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# Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and olde

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The reason why there is so much confusion here is that the principles of participle usage have not been understood well. A participle though called present or past participle per se does not indicate the sense of the tense. It goes along with the tense of the main clause.

In the above simple sentence, if the intruding descriptive structures are removed, the clause will read under

Scientists have recently discovered a giant fungus, spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in
the soil of a Michigan forest

“spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest” is indeed the long, long participial phrase .The participles ‘spawned’ ( past participle ) and extending( present participle ) both refer to the fungus and not to the filigree or the tentacles. If it were to refer to tentacles, it should say “tentacles that were spawned and that are extending”. Logically only a fungus can be spawned and not the tentacles.

@Cracky: You are trying to parallelize ‘a fungus is’ with ‘a fungus extends’ because both are in present tense. In the process you have forgotten the all important ‘spawned by’ .The second leg of the participial phrase 'extending' should parallel the first leg 'spawned'. It is legitimate to use both past and present participles as parallel structures in the same sentence. Hence A is the right answer, as many have already said.

P.S. I have a small note prepared for my students on this topic, titled A Pamphlet on the Use of Participles in GMAT, running to about 25 pages . Perhaps that may be of help to some.
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Re: Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and olde [#permalink]
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anshgupta wrote:
would love it if GMATNinja took a crack at this one!

Quote:
(A) extending

Without a helping verb, this -ing word can't be a verb. (For more on that, check out this article.) And, no, you can't tie "extending" back to "that is" because that would create a parallelism issue -- "an interwoven filigree" and "extending" aren't parallel.

So we HAVE to treat "extending" as a modifier, making it parallel to the -ed modifier "spawned":

"... an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore {...} and extending").

You can picture an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles extending throughout the soil underneath a forest, so "extending" makes perfect sense as a modifier. Keep (A).

(If you want to learn more about -ed modifiers and why they can be parallel to -ing modifiers, check out this article.)

Quote:
(B) extends

This one is a simple present verb, and it's parallel to the verb "is" ("... a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree {...} and extends..."). That means that those two verbs ("is" and "extends") share the same subject ("a giant fungus").

That's not terrible. After all, the fungus does indeed extend in the soil of the forest. But putting those two verbs in parallel seems to separate them, making it sound like the fungus does two distinct things: it IS an interwoven filigree, and (separately) it EXTENDS for more than 30 acres. And since it's the filigree of mushrooms and tentacles that actually extends in the soil, the modifier in (A) seems more appropriate.

(B) isn't bad, but it's a little hard to follow, since there's lots of stuff in between the verbs, and that creates a subtle meaning issue. Since the parallelism in (A) is completely clear and logical, it's the better option.

Quote:
(C) extended

This could be a past tense verb, parallel to "is". But that wouldn't make much sense because the sentence refers to this LIVING organism in the present tense: it IS an interwoven filigree, so it presumably still EXTENDS for more than 30 acres.

So we have to treat "extended" as an -ed modifier, but "extended" seems to suggest that there's some other thing doing the extending. So some external force is actively stretching out the filigree of mushrooms/tentacles?

The modifier in (A) makes more sense, so (C) can go. (For more on "extending" vs "extended", check out this thread.)

Quote:
(D) it extended

(D) has all sorts of issues. For starters, it takes some work to figure out what "it" even refers to here. Most readers will figure out that "it" refers to the "giant fungus", but it's not the clearest thing ever. That's not an automatic elimination -- after all, pronoun ambiguity is NOT an absolute rule on the GMAT. But it creates a bit of confusion that's not ideal.

Related: "it" becomes the subject of a completely new independent clause, and that's not awesome. There's an independent clause at the beginning of the sentence ("Scientists have recently discovered..."), and now we have a brand-new independent clause ("it extended...") that starts up towards the end of the sentence. At minimum, that's unnecessary. Worse, I'd argue that it's a little bit confusing: why are we starting a new clause here? Is this a completely separate idea, somehow? Why not just have parallel modifiers instead, as we see in (A), so that it's 100% obvious that we're still talking about the "giant fungus"?

The biggest problem with (D) is probably the verb tense. In the non-underlined portion, the giant fungus is discussed in the present tense ("is an interwoven filigree..."), since it still exists. So it doesn't make sense to use "extended" here -- that would suggest that the fungus still exists, but no longer extends for more than 30 acres of soil.

Lots of problems with (D), so we can get rid of it.

