separated from the noun they modify by a comma. This is NOT true of other kinds of noun-modifying phrases. Also, notice that this rule, like almost every rule in grammar, is a "usually" rule. There are very few "always" rules in grammar.

My friend, it is 100% impossible to get to a mastery of GMAT SC by learning some mythical complete set of rules. You have to develop intuition for the English language, a sense of the feel of the language. The only way to do this is to develop a habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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eyunni wrote:
More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(A) More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

(C) Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, it holds more of the world's fresh water than all that of the North American Great Lakes combined, 20 percent.

(D) While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(E) More than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

From Ron (Manhattan Prep)

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more (water) than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

The entire phrase "more (water) than all the North American Great Lakes combined" is an appositive, a noun phrase used to modify another noun phrase. In this case it modifies the noun phrase "20 percent of the world's fresh water." This is so whether we treat "more" as an noun, or whether you treat "more" as modifying the unstated "water."

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal (, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water(, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined)) .

The blue modifier modifies stuff that's inside the orange modifier, so it falls within the orbit of the orange modifier; it MUST be removed if the orange modifier is removed (because it has nothing left to modify).
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
GMATNinja mikemcgarry

A - Hold
B - Could not eliminate
C - Multiple usage of it which causes redundancy
D - It has no antecedent
E - Incorrectly modifies Siberia Lake
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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siddyj94 wrote:
GMATNinja mikemcgarry

A - Hold
B - Could not eliminate
C - Multiple usage of it which causes redundancy
D - It has no antecedent
E - Incorrectly modifies Siberia Lake

Dear siddyj94,

I'm happy to respond. I see that my brilliant colleague sayantanc2k answered your question, and I am going to add a little more.

Here's (B)
(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

Here's what I'll say. GMAT SC is NOT a test of grammar. On the GMAT SC, grammar and logic and rhetoric have to come together coherently to produce meaning. Many non-native speakers focus exclusively on grammar and so miss problems at other levels of analysis. The GMAT loves to construct wrong answers that are 100% grammatically correct but logically or rhetorically flaws, to trap the folks who pay attention to grammar only.

Arguably, (B) is grammatically correct, but it's a disaster in other ways.
1) The "that is" is a very weak, indirect, wordy way of presenting that information. We could eliminate those words entirely and get a better sentence:

(B2) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

That's 100% grammatically correct and considerably better than (B)--it has an air of elegance, whereas the original version of (B) felt clunky and tentative.

2) The "with" construction is not ideal. This construction is colloquially acceptable, but it doesn't withstand logical scrutiny. It really doesn't make sense to say that Lake Baikal is "with" water. Instead, we would say, that Lake Baikal is "holds" or "contains" water. If we replace "with" with the participle form, we get:

(B3) Holding 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

That's not bad at all. That could be a correct answer on the GMAT SC, but (A) is even better than this. Why?

Think about it. What's the main verb here? It's "has." The principle action is "has more than 300 rivers . . . "--not a riveting action. The slightly more active verb "hold" is in participle form, as a modifier, and the very active verb "drain" is hidden in a noun-modifying clause. A sentence feels most active when the most "active" action is also the main verb.

Now, think about the verbs in (A):
More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

This is grammatically and logically correct. Furthermore, the main verb "drain" is the most "active" action. This version has a level of punch, of forcefulness, that even (B3) lacks. Even the dependent clause, with the main verb "hold," feels more active than the main clause of (B3)! Choice (A) is a very direct and powerful way to communicate this information: it's an extremely well-written sentence.

You see, if you look at only grammar, you are seeing less than half the story of GMAT SC. You have to look at all levels at once.

Does all this make sense?
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
In A, is it correct for modifier "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" to come in that construction? To my knowledge, if the noun-modifier is modifying a noun or a clause, in this case, 20% of world's fresh water lakes, the modifier must be of the form " ,a FIGURE more than all the NA great lakes combined". Please clarify me. I got a couple of answers wrong because of lack of understanding in this particular concept. Thank you in advance.
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
ganesh999 wrote:
In A, is it correct for modifier "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" to come in that construction? To my knowledge, if the noun-modifier is modifying a noun or a clause, in this case, 20% of world's fresh water lakes, the modifier must be of the form " ,a FIGURE more than all the NA great lakes combined". Please clarify me. I got a couple of answers wrong because of lack of understanding in this particular concept. Thank you in advance.

Hello ganesh999,

The structure and placement of the noun modifier more than all the North American Great Lakes combined is absolutely correct in the correct answer choice A of this official problem.

This noun modifier, as you correctly said, is meant to modify the noun entity 20 percent of the world's fresh water. and is correctly placed just next to the noun entity it is meant to modify.

