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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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20 May 2014, 03:07
Hi egmat,
In your article if this sentence is correct "The committee chose Mr. Smith of Left Block, who was the most experienced member, to lead all the management-related operations." and if 'of Left Block' correctly modifies 'Mr. Smith'(per the explanation and logic given by you in the article) then why 'on Earth' can't modify the noun 'the largest lake' ?

Here also "the largest lake on Earth" is a BIG noun phrase and as it does in case of 'Mr. Smith of Left Block', "who" will accordingly have the liberty to jump over the preceding preposition phrase 'on Earth' (the modifier) to modify the HEAD of this noun phrase – “the largest lake”!

Please clarify where I'm getting it wrong ?
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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26 May 2014, 21:42
bagdbmba wrote:
Hi egmat,
In your article if this sentence is correct "The committee chose Mr. Smith of Left Block, who was the most experienced member, to lead all the management-related operations." and if 'of Left Block' correctly modifies 'Mr. Smith'(per the explanation and logic given by you in the article) then why 'on Earth' can't modify the noun 'the largest lake' ?

Here also "the largest lake on Earth" is a BIG noun phrase and as it does in case of 'Mr. Smith of Left Block', "who" will accordingly have the liberty to jump over the preceding preposition phrase 'on Earth' (the modifier) to modify the HEAD of this noun phrase – “the largest lake”!

Please clarify where I'm getting it wrong ?

Hi egmat,
Can you please clarify this ?

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

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29 May 2014, 11:39
bagdbmba wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Hi egmat,
In your article if this sentence is correct "The committee chose Mr. Smith of Left Block, who was the most experienced member, to lead all the management-related operations." and if 'of Left Block' correctly modifies 'Mr. Smith'(per the explanation and logic given by you in the article) then why 'on Earth' can't modify the noun 'the largest lake' ?

Here also "the largest lake on Earth" is a BIG noun phrase and as it does in case of 'Mr. Smith of Left Block', "who" will accordingly have the liberty to jump over the preceding preposition phrase 'on Earth' (the modifier) to modify the HEAD of this noun phrase – “the largest lake”!

Please clarify where I'm getting it wrong ?

Hi egmat,
Can you please clarify this ?

Hi bagdbmba,

Thank you for the post.

You are absolutely correct in saying that the relative pronoun modifiers can have the liberty to jump over the preceding prepositional phrase provided that this prepositional phrase is modifying the preceding noun.

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

Now, in the given sentence, the modifier ‘which’ can refer to the following two entities:

1. Earth- The sentence means that the Earth covers four times the surface area of its closest rival. This is illogical.

2. The largest lake- This conveys the meaning that the largest lake on Earth covers four times the surface area of its closest rival.

So, the modifier ‘which’ modifies ‘the largest lake’ in this sentence.

Also, as Meghna has already pointed out in her response to your last post, the prepositional phrase ‘on Earth’ modifies the noun ‘the largest lake’. It tells us that this lake is the largest on the Earth.
The ‘Earth’ cannot modify the ‘the largest lake’ since both of them are different entities.

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

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30 May 2014, 04:12
egmat wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Hi egmat,
In your article if this sentence is correct "The committee chose Mr. Smith of Left Block, who was the most experienced member, to lead all the management-related operations." and if 'of Left Block' correctly modifies 'Mr. Smith'(per the explanation and logic given by you in the article) then why 'on Earth' can't modify the noun 'the largest lake' ?

Here also "the largest lake on Earth" is a BIG noun phrase and as it does in case of 'Mr. Smith of Left Block', "who" will accordingly have the liberty to jump over the preceding preposition phrase 'on Earth' (the modifier) to modify the HEAD of this noun phrase – “the largest lake”!

Please clarify where I'm getting it wrong ?

Hi bagdbmba,

Thank you for the post.

You are absolutely correct in saying that the relative pronoun modifiers can have the liberty to jump over the preceding prepositional phrase provided that this prepositional phrase is modifying the preceding noun.

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

Now, in the given sentence, the modifier ‘which’ can refer to the following two entities:

1. Earth- The sentence means that the Earth covers four times the surface area of its closest rival. This is illogical.

2. The largest lake- This conveys the meaning that the largest lake on Earth covers four times the surface area of its closest rival.

So, the modifier ‘which’ modifies ‘the largest lake’ in this sentence.

