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SC Grammar Query: , ing verb

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SC Grammar Query: , ing verb  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2019, 12:20
I have been using GMAT Pill and this is what it teaches:

If there is a sentence followed by a comma and a ing verb [the ing verb modifies the subject of the sentence]

However, in this sentence:

In a plan to stop the erosion of East Coast beaches, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed building parallel to shore a breakwater of rocks that would rise six feet above the waterline and act as a buffer, absorbing the energy of crashing waves and protecting the beaches.

The word "absorbing" is modifying "a breakwater of rocks", whereas the subject of the sentence is "the Amy Corps of Engineers".

I am very confused!
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Re: SC Grammar Query: , ing verb  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 20:09
What you read is sometimes but not always accurate, because, when a comma precedes a present participial phrase, or verb -ing modifier, what that phrase modifies is not always the subject of the sentence. Rather, such a phrase usually, but not 100 percent of the time, has as its agent, which is basically the subject of the participle, the subject of the preceding subject-verb pair, which subject is sometimes the subject of the sentence and sometimes the subject of a modifying clause.

Here are examples, one of each type.

The dog barked loudly, waking everyone in the house. - The agent of the participle "waking," which begins the closing phrase, is the subject of the sentence, "dog," and the phrase modifies the main clause of the sentence.

The Army Corps of Engineers proposed building parallel to shore a breakwater of rocks that would rise six feet above the waterline and act as a buffer, absorbing the energy of crashing waves and protecting the beaches. - The agent of the participle "absorbing," which begins the closing phrase, is the subject of the preceding modifying clause, "that," which refers to "breakwater," and the closing phrase modifies the preceding modifying clause.
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Re: SC Grammar Query: , ing verb   [#permalink] 04 Mar 2019, 20:09
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