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# Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes

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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
dear experts,
I am confused by "comma -ed" modifier. appreciate if you can point out my fault and guide that how should we distinguish the modified preceding closest noun/far more preceding noun

so far, what I know is that "comma -ed" modifies the preceding noun or noun phrase.
I will consider prior the closest preceding noun, or I will seek far more preceding noun if no sensible.

1/ preceding closest noun,
in this case, comma shaped modifies wings sensibly, in other words, wings are shaped smoothly and perfectly ... so I won't seek more antecedent.

2/ far more preceding noun
for example,
I read the book on the desk , wrote by Mr. M ..
in this case, comma wrote modifies desk nonsensibly, so I will seek far more antecedent "book"..

that's how I approach "comma -ed"
while I read the whole thread, which says "comma shaped" modifies airplanes.

I think I missed something about "comma - ed".

have a nice day
>_~
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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zoezhuyan wrote:
dear experts,
I am confused by "comma -ed" modifier. appreciate if you can point out my fault and guide that how should we distinguish the modified preceding closest noun/far more preceding noun

so far, what I know is that "comma -ed" modifies the preceding noun or noun phrase.
I will consider prior the closest preceding noun, or I will seek far more preceding noun if no sensible.

1/ preceding closest noun,
in this case, comma shaped modifies wings sensibly, in other words, wings are shaped smoothly and perfectly ... so I won't seek more antecedent.

2/ far more preceding noun
for example,
I read the book on the desk , wrote by Mr. M ..
in this case, comma wrote modifies desk nonsensibly, so I will seek far more antecedent "book"..

that's how I approach "comma -ed"
while I read the whole thread, which says "comma shaped" modifies airplanes.

I think I missed something about "comma - ed".

have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,

I'm happy to respond.

My friend, I believe we have already discussed some of this on other posts. The "-ed" modifier is called a past participle, and this is a passive participle. Many many common verbs in English have irregular past participles. For regular verbs, the -ed form is both the past tense and the past participle. For irregular verbs, sometimes the past tense & past participle are the same and sometimes they are not. See that blog article for examples of both.

I will point out a grammar mistake in your example sentence:
I read the book on the desk, wrote by Mr. M ..
This should be
I read the book on the desk, written by Mr. M ..
This is an irregular verb for which the past participle different from the past tense.

I would say that this particular SC question is not of the highest quality. It's not necessarily going to be helpful to learn the subtleties of grammar to use questions that aren't high quality. The official questions are always the best. MGMAT and Magoosh have very good questions, and I have been impressed with many Veritas questions. Don't be naive: don't simply assume, just because some company says "we have good GMAT practice questions," that the questions actually are written at a high level. It's relatively easy to write high quality GMAT math practice questions, but it is exceptionally hard to write high quality GMAT verbal practice questions. Caveat emptor. Be a highly discriminating consumer of GMAT practice verbal questions!

I will also say, as I have said elsewhere: you are looking for fixed rules about things that are determined by logic and meaning. There is no shortcut for engaging with the meaning of a sentence. Depending on context, the participle after the comma may modify the noun it touches or not.

Part of what is a little strange about this is that 90% of the time that a past participle phrase is used as a noun modifier, it is not separated by a comma from its target noun. Again, the sentence in this SC is very poorly written: it is as if the author deliberately bent the sentence out of shape so that he could test the particular grammar point he had in mind.

Example #1: I am reading a book, written by someone in an insane asylum, ironically that won multiple awards.
Example #2: I have a book about penguins, written by a man who lived in Antartica with them for six years!
Example #3: This book is one of my favorites of all time, written by one of my favorite authors.
Depending on meaning, the pattern of modification can vary enormously.

Does all this make sense?

Have a wonderful day, my friend.
Mike
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
I just wanted to clarify one thing. Doesn't option B require a semi colon instead of a comma since the 2 sentences are independent clauses?
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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darn wrote:
I just wanted to clarify one thing. Doesn't option B require a semi colon instead of a comma since the 2 sentences are independent clauses?

Dear darn,

I'm happy to respond.

The short answer is: no. The sentence would be incorrect with a semicolon, because in fact there are NOT two independent clauses. What comes before the comma is the only independent clause in the sentence, and what comes after is not an independent clause.

Here's (B).
Since the 1930’s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

Before the comma, there's a full independent clause, with a subject ("aircraft manufacturers') and a full verb ("have tried").

What comes after the comma is an appositive phrase. It consists of
1) a noun = wings
2) two adjectives in parallel = so smooth and so perfectly shaped
3) an adverbial clause = that the air passing over them would not become turbulent

The adjectives modify the noun, and the adverbial clause modifies the adjectives. The noun "wings" has no corresponding verb, so this is not a clause.

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
Hi Expert,

Could you please explain what does VERB-ed modifier shaped modify in Choice A?
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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jayarora wrote:
Hi Expert,

Could you please explain what does VERB-ed modifier shaped modify in Choice A?

Good question! Maybe it modifies wings? Or maybe airplanes?

Choice (B) is a better option because it eliminates that ambiguity.
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
I don't understand how B) is the correct choice.

Quote:
Original: with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them
B: wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped

Original says that wings are shaped smoothly and shaped perfectly
B says that wings are smooth and perfectly shaped

in my view, B changes the meaning of the original sentence
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
What is the issue in option D? I think "shaped" is perfectly modifying wings. Please elucidate.
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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Parikshit07 wrote:
What is the issue in option D? I think "shaped" is perfectly modifying wings. Please elucidate.

