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# Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun

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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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24 Oct 2012, 16:19
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This is one of the finest explanations I've come across of any verbal concept. Kudos egmat!

Best part is I'm able to relate this concept while practicing. One of the questions on the OG diagnostic test :

"A colleague of his had managed to win a patent for one of the Kirchoff's laws, WHICH was an observation blabla..."

OG rejects the use of which here because 'which' can refer to both one or laws, hence it is ambiguous. NOW I understand why!
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2012, 09:24
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mandyrhtdm wrote:
Is THAT modifying "market" or "Fascination" ??

Hi there,

Relative pronoun "that" canoot modify "fascination" because there is a verb in between. The relative pronoun cannot jump over a verb to refer to a noun. In the correct choice B, "that" correctly refers to "market" to say that the market is bringing back some by-gone furnitures.

Hope this helps.
Thanls.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2012, 05:14
Thank you e gmat experts.

pls help more. in the following from og 13, A and B are considered wrong because noun is far. This contradict with what is said in this posting.
pls explain.

The reason is that "slightly far noun" is considered inferior though acceptable. if we have a chance to avoid the "slightly far noun" , we should do so. Is that right? , pls help

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers more
than four times the surface area of its closest rival in
size, North America's Lake Superior.
(A) It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers
(B) Although it is called a sea, actually the
landlocked Caspian is the largest lake on Earth,
which covers
(C) Though called a sea, the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, covering
(D) Though called a sea but it actually is the largest
lake on Earth, the landlocked Caspian covers
(E) Despite being called a sea, the largest lake on
Earth is actually the landlocked Caspian,
Covering
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2012, 05:16
egmat wrote:
mandyrhtdm wrote:
Is THAT modifying "market" or "Fascination" ??

Hi there,

Relative pronoun "that" canoot modify "fascination" because there is a verb in between. The relative pronoun cannot jump over a verb to refer to a noun. In the correct choice B, "that" correctly refers to "market" to say that the market is bringing back some by-gone furnitures.

Hope this helps.
Thanls.

pls help, e gmat . pls , help explain the previous posting. I make this posting because I want the quotation to send the message to the e gmat. thank you
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2012, 14:01
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thangvietnam wrote:
Thank you e gmat experts.

pls help more. in the following from og 13, A and B are considered wrong because noun is far. This contradict with what is said in this posting.
pls explain.

The reason is that "slightly far noun" is considered inferior though acceptable. if we have a chance to avoid the "slightly far noun" , we should do so. Is that right? , pls help

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers more
than four times the surface area of its closest rival in
size, North America's Lake Superior.
(A) It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers
(B) Although it is called a sea, actually the
landlocked Caspian is the largest lake on Earth,
which covers
(C) Though called a sea, the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, covering
(D) Though called a sea but it actually is the largest
lake on Earth, the landlocked Caspian covers
(E) Despite being called a sea, the largest lake on
Earth is actually the landlocked Caspian,
Covering

Hi @thangvietnam,

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers more than four times the surface area of its closest rival in size, North America's Lake Superior.

I would not say that “which” modifies the preceding noun “Earth” in choices A and B and that is the reason why these two choices are incorrect.

I would reject choice A because of its construction. This choice introduces the pronoun first and then brings in the antecedent. Through PoE, I do find a better constructed, more precise, and an absolutely clear answer choice.

In choice B, I don’t agree with the placement of “actually”. I would prefer it to appear after “is” the way it does in the original answer choice. Again, I do have a better clear answer choice so I can comfortably reject choice B.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2012, 08:06
egmat wrote:
Hi folks,

Solve this question from OG 11#116 to see how a noun modifer is modifying a little far away noun in this problem.

Out of America’s fascination with all things antique have grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that are bringing back the chaise lounge, the overstuffed sofa, and the daw-footed bathtub.

(A) things antique have grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that are bringing
(B) things antique has grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that is bringing
(C) things that are antiques has grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that bring
(D) antique things have grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that are bringing
(E) antique things has grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that bring

Can you please explain it in a bit detail to help me understand as I'm having problem to gauge why 'has grown a market' is right here..?

Is it because of the fact that the verb 'grown' precedes the subject 'market' here..?
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2012, 08:14
egmat wrote:
thangvietnam wrote:
Thank you e gmat experts.

pls help more. in the following from og 13, A and B are considered wrong because noun is far. This contradict with what is said in this posting.
pls explain.