Also, as Meghna has already pointed out in her response to your last post, the prepositional phrase ‘on Earth’ modifies the noun ‘the largest lake’. It tells us that this lake is the largest on the Earth.
The ‘Earth’ cannot modify the ‘the largest lake’ since both of them are different entities.

Hope this helps!
Deepak

Hi,
So,please tell me per your explanation, whether the example given by eGMAT in this sentence "The committee chose Mr. Smith of Left Block, who was the most experienced member, to lead all the management-related operations." is correct or wrong ?

If 'of Left Block' correctly modifies 'Mr. Smith' and 'who' in turn thus modifies 'Mr. Smith' correctly then why similarly in case of this BIG Noun Phrase "the largest lake on Earth," 'which' can't have the the liberty to jump over the preceding prepositional phrase modifier "on Earth" to modify the HEAD of this noun phrase – “largest lake”
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2014, 02:47

Looking at this question:

Geologists once thought that the molten rock known as lava was an underground remnant of
Earth's earliest days, sporadically erupting through volcanoes, but they now know that it is
continuously created by the heat of the radioactivity deep inside the planet.

• was an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days, sporadically erupting
• had been an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days and sporadically erupted
• was an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days, which sporadically erupted
• would be an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days that sporadically erupted
• was an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days, having sporadically erupted

The OA is A, but as per the discussion above on this thread why is C wrong? why cant which refer to "underground remnant" since "of Earth's earliest days" modifies the "underground remnant"?
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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30 Jun 2014, 01:55
mandyrhtdm wrote:
egmat wrote:
prepat wrote:
Is B the correct choice? - (B) things antique has grown a market for bygone styles of furniture and fixtures that is bringing

that - is modifying the market and should be using singular verb. "that" can jump over the prepositional phrase 'of X and Y' to modify far away noun 'market'.

Well done there. You have done a great job.

Is THAT modifying "market" or "Fascination" ??

Hi,

Kudos to Shraddha...excellent article and kudos to te club members as well for their tremendous application of concepts...here the relative pronoun modifier "That" which comes after the noun "Market" is correctly modifying it...if u read the artile carefully it says that all articles will come before the noun,hence,"a market" is correctly getting modified...correct me if im wrong....
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2014, 13:49
What an awesome article EGMAT - Thanks & Kudos!!

I have one question - Is this Noun Modifier can modify slighly far away noun - applicable to all the Noun Modifiers? OR certain modifiers exclusively can only modify the noun immediately preceding it. e.g. "that" - would this apply to "that" as well. Any other modifier for which this rule does not apply.

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

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26 Sep 2014, 03:41
Hi egmat, I have one question related to the exercise in the article.

The decision of the European leaders to use the Continent’s bailout funds to recapitalize struggling
banks would provide help to banks without directly adding to the sovereign debt of countries, which has
been a problem for Spain and potentially for Italy.

In the above sentence, without directly adding to the sovereign debt of countries modifeis the verb provide. Is that correct? So basically, which is modifying an entity of another modifier? Is that correct? My question is that is this construction acceptable? Though the meaning does not make sense but which could refer to banks (banks is plural, but there could be a choice where bank was singular and it would be tempting)!

Plese advise regarding above query and please keep adding more such articles, your endeavor has been a great help to GMAT Test takers.

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

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16 Oct 2014, 22:20
hi egmat : First of all , kudos to you guys, you post a very good explanation on each question you attempt !!
However, I am confused on the use of "Who"vs"Whom" and "Which" vs "That".

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

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10 Jan 2015, 06:50
Hi E-Gmat, your explanations regarding modifiers were just brilliant.

Here is an official OG problem: (A is correct)

The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual that, in turn, create unconscious physiological response.
A) that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses.
B) that create unconscious physiological responses in turn.
C) creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses.
D) to create, in turn, physiological responses that are unconscious.
E) who creates unconscious physiological responses in turn.

I just don't understand why choice E is wrong. I'm not an Expert in this area (regarding lie detectors), so one must not know whether the reactions are caused by responses or by an individual. So both E and A could be the correct answer...

The only way I can justify that A is correct, that in E "in the individual" could be prepositional phrase modifying emotional ractions - and hence we don't need here a modifier WHO that modifies another modifier "in the individual". While in A THAT modifies reactions and can jump over other modifier (In the individual).
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2015, 09:49
egmat

In 1995 Richard Stallman, a well-known critic of the patent system, testified in Patent Office hearings that, to test the system, a colleague of his had managed to win a patent for one of Kirchhoff's laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and now included in virtually every textbook of elementary physics.

