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# Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River

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18 Jun 2019, 11:28
priyanshu14 wrote:
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a list question you might find on the GMAT! Let's take a closer look at this question, one issue at a time, and determine our best course of action! First, here is the original question with any major differences between the options highlighted in orange:

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

After a quick glance over the options, a couple things clearly need to be addressed:

1. rob vs. robbing
2. decrease in size vs. smaller

We know already that this is an example of a list question. Whenever we see list questions, we know we must focus on the following:

1. Parallelism (ALL items in the list must be similar in word use, verb tense, structure, etc.)
2. Concision (ALL items should use the most concise wording whenever possible)

The best place to start with any list question is to find any part of the list that isn't underlined. Since that part of the sentence cannot change, ALL other items on the list must match it in verb tense, wording, tone, etc.

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay[/color], [u]which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

The two items on the list that aren't underlined are "less distinctive" and "less in demand." Would it make more sense to use "decrease in size" or the more concise "smaller" here? Remember - we must use concise wording whenever possible!

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

We can eliminate options A, C, and E because they are overly wordy. Saying "decrease in size" and "smaller" mean the same thing. The GMAT prefers you use the most concise option whenever possible, so we have to throw these out.

Now that we're left with only options B & D, let's take a closer look. I've included the rest of the sentence surrounding it so problems might be easier to spot:

(B) Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

This option is INCORRECT because it includes a vague pronoun "it." We're not 100% sure what the pronoun is referring to: increasing demands of the Chattahoochee River, the Apalachicola River, or the Apalachicola Bay?

(D) Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

This is CORRECT! It doesn't contain any confusing pronouns, and the parallelism with "robbing" and "making" sounds nice. Also, it uses the concise "smaller" rather than the wordy "decrease in size."

There you go - option D is the best choice!

Don't study for the GMAT. Train for it.

Dear EMPOWERgmatVerbal,

Thanks for the explanation. I am basic in Grammar so, please bear with me for basic questions
I request for detailed explanation of "decrease in size versus smaller"

bb generis GMATNinja

Hello priyanshu14!

I'm glad to hear you appreciate the explanations, and don't worry at all about your questions being too simple - they are not at all! Many other students on here are also working on their grammar, so you are not alone!

For this question, there is no difference in the meaning of "decrease in size" versus "smaller." You could use either of them and it wouldn't change the meaning of the sentence. However, when you take the GMAT exam, they prefer that you use short or concise wording whenever you can. Since the phrase you choose is part of a list, it's also a good idea to stick to what the rest of the list looks like. Since the other two items are also written as short as possible, it makes sense to keep them all similar.

to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand. = not the shortest/most concise way to say it
to make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand. = the shortest/most concise way to say it

Why say 3 words when 1 word will do? That is the main reason we choose "smaller" over "decrease in size."

The only time it would make sense to use "decrease in size" is if it was parallel to the other items in the list. For example, if the list looked like this:

to make them decrease in size, decrease in distinctive markings, and decrease in demand.

I hope this helps! I appreciate you asking, and keep up the great questions!
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13 Sep 2019, 02:34
Is the use of which right below?

He is running, which is a good cardiovascular activity.
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13 Sep 2019, 12:21
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jkbk

No, not at all because 'is running' is not a noun. One can't separate 'running' from 'is' and say, running is a gerund (noun) and therefore 'which' can refer to it. It will be absurd to say 'he' is equal to 'running'.
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14 Sep 2019, 04:44
daagh wrote:
jkbk

No, not at all because 'is running' is not a noun. One can't separate 'running' from 'is' and say, running is a gerund (noun) and therefore 'which' can refer to it. It will be absurd to say 'he' is equal to 'running'.

daagh
In that case,

He is running. It is a good cardiovascular activity.

This will also be treated as wrong. Coz "it" is a pronoun and can't refer to a verb. Am i right?

If so, how else would you express that sentence grammatically?

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14 Sep 2019, 05:41
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jkab
Can't we say
1.He is running and running is a good exercie
2.He is practising running, which is a good exercise. In this case running is a gerund and the direct object of the verb
'is practising'. Therfore, it is ok.
3. He goes for a morning run, a good cardiovasculr excercose- Here the term 'run' is a normal noun modified by the appositive 'a good cardiovascular exercise'.
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15 Sep 2019, 02:23
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What is wrong with C, It must be correct, please help me.
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15 Sep 2019, 02:55
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Taha,
In C, two things are wrong. The choice says that river could 'alter and rob' as though 'robbing ' is a separate function done by the river. This is not true. It is the alteration of the saline content of the river that robs the flavor. This is a grave distortion of the original intent. The second point is that the bare infinitive 'decrease in size' is not parallel to the other two adjectives that follow. Smaller is apt
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31 Oct 2019, 02:13
The official explanation of C is the following:
"The comma before the conjunction and signals that an independent clause will follow and, but a verb phrase follows instead. The series of phrases following making them lacks appropriate parallelism."

