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# Prepostional phrases in long sentences

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Manager
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Prepostional phrases in long sentences [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2013, 05:02
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Hi vercules,
Can you please explain me the use of prepositional phrases in the sentence

I have googled for prepsotional phrases but am not getting a reasonable understanding..Can you illustrate with some examples...Thanks a lot in advance
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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Prepostional phrases in long sentences [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2013, 13:28
skamal7 wrote:
Hi vercules,
Can you please explain me the use of prepositional phrases in the sentence

I have Googled for prepositional phrases but am not getting a reasonable understanding..Can you illustrate with some examples...Thanks a lot in advance

Dear skamal7,
I'm intrigued by this post. Of what would you like some examples?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Kudos [?]: 8472 [0], given: 102

Manager
Joined: 02 Sep 2012
Posts: 244

Kudos [?]: 220 [0], given: 99

Location: United States
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Finance
GMAT Date: 07-25-2013
GPA: 3.83
WE: Architecture (Computer Hardware)
Re: Prepostional phrases in long sentences [#permalink]

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20 Mar 2013, 06:00
Hi mike,
First of all Thanks for pumping into this post... I always face difficulties when prepositional phrases are (1) placed in the begining (2)at the middle of sentence (3) in the end of sentence.
When i read an SC question with prepositional phrases,I see an explanation such as prepositional phrases are not being modified properly.

Can you please explain me with few sentences where the prepositional phrases are being used and how the phrases should get modified appropriately
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"Giving kudos" is a decent way to say "Thanks" and motivate contributors. Please use them, it won't cost you anything

Kudos [?]: 220 [0], given: 99

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Re: Prepostional phrases in long sentences [#permalink]

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20 Mar 2013, 11:17
skamal7 wrote:
Hi mike,
First of all Thanks for pumping into this post... I always face difficulties when prepositional phrases are (1) placed in the beginning (2)at the middle of sentence (3) in the end of sentence.
When i read an SC question with prepositional phrases, I see an explanation such as prepositional phrases are not being modified properly.

Can you please explain me with few sentences where the prepositional phrases are being used and how the phrases should get modified appropriately

Dear skamal7,

That's a relatively tall order. First of all, prepositions can be used either as adjectival phrases, modifying nouns, or as adverbial phrase, modifying verbs & adjectives.
Here's a blog on adjectival phrases in general:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-clauses/
Here's a blog on adverbial phrases in general:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-clauses/

I guess I would say --- issue #1 is learning the difference between (a) an adjective or adjectival phrase/clause, and (b) an adverb or adverbial phrase/clause. This depends on what the prepositional phrase is modifying. If it's modifying a noun, then under most circumstances, it should be touching that noun --- noun modifiers follow the Modifier Touch Rule. Verb modifiers have a little more flexibility in their placement, but one has to be careful so that the placement of the modifier doesn't create ambiguity.

Here's what I'll say --- show me some examples of sentences in which you felt you were confused by the prepositions, and we can discuss what each phrase is modifying and how it should be used.

Does this make sense?

Mike
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Kudos [?]: 8472 [0], given: 102

Manager
Joined: 02 Sep 2012
Posts: 244

Kudos [?]: 220 [0], given: 99

Location: United States
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Finance
GMAT Date: 07-25-2013
GPA: 3.83
WE: Architecture (Computer Hardware)
Re: Prepostional phrases in long sentences [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2013, 01:33
Although various eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American poets had professed an interest in Native American poetry and had pretended to imitate Native American forms in their own works, until almost 1900, scholars and critics did not begin seriously to study traditional Native American poetry in native languages.

(A) until almost 1900, scholars and critics did not begin seriously to study
(B) until almost 1900 scholars and critics had not begun seriously studying
(C) not until almost 1900 were scholars and critics to begin seriously to study
(D) it was not almost until 1900 when scholars and critics began to seriously study
(E) it was not until almost 1900 that scholars and critics seriously began studying

Can you explain the use of prepositional phrases in the above question.

Note: This question is posted here for a specific reason. Detailed discussion on this question can be found in although-various-eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century-american-88063.html where you can post question/additional information, if any.
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Re: Prepostional phrases in long sentences [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2013, 10:28
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Expert's post
skamal7 wrote:
Although various eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American poets had professed an interest in Native American poetry and had pretended to imitate Native American forms in their own works, until almost 1900, scholars and critics did not begin seriously to study traditional Native American poetry in native languages.
(A) until almost 1900, scholars and critics did not begin seriously to study
(B) until almost 1900 scholars and critics had not begun seriously studying
(C) not until almost 1900 were scholars and critics to begin seriously to study
(D) it was not almost until 1900 when scholars and critics began to seriously study
(E) it was not until almost 1900 that scholars and critics seriously began studying

Can you explain the use of prepositional phrases in the above question.

Dear skamal7,
When you post a SC question, please list the source and the OA. Here, I believe the source is GMAT Prep, and I believe the OA is (E).

Here's the original version, with all the prepositional phrases highlighted.
Although various eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American poets had professed an interest in Native American poetry and had pretended to imitate Native American forms in their own works, until almost 1900, scholars and critics did not begin seriously to study traditional Native American poetry in native languages.
Most of the preposition phrases there are relatively unremarkable ---- "in Native American poetry", "in their own works", "in native language" ---- I will assume you have no questions about those three.
One of the tricky parts of the questions concerns the word "until". The word "until" can be used both as a preposition or as a conjunction, which can confuse folks ---- here, there's not split in which it is being used as a conjunction, so that's not the issue here. The issue concerns the words "until" and "almost" and "1900" and "not", and the correct order of these.

When "until" is used as a preposition, it's object is always a time of some kind
until 4:00 pm
until next Tuesday
until Thanksgiving
until 1492
until night fall
until the end of the movie

Here, "1900" is a time, and "almost 1900" is also a time --- either could be the object of "until", and in context, it must be the latter. Four of the five answers have the three words "until almost 1900" together --- only (D) doesn't, but (D) is trainwreck wrong. You see, the crucial issue has to do with the placement of the word "not" --- what does not modify? We want to say ---- there was an action X (i.e. seriously studying traditional Native American poetry in native languages), and before around 1900, nobody did X, but starting around 1900, people started to do X. That's what we are trying to say. It would be correct to say either
...until almost 1900, scholars and critics did not begin to study ....
or we could say ----
...it was not until almost 1900 that scholars and critics seriously began studying....
The first is (A) without the word "seriously" --- that is a hard word to place correctly in that arrangement --- we don't want to put it in between "not" and "begin", because then the word "not' would modify the word "seriously" instead of the whole phrase. Similarly, in (D), the word "not" modifies the word "almost", and not the whole phrase. The second sentence here is (E), the OA.

It appears that you don't really have questions about prepositions per se --- you have questions about proper word order with prepositions & adverbs & "not" and so forth. Does this make sense?

Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Prepostional phrases in long sentences   [#permalink] 21 Mar 2013, 10:28
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