Now, the suggestion to modify the correct answer that you have presented in your post is not correct. Please note that the sentence already mentions 20%. Hence, there is no need to mention this figure again before the noun modifier more than....

The context of the sentence makes it clear that 20 percent of the world's fresh water = more than all the North American Great Lakes combined

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 272: Sentence Correction

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More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

(A) More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined. - Correct. Usage of "More Than", Referent of "Which", S-V is correct.

(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it. - Incorrect. "With", "That", "It" too much going on here.

(C) Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, it holds more of the world's fresh water than all that of the North American Great Lakes combined, 20 percent. - Incorrect. "It", "That of" referent issue. "More of" is incorrect.

(D) While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined. - Incorrect. Which is referring to "Water" is incorrect. "It" referent is an issue.

(E) More than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water. - Incorrect. Verb+ing issue. It referent issue.
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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GMATNinja wrote:
For some reason, a large percentage of my students hate this question with the fury of a thousand suns. But you’ll love it… right?

Quote:
(A) More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

I don’t really see any problems with (A). The “which” jumps out at me, but that seems fine, since “which holds 20% of the world’s fresh water” logically modifies “Siberia’s Lake Baikal.” That last modifier seems fine, too: “more than all the North American Great Lakes combined” describes “20% of the world’s fresh water.”

So I guess we’ll keep (A), and hope that the other four answer choices have problems.

Quote:
(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

I’m not sure that anything is WRONG with (B), but there are three or four things that are spectacularly crappy about (B). (Craptacular? That’s not a word, but it should be.)

For starters, “with 20% of the world’s fresh water” is a lousy way to modify “Siberia’s Lake Baikal.” The preposition “with” generally suggests accompaniment of some sort (“I eat burritos with green chile” or “I went to the movies with my daughter”), and I can’t understand why we would use “with” in this context. Plus, it’s a long way from the thing it modifies. Again, I can’t prove that it’s WRONG, but it’s not great.

I also can’t make sense of the middle modifier, “that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.” For starters, I can’t figure out why we’re using a modifier beginning with “that” immediately after a comma. More importantly, the comparison doesn’t work: it’s basically saying that 20% of the world’s fresh water is more than the Great Lakes. You could say that the amount of water in Lake Baikal is greater than the amount of water in the Great Lakes, but it isn’t awesome to say that the amount of water is greater than the lakes themselves.

Finally, there’s no reason to write “…Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it” when we could use a more active construction (“more than 300 rivers drain into Lake Baikal”). The version in (B) isn’t WRONG, exactly, but it’s pretty craptacular compared to (A).

So we can ditch (B).

Quote:
(C) Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, it holds more of the world's fresh water than all that of the North American Great Lakes combined, 20 percent.

The most straightforward problem with (B) is that the subject is basically repeated twice: “Siberia’s Lake Baikal, (blah blah modifier), it holds…” That’s definitely not cool.

For bonus points, the modifier beginning with “with” still doesn’t seem quite right (see the explanation to (B) for more on that issue), and the comparison isn’t quite right, either: “Lake Baikal… holds more of the world’s fresh water than all that of the… Great Lakes…” “That” presumably refers to water, so that gives us “Lake Baikal… holds more of the world’s fresh water than [all the water of] the… Great Lakes.” And that’s wildly unnecessary: it’s better just to say that Lake Baikal holds more water than the Great Lakes.

But even if you ignore that last paragraph, the “Lake Baikal… it holds…” thing is a huge problem. So (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's Lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

The “which” jumps out at me first. The phrase “which is more than… the Great Lakes…” seems to modify “20% of the world’s fresh water”, and that doesn’t quite work: it’s illogical to say that a quantity of water is “more than… the Great Lakes.” It might be more than the water in the Great Lakes, but not “more than” the Great Lakes themselves.

Plus, “while” is essentially a synonym for “although” in this case, and that doesn’t make sense: “[Although] more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia’s Lake Baikal…[is large].” “Although” suggests some sort of contrast, and there’s definitely no contrast between those two phrases.

So (D) is out.

Quote:
(E) More than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

That opening modifier, “more than all the… Great Lakes combined”, still isn’t great: it’s literally suggesting that Lake Baikal is “more than the Great Lakes”, and that doesn’t make sense. Maybe the amount of water in Lake Baikal is more than the amount in all of the Great Lakes, but Lake Baikal itself isn’t “more than” the Great Lakes.

I’m also not crazy about the use of “with” as a modifier in (E). For more on this issue, see the explanation for (B) above.

(E) isn’t a complete disaster, but (A) does a better job of conveying the meaning of the sentence, so (A) is our answer.