I understand why C is wrong generally, but got confused by this explanation. Do they mean, an independent clause as a noun+verb structure should follow ',and'?
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01 Nov 2019, 14:04
rencsee wrote:
The official explanation of C is the following:
"The comma before the conjunction and signals that an independent clause will follow and, but a verb phrase follows instead. The series of phrases following making them lacks appropriate parallelism."

I understand why C is wrong generally, but got confused by this explanation. Do they mean, an independent clause as a noun+verb structure should follow ',and'?
EMPOWERgmatVerbal GMATNinja ?

Hi rencsee!

You are correct - what comes after the ", and" conjunction needs to be a complete thought that includes both a clear subject and verb.

I hope that helps! It sounds like you're on the right track!
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2019, 08:03
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rencsee wrote:
The official explanation of C is the following:
"The comma before the conjunction and signals that an independent clause will follow and, but a verb phrase follows instead. The series of phrases following making them lacks appropriate parallelism."

I understand why C is wrong generally, but got confused by this explanation. Do they mean, an independent clause as a noun+verb structure should follow ',and'?
EMPOWERgmatVerbal GMATNinja ?

First, consider this pair of examples:

• "Mike went to the grocery store, and bought beer." - The comma shouldn't be there because we are NOT linking two complete thoughts ("bought beer") is not an independent clause.
• "Mike went to the grocery store, and he bought beer." - The comma is needed because we are linking two complete thoughts (independent clauses, each with its own subject and verb) with a comma+conjunction.

Now consider a stripped down version of choice (C):

• "Increasing demands could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, and rob the oysters there of their flavor." - This has the same problem as the first example above. The comma+conjunction does NOT link two complete thoughts ("rob the oysters there of their flavor" is a verb phrase and not a complete sentence).

That's all they were referring to in that explanation. And for whatever it's worth, the GMAT very, very rarely uses commas as a major decision point, so I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about them.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2019, 10:03
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1 Seismologists studying the earthquake that struck northern California in October 1989 are still investigating some of its mysteries: the unexpected power of the seismic waves, the upward thrust that threw one man straight into the air, and the strange electromagnetic signals detected hours before the temblor.
(A) the upward thrust that threw one man straight into the air, and the strange electromagnetic signals detected hours before the temblor

2. The end of the eighteenth century saw the emergence of prize-stock breeding, with individual bulls and cows receiving awards, fetching unprecedented prices, and excited enormous interest whenever they were put on show.
(C) exciting

3. The most common reasons for an employee’s unwillingness to accept a transfer are that the mortgage rates are high, housing in the new location costs more, and the difficulty of selling the old home.
(E) the high mortgage rates, the greater cost of housing in the new location, and the difficulty of selling the old home

4. Doctors hope that one day the body's master cells called stem cells can be directed to grow in organs or tissues appropriate for transplant, use them to test drugs and potentially toxic chemicals, and may study them to gain insight into basic human biology.

C. transplant, used to test drugs and potentially toxic chemicals, and studied

5. The principal feature of the redesigned checks is a series of printed instructions that the company hopes will help merchants confirm a check’s authenticity, which includes reminders to watch the endorsement, compare signatures, and view the watermark while holding the check to the light.

(E) including reminders to watch the endorsement, compare signatures, and view

Here are five solid GMATPREP questions of list parallelism containing more than two factors in a list. The correct answers to these questions are given in the highlight. All of them have 'a comma plus and' before the last item of the list.

For my update, I am curious to see an official question that mandates a clause after a comma plus coordinate conjunction between the penultimate and ultimate items of a list containing more than three items.

Or perhaps we should not bother about this matter of style too much, concentrating on other errors in the choice as Ninja stated... Because the treatment of making them smaller should not be a modifier of the verb rob,, rather is one more item of the list.
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Updated on: 19 Feb 2020, 23:05
GMATNinja wrote:
There’s a lot of funny-sounding stuff in this one: two consecutive “which” modifiers in some answer choices, plus it’s really, really hard to quickly say “oysters there of their flavor” five times in a row. But by now, you don’t care about “sound” on SC… right?