Quote:
(E) is extending

The phrase "is extending" is definitely a verb, so much of what we said about (B) applies here. This one is probably a tiny bit worse than (B) because the simple present tense ("extends") seems more logical than the present progressive ("is extending"). The latter seems to imply that the "extending for 30 acres" part is happening right now -- as if the fungus is suddenly and rapidly expanding in the soil at this very moment?

(B) is better than (E), and (A) is better than (B). So that leaves (A) as our winner.

And if you want a video explanation of the question instead, please check out this YouTube thing on parallelism and meaning.

I hope that helps!
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Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is a interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 1000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soill of a michigan forest.

The key to solving this is to identify the right modifier.

There is a giant fungus. What is it like? It is characterized by an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles and is extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.
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I got A,

this is a IIism. a giant fungus is modifying what scientists have recently discovered.
The rest of the sentence is modifying the fungus
by that is -an interwoven
-and root like tentacles spawned by a single .....
- and ..............for more than.....years

This a a trap. a lot of test takers will choose extended in order to parallel the sentence with ...spawned
now the parallelism is not with spawned here. it is with and inter woven, and root like....if we use past participle then we are actually making this part a passive one, so the question come is extended by whom? but the fact is the fungus wasn't extended by anyone but is extending by itself.

So A is the right choice.
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My answer is B.

I have always had an issue with this type of question. What i have found in GMAt questions is that in most cases like the one here, the question talks about many properties of a single item. In the process they mix the verb tense thereby confusing the subject.

This Q is a classic example of that. The scientists discovered the Fungi, the next 2 are properties of the fungi. hence extends is correct and not extending

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Subject + verb + direct object
Scientists discovered the organism.
Most of the sentence describes this organism: largest, oldest, LIVING, etc. Many of you made the parallelism between "is" and "extends". But if we make "living" parallel with "extending"? Think about it. For me, what helped the most was the structure of the sentence. If you think of verbs inside the big modifier, then you get lost and confused with "is", "spawned", "extending", etc.
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Parallelism really is the key issue here. Any time there are two verbs that fall into the same category, those verbs need to be parallel. For example:

"The dog ran and barked." --> "Ran" and "barked" both fall into the category "things the dog did," so they both need to be in the same tense.

"Yesterday, I went to the beach and spent the day swimming and tanning." --> "Swimming" and "Tanning" both fall into the category "things I did at the beach yesterday," so they both need to be in the same tense. Notice that "went" is a different tense because it doesn't fall into the category "things I did at the beach yesterday." You could say "Yesterday, I went to the beach, spent the day swimming, and tanned" but this would change the meaning because there's no indication that the second two verbs were done while at the beach.

In the example above, there are two participles describing the fungus, so they must be parallel.
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Ideally an action that was started in the past, that continues thorough he present and that might extend to the future, must be expressed with a perfect tense. But in the above case, are these conditions extant? No doubt the action of spawning (spawning means seeding) was done in the past and ended in the past. The spawning is not continuing today. The other event extending was not there 10,000 years ago, becos, at that point of time the fungus did not occupy 30 acres. So in both areas, a prefect tense becomes irrelevant.

What is the alternative then? A present tense such as is spawned to denote a completed action is ungrammatical. It is in such places that the use of participles, whether past or present is handy. That is why the sentence is using spawned, a past participle for spawning and present participle extending for the other event. As per norms of participles, it is parallel to use past and present participles in the same sentence.

C, which seems to use the speciously more parallel extended[/color]\, is wrong, becos the first arm says ‘spawned by’ while the second arm just says 'extended'. In essence, unless it clarifies ‘extended by what’, there is good reason to assume that it was extended by the same single fertilized spore. This is not logical.
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cano wrote:
Subject + verb + direct object
Scientists discovered the organism.
Most of the sentence describes this organism: largest, oldest, LIVING, etc. Many of you made the parallelism between "is" and "extends". But if we make "living" parallel with "extending"? Think about it. For me, what helped the most was the structure of the sentence. If you think of verbs inside the big modifier, then you get lost and confused with "is", "spawned", "extending", etc.

No. While the name is 'present' participle, they really have no tense (Present/Past/Future) of their own. Present participles 'derive' their tense from the 'main verb'.

He is running Vs He was running

Present Participle 'running' used in both sentences, but deriving the 'tense' (present and Past respectively) from the linking verb 'is/was'.

That aside, in the question under consideration, 'extends', as used in B cannot be used because 'extends' is a 'verb' and a 'verb' cannot be parallel with a 'participle' ('spawned'). Past Participle ('spawned') and Present Participle ('extending') can be perfectly parallel. Few examples are:

Tired but beaming, the athlete displayed the gold medal. (Tired- Past participle; beaming - Present participle)
The old lady's face, wrinkled but glowing, shone in the sun. (wrinkled - Past participle; glowing - Present participle).