Hello GMATNinja,

Thanks for a very good explanation as always
But I do have a doubt out here. In almost all of wrong answer you suggested that term " 20 percent of the world's fresh water" has been compared with "Lake Baikal". And true its illogical to compare amount of water with name of Lake.

But how does option A do it correct.

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

I can understand A compares "20 percent of the world's fresh water" with "all the North American Great Lakes combined". But again its American lakes combined has been compared with 20% of water.

Pls suggest !
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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abhik1502

Here are my two cents for your below query.

Quote:
But I do have a doubt out here. In almost all of wrong answer you suggested that term " 20 percent of the world's fresh water" has been compared with "Lake Baikal". And true its illogical to compare amount of water with name of Lake.

But how does option A do it correct.

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

I can understand A compares "20 percent of the world's fresh water" with "all the North American Great Lakes combined". But again its American lakes combined has been compared with 20% of water.
Pls suggest !

I believe you got confused a bit between modifier and comparison.

Let me break the sentence in to its clauses for better understanding:

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal,
which holds 20 percent of the world&#39;s fresh water,
more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

As GMATNinja mentioned which is a noun modifier that refers back to Siberia's Lake Baikal,
and if you look closely in your query you attempted to compare 20 per cent of the world's fresh water with a noun
i.e. all the North American Great Lakes combined and this is incorrect.

The intended meaning of the sentence is that Siberia's Lake Baikal holds 20% of worlds' fresh water. More than 300
rivers drain water into this lake. The amount of water held in LB is greater than the amount of all North American Great Lakes combined hold together.

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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
abhik1502

Here are my two cents for your below query.

Quote:
But I do have a doubt out here. In almost all of wrong answer you suggested that term " 20 percent of the world's fresh water" has been compared with "Lake Baikal". And true its illogical to compare amount of water with name of Lake.

But how does option A do it correct.

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

I can understand A compares "20 percent of the world's fresh water" with "all the North American Great Lakes combined". But again its American lakes combined has been compared with 20% of water.
Pls suggest !

I believe you got confused a bit between modifier and comparison.

Let me break the sentence in to its clauses for better understanding:

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal,
which holds 20 percent of the world&#39;s fresh water,
more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

As GMATNinja mentioned which is a noun modifier that refers back to Siberia's Lake Baikal,
and if you look closely in your query you attempted to compare 20 per cent of the world's fresh water with a noun
i.e. all the North American Great Lakes combined and this is incorrect.

The intended meaning of the sentence is that Siberia's Lake Baikal holds 20% of worlds' fresh water. More than 300
rivers drain water into this lake. The amount of water held in LB is greater than the amount of all North American Great Lakes combined hold together.

I understood the modifier part and that clarifies my earlier doubt. But there are new ones where I would like you to help me out.

1. As its non-essential modifier so we can write sentence also as

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

Now doesn't it conveys the meaning that more than 300 rivers draining into Lake Baikal and this number 300 is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.
In case of non-essential modifier how does this connects with 20% water.
Still if it would have been essential modifier then also we are comparing "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" with previous clause i.e. "More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal" . SO it compares the number 300.

Pls suggest where I am wrong in my above understanding.

2. If I need to rephrase this sentence so that "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" should be compared with modifier "which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water" then how can we do it.
Pls suggest !
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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abhik1502 wrote:

I understood the modifier part and that clarifies my earlier doubt. But there are new ones where I would like you to help me out.

1. As its non-essential modifier so we can write sentence also as

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

Now doesn't it conveys the meaning that more than 300 rivers draining into Lake Baikal and this number 300 is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.
In case of non-essential modifier how does this connects with 20% water.
Still if it would have been essential modifier then also we are comparing "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" with previous clause i.e. "More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal" . SO it compares the number 300.

Pls suggest where I am wrong in my above understanding.

The problem with this approach is that you eliminated one non-essential modifier, but left something that describes an element of this modifier in place. We can't do that.

To see why this leads to all sorts of logical chaos, consider a silly example:

"I live with my brother, a great guy who owns a great dog, a Great Dane named Ned."

Here, "a great guy who owns a great dog" describes "my brother," and a "A Great Dane named Ned" describes the "dog." So far so good.

But watch what happens when I remove the middle, non-essential modifier. Then we have:

"I live with my brother, a Great Dane named Ned."

Suddenly my brother is a dog! (And what, by extension, does that make me? I guess it would explain my appetite, though.)

Good rule of thumb: if an adjustment to a sentence can convert a person into a dog, you should not do it. The issue is that by removing one modifier, but leaving in place a second modifier that refers to the first, I've created nonsense.