Quote:
(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,

The first thing that jumps out at me is the underlined “which” modifier. I don’t think that it makes a whole lot of sense: “Apalachicola Bay” certainly doesn’t “rob oysters there of their flavor”, and neither does “the saline content of Apalachicola Bay.” The alteration of the saline content robs oysters of their flavor – but that’s a verb here (“could alter”), and “which” generally doesn’t modify a verb on the GMAT.

The parallelism is also a huge problem here. The phrase “to make” follows the “and”, so we’d need another infinitive verb earlier in the sentence. But I don’t see anything that could possibly work.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,

Hopefully, the word “it” jumps out at you whenever you see it. You’re looking for a singular referent, but in this case, I don’t see a lot of great options: we have the saline content, Apalachicola Bay, or a couple of different rivers, but none of those are really performing the action of robbing oysters of their flavor. It’s the alteration of the saline content – caused by increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River – that rob the oysters of their flavor. So the pronoun “it” is wrong.

Plus, we have some funky parallelism stuff going on here: “rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.” I’d be OK if there was an “and” before “make”: that way, “smaller”, “less distinctive”, and “less in demand” could all be parallel to each other.

But in this case, the list makes no sense: it’s a hodgepodge of verbs (“rob” and “make”) and modifiers (“less distinctive” and “less in demand”). (B) is definitely out.

Quote:
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,

This one is tricky! It looks like “rob” is parallel to the verb “could alter”, and I guess that’s OK: “… increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River… could alter the saline content… and rob oysters there of their flavor…” That doesn’t sound too bad, but we could argue that the alteration of the saline content is the thing that robs the oysters of their flavor, not the “increasing demands on the river” – so the two verbs “rob” and “could alter” probably shouldn’t be parallel to each other. That’s awfully subtle, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you didn’t notice that there’s a problem with it.

The other issue with (C) is the parallelism at the end of the sentence: “making them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.” So “less in demand” and “less distinctive” are both modifiers. Fair enough. But then “decrease in size” is a verb phrase, which can’t be parallel to those two modifiers.

Nasty stuff, in my opinion. (C) is gone.

Quote:
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,

This sounds weird. “Robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller…” Hm, that’s a mouthful. Say it five times fast, and you probably won’t want to choose it as your answer.

But it’s right. “Robbing the oysters there of their flavor” is now a modifier, giving us more information about the entire previous clause about increasing demands on the river, and alterations of the saline content. That makes perfect sense: the entire, long-winded situation – beginning with the “increasing demands” on the river – robs oysters of their flavor, so the “-ing” modifier is perfect.

And the parallelism at the end of the sentence is great, too: “making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.” Three parallel modifiers, all describing what happens to the oysters.

Let’s keep (D).

Quote:
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

The comma after “flavor” is a minor issue. In general, the GMAT doesn’t spend a lot of time testing us on the subtleties of comma usage, but there’s no real need for the comma here, since “robbing” and “making” are very nicely parallel with each other. Don’t lose sleep over this, since it’s rarely – if ever – a deciding factor on these questions.

The bigger issue is the parallelism error at the end of the sentence: just as in (C), “decrease in size” isn’t parallel to “less distinctive” and “less in demand,” since “decrease” is a verb. And that’s the best reason to eliminate (E), and settle for (D).

Hi GMATNinja!

I have a question thats really troubling me!!

For the answer choice D what is the subject of the modifier "robbing"? Would it be "increasing demands" or "saline content"? and how can identify the same?

(I have posted a follow up question on the same lines below) Would really appreciate your help!

Originally posted by Kritisood on 19 Feb 2020, 22:22.
Last edited by Kritisood on 19 Feb 2020, 23:05, edited 1 time in total.
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19 Feb 2020, 22:29
EducationAisle wrote:
I just don't get why D is right
the present participle "robbing" seems to modify Apalachicola Bay .

Hi foryearss, the present participle robbing is preceded by a comma in D.

Such Participial phrases modify the subject of the preceding clause. In this case, the preceding clause is:

Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

The subject of this clause is Chattahoochee River. So, the present participle phrase robbing the oysters there of their flavor..... is correctly modifying Chattahoochee River.

Quote:
It is the exact reason that we eliminated A !

That's correct.

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Hi

How can "robbing" correctly modify the Chattahoochee River ? When the sentence says robbing the oysters there of their flavor.....