(A) laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and
(B) laws, which was an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and it is
(C) laws, namely, it was an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and
(D) laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845, it is
(E) laws that was an observation about electric current, first made in 1845, and is

In Option B, can which refer to patents, it can skip over the noun laws and the prepositional phrase and then can modify patents??
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2015, 09:59
Shree9975 wrote:
egmat

In 1995 Richard Stallman, a well-known critic of the patent system, testified in Patent Office hearings that, to test the system, a colleague of his had managed to win a patent for one of Kirchhoff's laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and now included in virtually every textbook of elementary physics.

(A) laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and
(B) laws, which was an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and it is
(C) laws, namely, it was an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and
(D) laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845, it is
(E) laws that was an observation about electric current, first made in 1845, and is

In Option B, can which refer to patents, it can skip over the noun laws and the prepositional phrase and then can modify patents??

Hi,
which is not refering to patent but to 'law'. what was this law? It was an observation about... in 1845..
so there is no problem here..
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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06 May 2016, 16:12
nm01 wrote:
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

I have a question regarding this article ( Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun). Does it mean that relative pronoun should always modify the head of the noun phrase (if it is a noun phrase) or can it modify the the last noun in a noun phrase?
eg. In the above question, the "abolition of local times" is a noun phrase (is it?), so shouldn't "which" or "determined" modify the head of the noun phrase "abolition"?
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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08 May 2016, 13:43
gurdeep329 wrote:
nm01 wrote:
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

I have a question regarding this article ( Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun). Does it mean that relative pronoun should always modify the head of the noun phrase (if it is a noun phrase) or can it modify the the last noun in a noun phrase?
eg. In the above question, the "abolition of local times" is a noun phrase (is it?), so shouldn't "which" or "determined" modify the head of the noun phrase "abolition"?

Keep things simple.

"Noun Modifiers can modify slightly far away noun", but those cases are exceptional - in general a modifier modifies the noun it touches - even when the noun is an object of preposition (as in the above case). The relative pronoun "which" clearly refers to "times", simply because of the "modifier touch rule".
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2016, 09:51
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.

can you please explain but and it usage here in the choices.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2016, 11:31
Nevernevergiveup wrote:
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.

can you please explain but and it usage here in the choices.

Not sure whether I understood your query correctly.

A pronoun may precede an antecedent in a sentence - such usage is accepted in GMAT. Here the pronoun "it" comes before its antecedent "the landlocked Caspian".

"But" is a conjunction joining two clauses "It is called a sea" and "the landlocked Caspian is actually the largest lake on Earth".
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2017, 06:24
The tale of the dog,which was big,was black.
In the above example in what thing does which refers to?It can refer both to the dog and the tale.Folloing the above rules which modifies the tale but what if we wanted to modify the dog?
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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03 Feb 2017, 15:40
egmat wrote:
OldFritz wrote:
Never thought I would ever use 'elegant' to describe a GMAT article but I am compelled to do so by this article.

Beautifully written and replete with lucid and relevant examples. Kudos!

Cheers,
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This is certainly very flattering. Thanks so much for your appreciation. Such feedbacks keep motivating us to write better articles for you all. Thanks again.

Agree with Shraddha. I have a E-Gmat subscription and the quality of content is superb.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2017, 23:19
I hate to spoil the party, but this thread is relying on an incorrect answer! In the Caspian Sea problem, the use of "which" in A and B is actually a flaw that the correct answer fixes! "Which" cannot jump over that many elements.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/it-is-called ... 36536.html
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2017, 23:21
gtrak, no rule has been established. There are exceptions to the touch rule, but it is still the norm unless the sentence really requires us to pass over a minor modifier. The norm is to modify the adjoining noun (dog), and we'd only interpret the sentence otherwise if it made sense. Here, there would be no need to use a modifier to say that the tale (or do you mean tail?) was big. We'd say "The tale (tail) of the dog was big and black."

We can say "The jar of peanut butter, which shattered on the floor, had never been opened." In this case, it's clear that the jar, and not the peanut butter, is what shattered. But again, this is an exception.
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Re: Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2017, 23:21

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