The same idea applies to the Lake Baikal question. Initially, in (E) we have “More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.” “Which holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water” refers to “Lake Baikal” and “more than all the North American Lakes combined” refers to “20 percent of the world’s fresh water.”

If I remove the middle modifier containing “20 percent of the world’s fresh water,” I’ve eliminated the thing that “more than all the North American Great Lakes combined” actually modifies. That’s not cool.

The big takeaway: if you eliminate a non-essential modifier to simplify the sentence, and you fail to remove a piece that refers to that modifier, you will butcher the logic of that sentence.

I hope that helps!
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Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 [#permalink]
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GMATNinja wrote:
For some reason, a large percentage of my students hate this question with the fury of a thousand suns. But you’ll love it… right?

Quote:
(A) More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

I don’t really see any problems with (A). The “which” jumps out at me, but that seems fine, since “which holds 20% of the world’s fresh water” logically modifies “Siberia’s Lake Baikal.” That last modifier seems fine, too: “more than all the North American Great Lakes combined” describes “20% of the world’s fresh water.”

So I guess we’ll keep (A), and hope that the other four answer choices have problems.

Quote:
(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

I’m not sure that anything is WRONG with (B), but there are three or four things that are spectacularly crappy about (B). (Craptacular? That’s not a word, but it should be.)

For starters, “with 20% of the world’s fresh water” is a lousy way to modify “Siberia’s Lake Baikal.” The preposition “with” generally suggests accompaniment of some sort (“I eat burritos with green chile” or “I went to the movies with my daughter”), and I can’t understand why we would use “with” in this context. Plus, it’s a long way from the thing it modifies. Again, I can’t prove that it’s WRONG, but it’s not great.

I also can’t make sense of the middle modifier, “that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.” For starters, I can’t figure out why we’re using a modifier beginning with “that” immediately after a comma. More importantly, the comparison doesn’t work: it’s basically saying that 20% of the world’s fresh water is more than the Great Lakes. You could say that the amount of water in Lake Baikal is greater than the amount of water in the Great Lakes, but it isn’t awesome to say that the amount of water is greater than the lakes themselves.

Finally, there’s no reason to write “…Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it” when we could use a more active construction (“more than 300 rivers drain into Lake Baikal”). The version in (B) isn’t WRONG, exactly, but it’s pretty craptacular compared to (A).

So we can ditch (B).

Quote:
(C) Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, it holds more of the world's fresh water than all that of the North American Great Lakes combined, 20 percent.

The most straightforward problem with (B) is that the subject is basically repeated twice: “Siberia’s Lake Baikal, (blah blah modifier), it holds…” That’s definitely not cool.

For bonus points, the modifier beginning with “with” still doesn’t seem quite right (see the explanation to (B) for more on that issue), and the comparison isn’t quite right, either: “Lake Baikal… holds more of the world’s fresh water than all that of the… Great Lakes…” “That” presumably refers to water, so that gives us “Lake Baikal… holds more of the world’s fresh water than [all the water of] the… Great Lakes.” And that’s wildly unnecessary: it’s better just to say that Lake Baikal holds more water than the Great Lakes.

But even if you ignore that last paragraph, the “Lake Baikal… it holds…” thing is a huge problem. So (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's Lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

The “which” jumps out at me first. The phrase “which is more than… the Great Lakes…” seems to modify “20% of the world’s fresh water”, and that doesn’t quite work: it’s illogical to say that a quantity of water is “more than… the Great Lakes.” It might be more than the water in the Great Lakes, but not “more than” the Great Lakes themselves.

Plus, “while” is essentially a synonym for “although” in this case, and that doesn’t make sense: “[Although] more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia’s Lake Baikal…[is large].” “Although” suggests some sort of contrast, and there’s definitely no contrast between those two phrases.

So (D) is out.

Quote:
(E) More than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

That opening modifier, “more than all the… Great Lakes combined”, still isn’t great: it’s literally suggesting that Lake Baikal is “more than the Great Lakes”, and that doesn’t make sense. Maybe the amount of water in Lake Baikal is more than the amount in all of the Great Lakes, but Lake Baikal itself isn’t “more than” the Great Lakes.

I’m also not crazy about the use of “with” as a modifier in (E). For more on this issue, see the explanation for (B) above.

(E) isn’t a complete disaster, but (A) does a better job of conveying the meaning of the sentence, so (A) is our answer.

As you pointed out in option B "More importantly, the comparison doesn’t work: it’s basically saying that 20% of the world’s fresh water is more than the Great Lakes. "
the same should be true in option A; here also world''s fresh water is getting compared to lakes. I am not able to distinguish. Please help.
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