"Chattahoochee River" is not robbing the oysters of its flavors nor is the" increasing demand".. the "saline content of Apalachicola Bay" is doing that. Hence, "robbing" should be modifying "saline content of Apalachicola Bay".

My question here is: how do we know with certainty what "robbing" is modifying? Hence, how is D correct?

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20 Feb 2020, 00:57
Kritisood wrote:
How can "robbing" correctly modify the Chattahoochee River ? When the sentence says robbing the oysters there of their flavor.....

Hi Kriti, please refer to my post later in this thread, wherein I have amended that in option D, the present participial phrasae robbing.. modifies increasing demands (on the Chattahoochee River).

In addition to this, such participial phrases generally describe/present a result of the previous clause.

Perhaps, a simpler example will help:

Peter studied hard, acing the exam.

Again, the present participial phrase acing the exam is modifying Peter (in the sense that Peter is the agent of acing) and in addition, acing the exam is a result of Peter studying hard.

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20 Feb 2020, 01:16
EducationAisle wrote:
Kritisood wrote:
How can "robbing" correctly modify the Chattahoochee River ? When the sentence says robbing the oysters there of their flavor.....

Hi Kriti, please refer to my post later in this thread, wherein I have amended that in option D, the present participial phrasae robbing.. modifies increasing demands (on the Chattahoochee River).

In addition to this, such participial phrases generally describe/present a result of the previous clause.

Perhaps, a simpler example will help:

Peter studied hard, acing the exam.

Again, the present participial phrase acing the exam is modifying Peter (in the sense that Peter is the agent of acing) and in addition, acing the exam is a result of Peter studying hard.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Present participial phrase, its application and examples in significant detail. If you or someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.

Hi Ashish, thanks for your response

I read your previous post though my question still remains what is the subject of "robbing" ?

In your previous post you have mentioned "robbing would modify the subject of this clause: increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River"

But as mentioned in many posts above, robbing is modifying the alteration in the saline content of Apalachicola Bay. Below was GMATNinja 's explanation

Quote:
This one is tricky! It looks like “rob” is parallel to the verb “could alter”, and I guess that’s OK: “… increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River… could alter the saline content… and rob oysters there of their flavor…” That doesn’t sound too bad, but we could argue that the alteration of the saline content is the thing that robs the oysters of their flavor, not the “increasing demands on the river” – so the two verbs “rob” and “could alter” probably shouldn’t be parallel to each other. That’s awfully subtle, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you didn’t notice that there’s a problem with it.

Also, you stated "such participial phrases will always modify the subject of the preceding clause". In this sentence the preceding clause to "robbing" is "could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay"; the subject of this clause is "saline content", hence, is robbing now modifying the saline content?

I am really confused. Would appreciate your input. Thanks!!
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20 Feb 2020, 01:27
Kritisood wrote:
Also, you stated "such participial phrases will always modify the subject of the preceding clause".

For the most part yes, though doer of the previous action would be more accurate way to depict it.

Quote:
In this sentence the preceding clause to "robbing" is "could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay"; the subject of this clause is "saline content"

This is where there is a bit of disconnect. The previous clause actually is:

increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

So, subject of this clause is actually increasing demands (on the Chattahoochee River) and not "saline content". In fact, saline content is the object of this clause.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2020, 11:10
Kritisood wrote:
EducationAisle wrote:
I just don't get why D is right
the present participle "robbing" seems to modify Apalachicola Bay .

Hi foryearss, the present participle robbing is preceded by a comma in D.

Such Participial phrases modify the subject of the preceding clause. In this case, the preceding clause is:

Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

The subject of this clause is Chattahoochee River. So, the present participle phrase robbing the oysters there of their flavor..... is correctly modifying Chattahoochee River.

Quote:
It is the exact reason that we eliminated A !

That's correct.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Present Participial Phrases, their application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.

Hi

How can "robbing" correctly modify the Chattahoochee River ? When the sentence says robbing the oysters there of their flavor.....

"Chattahoochee River" is not robbing the oysters of its flavors nor is the" increasing demand".. the "saline content of Apalachicola Bay" is doing that. Hence, "robbing" should be modifying "saline content of Apalachicola Bay".

My question here is: how do we know with certainty what "robbing" is modifying? Hence, how is D correct?

GMATNinja daagh EMPOWERgmatVerbal

Great question, Kritisood!

Let's look at the correct answer to see more clearly how the modifiers work.