The reason is that "slightly far noun" is considered inferior though acceptable. if we have a chance to avoid the "slightly far noun" , we should do so. Is that right? , pls help

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers more
than four times the surface area of its closest rival in
size, North America's Lake Superior.
(A) It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers
(B) Although it is called a sea, actually the
landlocked Caspian is the largest lake on Earth,
which covers
(C) Though called a sea, the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, covering
(D) Though called a sea but it actually is the largest
lake on Earth, the landlocked Caspian covers
(E) Despite being called a sea, the largest lake on
Earth is actually the landlocked Caspian,
Covering

Hi @thangvietnam,

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers more than four times the surface area of its closest rival in size, North America's Lake Superior.

I would not say that “which” modifies the preceding noun “Earth” in choices A and B and that is the reason why these two choices are incorrect.

I would reject choice A because of its construction. This choice introduces the pronoun first and then brings in the antecedent. Through PoE, I do find a better constructed, more precise, and an absolutely clear answer choice.

In choice B, I don’t agree with the placement of “actually”. I would prefer it to appear after “is” the way it does in the original answer choice. Again, I do have a better clear answer choice so I can comfortably reject choice B.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

I think right ans : C

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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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10 Dec 2012, 14:30
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bagdbmba wrote:
Can you please explain it in a bit detail to help me understand as I'm having problem to gauge why 'has grown a market' is right here..?

Is it because of the fact that the verb 'grown' precedes the subject 'market' here..?

Hi bagdbmba,

Out of America’s fascination with all things antique have grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that are bringing back the chaise lounge, the overstuffed sofa, and the daw-footed bathtub.

In the original sentence as well as in all the answer choices, relative pronoun is “that” appears right after “fixtures”. However, it does not make sense for “that” to modify “fixtures” because then the sentence will non-sensically convey that “fixtures” or for that matter “furniture and fixtures” are bringing back the chaise lounge and other furniture.

This relative pronoun cannot logically as well grammatically refer to “fascination” because it has to jump over the verb “have grown”. The relative pronoun can at the maximum jump over a modifier such as a prepositional phrase to refer to a slightly far-away. Under no condition it can jump over a verb to do so.

This is the reason why this sentence has been written in inverted SV form where the verb appears first and then comes the subject so that the relative modifier “that” can be used.

Let’s try to write this sentence is normal SV structure form:

Out of America’s fascination with all things antique, a market has grown for bygone furniture and fixtures that is bringing back the chaise lounge, the overstuffed sofa, and the daw-footed bathtub.

In this sentence, “that” cannot modify “a market” because it will have to jump over a word to do so. But doing so is not a possibility. Hence, we need to stick to the inverse SV format for this sentence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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10 Dec 2012, 14:32
bagdbmba wrote:
I think right ans : C

Hi bagdbmba,

Yes, indeed the correct choice is C. Good job.

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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2012, 01:02
egmat wrote:
debayan222 wrote:
Can you please explain it in a bit detail to help me understand as I'm having problem to gauge why 'has grown a market' is right here..?

Is it because of the fact that the verb 'grown' precedes the subject 'market' here..?

Hi Debayan,

Out of America’s fascination with all things antique have grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that are bringing back the chaise lounge, the overstuffed sofa, and the daw-footed bathtub.

In the original sentence as well as in all the answer choices, relative pronoun is “that” appears right after “fixtures”. However, it does not make sense for “that” to modify “fixtures” because then the sentence will non-sensically convey that “fixtures” or for that matter “furniture and fixtures” are bringing back the chaise lounge and other furniture.

This relative pronoun cannot logically as well grammatically refer to “fascination” because it has to jump over the verb “have grown”. The relative pronoun can at the maximum jump over a modifier such as a prepositional phrase to refer to a slightly far-away. Under no condition it can jump over a verb to do so.

This is the reason why this sentence has been written in inverted SV form where the verb appears first and then comes the subject so that the relative modifier “that” can be used.

Let’s try to write this sentence is normal SV structure form:

Out of America’s fascination with all things antique, a market has grown for bygone furniture and fixtures that is bringing back the chaise lounge, the overstuffed sofa, and the daw-footed bathtub.

In this sentence, “that” cannot modify “a market” because it will have to jump over a word to do so. But doing so is not a possibility. Hence, we need to stick to the inverse SV format for this sentence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

Thanks Shraddha for your wonderful analysis and I think I got it right however was bit confused..OA is E .

