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Noun Modifier Question

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Noun Modifier Question [#permalink]

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New post 31 Mar 2017, 21:25
I was working a practice SC problem and narrowed the possible answers to the two shown below:

A) Though often mistaken for a continent, icy Greenland is actually the largest island in the world, belonging geologically to North America's tectonic plate.

B) Despite often being mistaken for a continent, the largest island in the world is actually icy Greenland, belonging geologically to North America's tectonic plate.

I chose B, because I saw 'belonging ... plate' as a noun modifier attempting to modify 'Greenland,' and I knew that noun modifiers must touch the nouns they modify. The solution says that A is correct because it correctly indicates that Greenland belongs to North America's tectonic plate, whereas B indicates that the largest island in the world belongs to the tectonic plate.

Could anyone shed some insight into this explanation?

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Re: Noun Modifier Question [#permalink]

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New post 31 Mar 2017, 23:25
GrKmP wrote:
I was working a practice SC problem and narrowed the possible answers to the two shown below:

A) Though often mistaken for a continent, icy Greenland is actually the largest island in the world, belonging geologically to North America's tectonic plate.

B) Despite often being mistaken for a continent, the largest island in the world is actually icy Greenland, belonging geologically to North America's tectonic plate.

I chose B, because I saw 'belonging ... plate' as a noun modifier attempting to modify 'Greenland,' and I knew that noun modifiers must touch the nouns they modify. The solution says that A is correct because it correctly indicates that Greenland belongs to North America's tectonic plate, whereas B indicates that the largest island in the world belongs to the tectonic plate.

Could anyone shed some insight into this explanation?


The sentence gives you 3 characteristics of Greenland - "it is mistaken for a continent", "it is the largest island in the world" and "it belongs to North America's tectonic plate"

(A)
Greenland is mistaken for a continent. The sentence is telling you that it is actually the largest island in the world. So here is the contrast "Though mistaken for a continent, Greenland is actually an island." So the contrast is between "continent" and "island"

(B)
This does not make sense "Despite being mistaken for a continent, the largest island is actually Greenland." This sentence somehow says that the contrast lies between "a continent" and "Greenland".

Also, "belonging geologically to North America's tectonic plate." is a participial phrase. Since it comes at the end of the sentence after a comma, it modifies the entire preceding clause or the subject of the preceding clause.

So this phrase modifies Greenland in (A) and largest island in (B). We know that it should modify Greenland. Hence (A) is correct.

For more details, check this post: https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2014/1 ... -the-gmat/
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Re: Noun Modifier Question   [#permalink] 31 Mar 2017, 23:25
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