The tougher part to see in this sentence is that 'extended', as used in C, would act as a proper verb (and hence would not be parallel with the Past participle 'spawned').

Lastly, the question is interesting, but that is only one clause in this sentence:

Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth

Rest all is an appositive modifier:

a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,300 years ago and extending for more than 33 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.
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mun23 wrote:
Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

(A) extending
(B) extends
(C) extended
(0) it extended
(E) is extending
I picked c .why c is wrong?

In this case, C ("extended") and A ("extending") are each participle modifiers. These are basically short versions of relative clauses. An easy way to see how they work is to add a relative pronoun (that, which, who, etc.) and a verb.

"... filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles that is spawned by ... and that is extending ..."

Now we see that the sentence makes sense. The filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles is spawned by (or created by) something else, but it actively does the act of extending.

If we tried this with C, it would say:

"... filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles that is spawned by ... and that is extended ..."

This doesn't make sense. Now, the second modifier is in passive voice, so something else is extending the filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles, as if someone is stretching them 30 acres.

Easy rule: -ed modifiers create a passive construction (the thing being modified does not do the action - something else is acting on it), while -ing modifiers create an active construction (the thing being modified does the action)

You might think there is an issue with parallelism between -ed and -ing modifiers; however, this is not an issue. Since each of these are participle modifiers, they are the same type of modifier, so they are parallel. It doesn't matter that one is active and one is passive.
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VTay25 wrote:
Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

(A) extending
(B) extends
(C) extended
(D) it extended
(E) is extending
Why is extending and spawned parallel participial phrases?

Scientists have discovered a giant fungus which is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles. There are two characteristics of the fungus 1) It has been spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago. 2) It extends for more than 30 acres in the soil of Michigan.

These two characteristics have been shown in the original sentence in the form of Adjectival clauses spawned by...........ago AND extending for more............forest. The first clause is Verb-ed Modifier and the second one is Verb-ing Modifier

Since the first characteristic of Giant fungus has been described by a Adjectival Clause, The second characteristic also need to be shown in the form of a Adjectival clause, which is done in the original sentence. Hence the sentence is correct as written. Choice A is Correct

B) Extends acts as verb and can not parallel to Modifier spawned.

C) Extended also acts as verb and can not parallel to Modifier spawned. Also simple past tense extended indicates that the process of extending has been stopped, which is wrong. The fungus is still there and extending.

D) It extended is independent clause which can not be parallel to Modifier.

E) Incorrect for the same reason cited in Choice B.

Hope that helps!
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kiranjith wrote:
Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilised spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

(A) extending
(B) extends
(C) extended
(D) it extended
(E) is extending

Would "that extends" be a correct choice?
A giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms..... and that extends for more than...in Michigan forest. Can these be parallel?

The most important clue in this sentence is AND … the word AND mandates Right to Left strict parallelism. To the right of AND is ―extending‖ … to check parallelism, we have to understand the role of the word ―extending‖. It is not a verb as -ING forms alone are never verbs. So it can be a noun or an adjective. In this sentence the word ―extending‖ is describing something … we need to know what it is describing.
If we read further … ―extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest‖ can describe the largest organism (30 acres is really LARGE), which is the same as ―giant (large) fungus‖ or ―interwoven (interconnected, large) filigree‖. ―Mushrooms and root-like tentacles‖ of a single plant can‘t extend for 30 acres … their filigree (wire formed into delicate tracery such as filigree foliage) can. So the word ―extending‖ surely describes ―organism‖.
As the word ―extending‖ describes something, it is an adjective. And the word ―extending‖ is written after the word AND … so we must find another adjective (that describes the organism) to the left of AND. We have the word ―spawned‖ before AND. ―Spawn‖ (meaning: produce or generate, especially in large numbers and undesirably) cannot describe tentacles, as tentacles of a plant cannot extend for 30 acres and can‘t get generated in large numbers. Also, the fact that ―a single spore‖ was responsible for the whole 30-acre growth (happening for the last 10,000 years) makes sure that the word ―spawned‖ describes the organism …
So we have 2 adjectives: ―spawned‖ and ―extending‖, both describing the organism … perfectly parallel … option A must be correct.
Option B: ―extends‖ is a verb … but there is no verb parallel to ―extends‖ before the word AND … Incorrect.
Option C: ―extended‖ is also an adjective. But this signifies intention whereas the given action of extending is completely unintended. So this is the wrong adjective.
Imagine the two sentences:
The road extended from A to B was found to be skewed by the local authorities. Here, the word ―extended‖ means that somebody intentionally extended the road. Past participles show intention.
The smoke coming out of the building corroborated the suspicion that the building had caught fire. Here the word ―coming‖ is unintended. Present participles show no intention.
There's really no point in deciding which of these roles ―extended‖ is playing―the point is that both interpretations produce incorrect answers! In an appropriate context, ―extended‖ could be either a past participle or a past-tense verb. Most importantly, if either of these interpretations works, then the sentence is correct.
Imagine the sentence:
The new state highway, built in 2007 and extended for an additional five miles in 2009, is now the busiest road in the area. --> here, ―extended‖ is a past participle.
The state highway extended for fifty miles before it was razed in 1985. --> here, ―extended‖ is a past-tense verb.
Option D: ―it extended‖ is a verb … but there is no verb parallel to ―extended‖ before the word AND … Incorrect.
Option E: ―is extending‖ is a verb … but there is no verb parallel to ―is extending‖ before the word AND … Incorrect.

