Participle Clause vs Relative Clause : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Participle Clause vs Relative Clause

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Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2009, 14:55
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Hi there,

I just finished the OG Diagnostic Test on SC. Now, I have a question regarding question 49:

The answer expaination basically says that
1) a relative clause modifies the noun or pronoun it refers to.
2) a participle clause modifies the whole clause it refers to.

Is that correct? I'm asking because there are many occasions in which one can just substitute a relative clause with a participle clause. To stick with question 49, this would look like this:

1) Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, who trained several [...]
2) Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, training several [...]

So is it correct that in the first example, who only refers to theater (which of course would be wrong)? I always thought participle and relative clauses are pretty similar in the way they modify other parts of speech.

Steve
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2009, 09:44
I think that MGMAT SC says that who after theater is not necessarily incorrect but yes confusing, since you have Stella Adler, influential artists and American theater as possible referers.
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2009, 10:28
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IMO

1) Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, who trained several [...]

In this sentence who modifies influential artists. It is true that normally, who modifies the noun that precedes it, but because that noun theater is in a prepositional phrase and because who can only modify people in this case who modifies influential artists.

This is an official question with similar structure

Unlike many women settlers in the nineteenth-century American West,whose craftwork

If the pronoun that you have can refer to the preceding noun and to the noun that the prepositional phrase modifies, you have to select depending on the context.

"Corrections in the second, third, and fourth printings, however, were made only to the original set of plates, which was used for reprintings through 1941 and then melted down"

"Among these may be seen some broad bands and broken masses of another set of plates, which are each perforated by a pair of pores"

2) Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, training several [...]

In this case training modifies the previous clause.
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2009, 11:53
Thank you all for your answers. However, I do not understand why the participle clause (training) modifies the clause and the relative pronoun (who trained) modifies something else. I thought that these two approaches are interchangeable, meaning that I can use one or the other to modify the same "thing".

As a case in point, I used a participle construction (meaning) in my previous sentence instead of the relative pronoun (which means). Does the meaning really change?

I hope my explanation is understandable and someone can clear up my confusion

Thx,
Steve
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2009, 15:39
Now that I think about it, can we say that:
1) a participle phrase always modifies the subject of the main clause?
2) a relative pronoun never modifies the object of the preceding prepositional phrase (e.g. in the American theater, who trained etc.)?

Also, I came across the term adverbial participle phrase a couple of times on the net (e.g. http://www.yourdictionary.com/community ... /5048/P15/). I found this very confusing since a participle phrase always modifies a verb... this might be out of scope for the GMAT but just out of curiosity, what do you all think about this?

Cheers,
Steve
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 10:30
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enfinity wrote:
2) a relative pronoun never modifies the object of the preceding prepositional phrase (e.g. in the American theater, who trained etc.)?

I don't understand what you mean here. In the example I wrote

"Among these may be seen some broad bands and broken masses of another set of plates, which are each perforated by a pair of pores"

which refers to plates so is possible to refer to a noun of the preceding prepositional phrase.
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 11:02
Mike,

Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, training several [...]

You wrote earlier that in this example, training modifies the previous clause and you highlighted Stella Adler, who is the subject of that clause.
So the other question that I asked was this: Does a participle phrase always modifies the subject of the preceding clause? In the Stella Adler example, it does.
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 12:54
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Quote:
Participial clauses often express condition, reason, cause, result or time in a similar way to full adverbial clauses, only more economically.

Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, what gave her the opportunity to train several [...]

That's the way I understand that sentence. Actually I think that participle clauses doesn't "modify" the subject, rather the subject also functions as the subject of the clause (who trained? Stella Adler).

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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 13:37
Thanks saruba! Good input!

SC drives me nuts so bear with me I just try to understand everything there is on this naughty subject (or at least as much as possible) so that I can beat every single SC question...

OK, here the sentence again:
Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, training several artists [...]

And here some thoughts on participle phrases--> the only reason we use participle clauses is to reduce a sentence:
For example: if two sentences have the same subject, we can reduce one part to a participle clause:

No participle construction: She watched TV. She forgot everything.
With participle construction: Watching TV, she forgot everything around her.

Now, bringing it all together:

Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater. She trained several artists [...].

When I reduce the second sentences by using a participle construction, I get

Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, training several artists [...]

BTW: of course, participle constructions can be used for a number of things not just reducing one sentence that shares the same subject with another sentence (such as *not like * relative clauses)
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 14:02
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I'm not sure of how you used participle clauses here. I'm an international student so therefore I can't say 100% surely that is incorrect but I'll try to explain how i see it:

Quote:
No participle construction: She watched TV. She forgot everything.
With participle construction: Watching TV, she forgot everything around her.

In this example, note that the 2 sentences are not exactly the same.
She watched TV. She forgot everything. - you can interpret this as a sequence "first she watched tv, then she forgot everything". What is clear at least is that there's not necessarily a relation between the two clauses .
In the second sentence it is obvious that it was WHILE she was watching TV that she forgot everything.

Look that in the Stella Adler's example, when you remove the participle clause and substitute it with another sentence, you are changing the original meaning, I could say: Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater. She trained several artists in order to get to the top.
While the original sentence says: Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, because she trained several artists....

In the link I provided, indeed it says that participle clauses are used to reduce a sentence but not as you did here merging two sentences,
consider the example:
Quote:
Having taken the wrong train, I found myself in Bath, not Bristol.
Because I had taken the wrong train, I found myself in Bath, not Bristol.

Well at this point I'm not even sure what was the original question or whatever,
i hope it is somehow useful,
see you in next round
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 14:34
Good post! We're getting closer!

My point is that you're using participle clauses when you refer to the same subject:

Take this for instance:
She watched TV and forgot everything.

She is still the subject and "Watching TV, she forgot everything around her." would still be the participle version of this, right?

I can see your point though. Participle clauses are often used to reduce adverbial clauses (although I read many times on the internet that participle clauses are NEVER used in an adverbial sense, meaning that they always have to modify a noun, pronoun or noun phrase)

As far as the Stella Adler sentence is concerned. I don't think I changed the meaning at all:

Original sentence: Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, training several artists [...]
My modification: Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater. She trained several artists [...].

Same meaning, isn't it?

As a reminder:
Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, who trained [...] was the cause of all this confusion. Here, who modifies artists instead of Stella Adler. The question was: Why does the reduces version (that is the participle phrase with training) suddenly modify the right thing (that is Stella). First I thought, the participle clause simply reduces the relative sentence (who trained --> training). My train of thought here was: Why does a mere reduction of a relative clause to a participle phrase change the thing being modified However, I think the explanation with the two sentences referring to the same subject (Stella) explains this problem.

That's who we're talking about the whole time :D
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2009, 19:54
I think is that the participle is not a "reduced" version, it just changes the interpretation.

Consider the following

# Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments investigating the effects that changes
# Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments, investigating the effects that changes

In the first example the participle modifies experiments because you don't have a comma between experiments and investigating.
In the second example the participle modifies the preceding clause.

I think that the relative sentence does not work this way. A relative sentence modifies the noun that precedes it.

If you want who to "clearly" modify Stella you should put the relative clause close to what it modifies.

Stella Adler,who trained ..., was one of the most influential artists in the American theater
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Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause [#permalink]

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19 Sep 2009, 07:44
You're right mike. Here is the simple explaination provided in MGMAT SC, pg. 91:

Present Participle WITH COMMAS always refers to the verb and the verb's subject in the preceding clause.
Present Participle WITHOUT COMMAS always refer to the noun preceding the participle.
Re: Participle Clause vs Relative Clause   [#permalink] 19 Sep 2009, 07:44
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