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Let's make this even simpler by eliminating some of the extra modifiers that are placed there to confuse readers:

...increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River...could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Subject: increasing demands
Verb: could alter
Object: the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

If we take out all that extra "stuff," we're left with a pretty basic sentence. So - WHAT is robbing the oysters of flavor? Increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River. Modifiers that start with -ing words modify the SUBJECT of the previous clause, which in this case is "increasing demands."

By adding in the object and an extra modifier phrase, it confuses readers as to what the modifiers are referring back to.

I hope this helps! Please tag us at EMPOWERgmatVerbal if you have any other questions!
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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21 Feb 2020, 07:33
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:

Great question, Kritisood!

Let's look at the correct answer to see more clearly how the modifiers work.

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Let's make this even simpler by eliminating some of the extra modifiers that are placed there to confuse readers:

...increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River...could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Subject: increasing demands
Verb: could alter
Object: the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

If we take out all that extra "stuff," we're left with a pretty basic sentence. So - WHAT is robbing the oysters of flavor? Increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River. Modifiers that start with -ing words modify the SUBJECT of the previous clause, which in this case is "increasing demands."

By adding in the object and an extra modifier phrase, it confuses readers as to what the modifiers are referring back to.

I hope this helps! Please tag us at EMPOWERgmatVerbal if you have any other questions!

Hi! Thanks for your response! it helps definitely. I have a follow-up question though - how to eliminate option C?

I eliminated C basis the below reason:

Quote:
This one is tricky! It looks like “rob” is parallel to the verb “could alter”, and I guess that’s OK: “… increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River… could alter the saline content… and rob oysters there of their flavor…” That doesn’t sound too bad, but we could argue that the alteration of the saline content is the thing that robs the oysters of their flavor, not the “increasing demands on the river” – so the two verbs “rob” and “could alter” probably shouldn’t be parallel to each other. That’s awfully subtle, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you didn’t notice that there’s a problem with it.

if "increasing demands" is the subject for D as well as C; then on what basis would I eliminate C except for the issue of parallelism at the end of the sentence .
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2020, 09:18
[quote="jerrywu"]Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

It is realy hard to justify the meaning relation between two actions. two actions should be parallel or should be in subordination relation. this is hard. some gmatprep really force us to do this hard job.
look at choice C. "and rob" make two actions parallel. demands alter saline content and demand rob.
"demands alter saline content" . this sentence is logic
but
"demands rob" . this sentence is not logic. why demands rob. to realize this illogical is hard.
in choice C we do not need to know this relation between two verbs to eliminate it. but many gmatprep question really test us this point and, so, I discuss here.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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19 Apr 2020, 02:34
Kritisood wrote:
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:

Great question, Kritisood!

Let's look at the correct answer to see more clearly how the modifiers work.

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Let's make this even simpler by eliminating some of the extra modifiers that are placed there to confuse readers:

...increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River...could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Subject: increasing demands
Verb: could alter
Object: the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

If we take out all that extra "stuff," we're left with a pretty basic sentence. So - WHAT is robbing the oysters of flavor? Increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River. Modifiers that start with -ing words modify the SUBJECT of the previous clause, which in this case is "increasing demands."

By adding in the object and an extra modifier phrase, it confuses readers as to what the modifiers are referring back to.

I hope this helps! Please tag us at EMPOWERgmatVerbal if you have any other questions!

Hi! Thanks for your response! it helps definitely. I have a follow-up question though - how to eliminate option C?

I eliminated C basis the below reason:

Quote:
This one is tricky! It looks like “rob” is parallel to the verb “could alter”, and I guess that’s OK: “… increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River… could alter the saline content… and rob oysters there of their flavor…” That doesn’t sound too bad, but we could argue that the alteration of the saline content is the thing that robs the oysters of their flavor, not the “increasing demands on the river” – so the two verbs “rob” and “could alter” probably shouldn’t be parallel to each other. That’s awfully subtle, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you didn’t notice that there’s a problem with it.

if "increasing demands" is the subject for D as well as C; then on what basis would I eliminate C except for the issue of parallelism at the end of the sentence .

Yes increasing demands is the subject of C. So there are the two things 'increasing demands' do:
a) increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay
b) increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River (could) rob the oysters there of their flavor

Here (a) makes sense! But (B) makes no sense. It is not that the increasing demands on the river could rob the oysters there of their flavor directly. Increasing demands could alter the saline content and the alternation of the saline content could rob the oysters there. If you look in the right answer, the sequence of events is clearer. First the increase demand could 'alter' and that alternation could 'rob'.
Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River   [#permalink] 19 Apr 2020, 02:34

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