moreover do u have any option with that or do u have that before extending in the non underlined portion?no. so why r u looking for a that and that parallelism. understand the function of extending. its a modifier describing a noun. ok i think u r asking where that and that would have been grammatically possible. yes. but i think the meaning wouldn have been clear . he there r two reason why the scientist think that it is the oldest organism 1. coz its spawned and 2. extending bla bla...
Hope this helps
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Re: Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and olde [#permalink]
How do the two sentences differ from each other?

Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

A giant fungus that is-
1) an interwoven filigree of mushrooms.
2) extending for more than 30 acres.

The bones of Majungatholus atopus, a meat-eating dinosaur that is a distant relative of Tyrannosaurus rex and closely resembles South American predatory dinosaurs, have been discovered in Madagascar.

A meat eating dinosaur that -
1) is a distant relative of T-Rex.
2) closely resembles South American predatory Dinosaurs.

Case 1 includes is after 'that'.
Case 2 doesn't.

Help needed to understand.
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mpetwal wrote:
How do the two sentences differ from each other?

Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

A giant fungus that is-
1) an interwoven filigree of mushrooms.
2) extending for more than 30 acres.

The bones of Majungatholus atopus, a meat-eating dinosaur that is a distant relative of Tyrannosaurus rex and closely resembles South American predatory dinosaurs, have been discovered in Madagascar.

A meat eating dinosaur that -
1) is a distant relative of T-Rex.
2) closely resembles South American predatory Dinosaurs.

Case 1 includes is after 'that'.
Case 2 doesn't.

Help needed to understand.

The parallelism for the two cases are as follows:

Case 1:
Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

The parallelism is between two noun modifiers:
1. spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years
2. extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest
Both refers to "tentacles".

Case 2:
The bones of Majungatholus atopus, a meat-eating dinosaur that is a distant relative of Tyrannosaurus rex and closely resembles South American predatory dinosaurs, have been discovered in Madagascar.

The parallelism is between two verbs:
1. is a distant relative of Tyrannosaurus rex
2. closely resembles South American predatory dinosaurs, have been discovered in Madagascar
Both have the same subject "that".
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Re: Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and olde [#permalink]
i have a question here. If the sentence read " Scientist recently discovered......" can we use extended in this sentence. Also how can the past participle spawned be parallel to the present participle extending??
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We may note that either a past participle or a present participle does not indicate any timing. They are just technical names and have no tense of their own but adopt the tense of the main clause. To repeat in a different way, they are not verbs but simply verbals.
That said, 'spawned by' here is a participle because the doer of spawning is not in front but behind the action. However, if you say 'extended' only missing the 'by' preposition, then the doer of extending is in front namely - interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles -. Since the doer is there in front, the word is a verb.
The essence of the topic is that even though structurally two words may look the same, still they may vary in meaning and hence, are not parallel.
However, the participle 'extending' is in accord with the other participle 'spawned' because both are participles. As such, we should not bother about the structural difference between a past participle and present participle.
Probably if the choice had said 'spawned by' and 'extended by' something, then it would have been a different story.
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Re: Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and olde [#permalink]
sir according to egmat every subject in a sentence must have verb so my question is what is the verb of a giant fungus lets look at the question
1st subject scientists whose verb is have
2nd a giant fungus no verb
3rd new clause started by that which refers to giant fungus whose verb is "is" and according to explanation spawned and extending is modifier than where is the verb of a giant fungus? please explain
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