C is also OK grammatically and logically but E is more concise than C so E is correct

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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2013, 00:56
This article has been really helpful, thanks so much! So far I've read 2 e-gmat articles and sat in on one of your sessions yesterday, all of which have been great. Wish I had found you guys earlier! I have a little question abt noun modifiers which can be placed further away from the noun:

“In A.D. 391, resulting from the destruction of the largest library of the ancient world at Alexandria, …”

The above is an OG question and the above is said to be wrong, because "at Alexandria" modifies "world". Why is it not possible for "at Alexandria" to modify the preceding noun phrase? According to the article, the exception to the "further away" rule would be when the words in between are not modifying the noun as well. However, here "of the ancient world" does modify "library". Hence, "at Alexandria" should be able to modify the noun phrase " the largest library of the ancient world"? (Or is it because "the largest library" is the object of a preposition here that this is not possible?)

Thanks!
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2013, 07:35
great article

however, in the following problem, the question 48 og 13, "which " modifying slightly far noun is considered an error

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earthf whichcovers more
than four times the surface area of its closest rival in
size, North America's Lake Superior.
(A) It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers
(B) Although it is called a sea, actually the
landlocked Caspian is the largest lake on Earth,
which covers
(C) Though called a sea, the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, covering
(D) Though called a sea but it actually is the largest
lake on Earth, the landlocked Caspian covers
(E) Despite being called a sea, the largest lake on
Earth is actually the landlocked Caspian, covering

though the prepositional phrase after the noun permits "which" to jump over, this structure is considered error.

what I want to say is that this structure which meets the condition of "jumping over", appears in the OA in some questions and is considered error in other questions. I think this structure is considered INFERIOR. This mean we accept it if there is no better choices and eliminate it if there is better choices.

so, "which"modifying slightly far noun is still an error in some case.

a similar case is pronoun ambiguity. in some og questions, pronoun ambiguity appears in 5 choices. This mean this ambiguity is acceptable, though inferior. Ron also agree to this, if I do not make mistake.

pls, correct/comment my thinking.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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08 Jan 2013, 03:05
I think there are 2 cases in which far modification is not acceptable

- the phrase after the noun dose not modifies that noun
- the 2 nouns before "which" are eligible to be modified by "which clause"

in 2 above cases, "which" can not jump over the preceding phrase to modify the far noun.

that is why "which" in question 48 og13 is wrong and "which" in question 29 og13 is right.

pls, discuss this point more.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2013, 07:18
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if we have

X of Y , which

Which can jump over Y to modify X if both the followings are met
1. Y is not eligible to be modified by "which"
2, Y modifies X and can not be placed elswhere.

the article do not said that we consider the cases in which Y is not eligible to be modified by "which"

if Y is eligible to be modified by "which", "which" modifies Y, regardless of X

if we have

the boxes of toys, which are nice , are mine

"which" must refer to " toys"

pls confirm my above thinking.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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25 Jan 2013, 22:57
Thank you e-gmat for this great concept!
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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10 Feb 2013, 21:21
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Can someone please explain what 'which' is modifying in this sentence?

The growth of the railroads led to the abolition of local times, which was determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing from city to city, and to the establishment of regional times.

(A) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing
(B) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and which differed
(C) which were determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing
(D) determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differed
(E) determined by when the sun reached the observer’s meridian and differing
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2013, 08:38
Hi e-Gmat Team,

I have read the article, and have tried to apply the same in couple of questions.I completely agree that the noun modifers can modify slightly far away nouns, however looking at the questions from the OG, I believe, we have a simple rule for validating whether noun modifier is modifying closest noun or slightly far away noun.

e.g 1

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers more than four times the surface area of its closest rival in size, North America's Lake Superior.
Here, Verb is Covers, pronoun - which.. possible antecedent -> largest lake on Earth or Earth..
Please note that going by e-gmat theory, ON EARTH cant be placed anywhere else.. since it is modifying largest lake. Hence, i believe it is perfectly ok to write this construction. However,OG specifically says that which is referring to Earth, and hence incorrect.

So, Rule - > if by looking at verb,one cannot decipher whether it is modifying closest noun or slightly away noun, then it is ambiguous and hence incorrect,
e.g 2

Out of America’s fascination with all things antique have grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that are bringing back the chaise lounge, the overstuffed sofa, and the daw-footed bathtub.

Here, also "are bringing" is verb. Possible antecedents are furniture and fixtures or bygone styles of furniture and fixtures -> ambiguous -> incorrect. Chose option, which resolves this ambiguity.

e.g 3
Although she had been known as an effective legislator first in the Texas Senate and later in the United States House of Representatives, Barbara Jordan did not become a nationally recognized figure until 1974, when she participated in the hearings on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, which were televised nationwide.

same theory goes for above example.

Above stated rule goes perfectly fine with Relative Pronouns(noun modifiers).

Bottom Line - Verb of the Relative clause will give you sure shot way of figuring out the noun. In case, any ambiguities, resolve it. Of course,, meaning has to stay same and logical.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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24 Mar 2013, 17:55
is the answer for the second question a. as it is right.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2013, 08:12
Great post by E-Gmat.

I have got confused after reading this post. Here is why.

a) (GMAT Prep question) Visitors to the park have often looked up into the leafy canopy and saw monkeys sleeping on the branches, whose arms and legs hang like socks on a clothesline.

(A) saw monkeys sleeping on the branches, whose arms and legs hang
(B) saw monkeys sleeping on the branches, whose arms and legs were hanging
(C) saw monkeys sleeping on the branches, with arms and legs hanging
(D) seen monkeys sleeping on the branches, with arms and legs hanging
(E) seen monkeys sleeping on the branches, whose arms and legs have hung

OA-D
GMAT Prep explanation for 'E'- whose illogically refers to branches.
1) If we ignore the tense error in 'E', is it still an incorrect choice based on noun modified by 'whose'? Can't 'whose' refer to 'monkeys' as 'sleeping on the branches modifies 'monkeys'?
2) How 'with arms and legs...' in 'D' refers to the action 'sleeping' and not 'branches'? As per my knowledge, there is no rule for 'COMMA+Prep phrase'. 'with arms and legs..' can grammatically refer to 'branches'. Prep phrases play role of an adverbial modifier or adjectival modifier. I am confused. According to me, if we ignore tense error for E, then 'E" and 'D' both have logical modifiers. (** I am not questioning correctness of OG answers but trying to understand the concept)

b) (OG 12th edition) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

OA: E

OG explanation for 'A'- 'in two letters to the historian Tacitus' illogically refers to eruption.
How can it be? When we know that it is illogical for 'in letters' to refer to 'eruption'. Prep phrase can also modify verb. Then why can prep phrase in 'A', modify 'wrote'??

Can you please explain how prepositional modifiers function-when they are at end of sentence, at start of the sentence, with comma, without comma?
Any help is deeply appreciated.

Regards,
Heman2727
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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16 Apr 2013, 01:18
egmat wrote:

3: Like the great navigators who first sailed around the Earth gathering information about its size and the curvature of its surface, astronomers have made new observations that show with startling directness the large-scale geometry of the universe. (Choice D)

After reading this one, almost all of you will say that “gathering” is a verb-ing modifier that is placed after “Earth” and is not preceded by a comma. Hence, it must modify “Earth”. This modification makes no sense because Earth dis not gather information. The great navigators did. This sentence is incorrect. BUT IN REALITY, this sentence is absolutely correct. Here is why.

Structurally, “who first sailed around the Earth” is a clause. Here “who” stands for “the great navigators”. Now together “the great navigators who first sailed around the Earth” is a big noun phrase (refer to the mini article on noun phrases and Noun modifiers).

Many of you may argue that this entity contains a “who clause”. How can we classify as a noun phrase. We can classify this as a noun phrase since it has a noun at its head. It is of the construction – Noun + Clause.

The head of this big noun phrase is “the great investigators”. Now the “who” clause that modifies “the great investigators” cannot be placed anywhere else in the sentence. This gives “gathering”, a noun modifier, the liberty to jump over the preceding modifier and modify the head – “the great investigators”. Hence, “gathering” in this sentence is correctly modifying “the great investigators”.

Futhermore, logically “earth” cannot gather information.

Hi eGMAT/Experts,

I would like to build my understanding more on the above Red colored part.

Example 1
When we say that the earth cannot gather information, it means that it is illogical and hence we should move further to see if we have any other noun that could have been modified by the entity "gathering information.....". By doing so, we found the noun - great navigators and hence the phrase "gathering..." must be modifying "great navigators"

Now, taking the same concept forward to the below example--

Example 2
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus

As the above poster correctly mentions that the eruption of Vesuvius cannot happen in the two letters, hence the modification is illogical and we should move further to see if there is any valid verb/noun to whom it can modify. Here, "Wrote" is the verb that is getting modified correctly by the phrase - in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

Question is - Why we are saying that choice 2 is illogical, however going by the same framework and logic makes the first example correct. Please respond.

Thanks
H
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun   [#permalink] 16 Apr 2013, 01:18

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