Hello, Parikshit07. If you take for granted that shaped modifies wings instead of airplanes in choice (D), the meaning is still askew. The sentence:

Since the 1930's aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

Notice the conjunction and, without a comma, in smooth and perfect. These are two qualities listed in parallel, not unlike those in the saying high and dry. The problem is, how can anything, wing or airplane, be shaped in a smooth manner? A shape is one quality, a physical quality of appearance, while smooth is another type of quality, one pertaining to touch. The two go together about as well as oil and water, and the lack of clarity in meaning is enough to see off the answer choice.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

- Andrew
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
MentorTutoring wrote:
Parikshit07 wrote:
What is the issue in option D? I think "shaped" is perfectly modifying wings. Please elucidate.

Hello, Parikshit07. If you take for granted that shaped modifies wings instead of airplanes in choice (D), the meaning is still askew. The sentence:

Since the 1930's aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

Notice the conjunction and, without a comma, in smooth and perfect. These are two qualities listed in parallel, not unlike those in the saying high and dry. The problem is, how can anything, wing or airplane, be shaped in a smooth manner? A shape is one quality, a physical quality of appearance, while smooth is another type of quality, one pertaining to touch. The two go together about as well as oil and water, and the lack of clarity in meaning is enough to see off the answer choice.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

- Andrew

Could you please tell me whats the problem in E?

Thanks
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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Kunni wrote:
MentorTutoring wrote:
Parikshit07 wrote:
What is the issue in option D? I think "shaped" is perfectly modifying wings. Please elucidate.

Hello, Parikshit07. If you take for granted that shaped modifies wings instead of airplanes in choice (D), the meaning is still askew. The sentence:

Since the 1930's aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

Notice the conjunction and, without a comma, in smooth and perfect. These are two qualities listed in parallel, not unlike those in the saying high and dry. The problem is, how can anything, wing or airplane, be shaped in a smooth manner? A shape is one quality, a physical quality of appearance, while smooth is another type of quality, one pertaining to touch. The two go together about as well as oil and water, and the lack of clarity in meaning is enough to see off the answer choice.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

- Andrew

Could you please tell me whats the problem in E?

Thanks

Hello, Kunni. Choice (E) suffers from the same problem as the one just mentioned above: shaped smoothly does not make any sense. (I would not invoke the perfect tense either to express what (B) does already in clearer terms.)

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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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Artur Wierzbicki wrote:
I don't understand how B) is the correct choice.

Quote:
Original: with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them
B: wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped

Original says that wings are shaped smoothly and shaped perfectly
B says that wings are smooth and perfectly shaped

in my view, B changes the meaning of the original sentence

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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
Artur Wierzbicki wrote:
I don't understand how B) is the correct choice.

Quote:
Original: with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them
B: wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped

Original says that wings are shaped smoothly and shaped perfectly
B says that wings are smooth and perfectly shaped

in my view, B changes the meaning of the original sentence

Quote:
Since the 1930’s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

(A) wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly
(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped
(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect
(D) wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner
(E) wings, wings having been shaped smoothly and perfectly so

So, in B 'wings so smooth' is one thing and 'so perfectly shaped' another.?? I see it wrong though. 'Wings so smooth' is aright since smooth is adjective modifying noun.
Would 'so smoothly shaped and so perfectly shaped' OR 'so smoothly and so perfectly shaped' be wrong. ?? where smoothly modifies shaped.
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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lnm87 wrote:

Quote:
Since the 1930’s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

(A) wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly
(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped
(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect
(D) wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner
(E) wings, wings having been shaped smoothly and perfectly so

So, in B 'wings so smooth' is one thing and 'so perfectly shaped' another.?? I see it wrong though. 'Wings so smooth' is aright since smooth is adjective modifying noun.
Would 'so smoothly shaped and so perfectly shaped' OR 'so smoothly and so perfectly shaped' be wrong. ?? where smoothly modifies shaped.

Hello, lnm87. I have addressed your concern above, here. In short, smoothly shaped cannot go together. The adjective smooth is a tactile description, as is its adverbial form; the adjective shaped is a visual description. You can look at something and judge that it may be smooth, but you cannot describe an object as being smoothly shaped. No answer choice but (B) separates the two types of descriptions, a feature that makes (B) the correct answer by default.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
I had gone through that post. Make sense. Marked B wrong for trying to identify whether smooth or smoothly is correct.
For me this is a subtle thing which i was unaware of.
MentorTutoring wrote:
lnm87 wrote:

Quote:
Since the 1930’s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

(A) wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly
(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped
(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect
(D) wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner
(E) wings, wings having been shaped smoothly and perfectly so

So, in B 'wings so smooth' is one thing and 'so perfectly shaped' another.?? I see it wrong though. 'Wings so smooth' is aright since smooth is adjective modifying noun.
Would 'so smoothly shaped and so perfectly shaped' OR 'so smoothly and so perfectly shaped' be wrong. ?? where smoothly modifies shaped.

Hello, lnm87. I have addressed your concern above, here. In short, smoothly shaped cannot go together. The adjective smooth is a tactile description, as is its adverbial form; the adjective shaped is a visual description. You can look at something and judge that it may be smooth, but you cannot describe an object as being smoothly shaped. No answer choice but (B) separates the two types of descriptions, a feature that makes (B) the correct answer by default.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

- Andrew
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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
lnm87 wrote:
I had gone through that post. Make sense. Marked B wrong for trying to identify whether smooth or smoothly is correct.
For me this is a subtle thing which i was unaware of.

You are not alone in saying that this smooth/smoothly issue is subtle--this is a hard question for a reason, and it forces you to think more about meaning than about parts of speech. I am glad that the question makes sense to you now.

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Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
Quote:
Since the 1930's aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.

(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped

(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect

Dear AnthonyRitz AjiteshArun DmitryFarber GMATRockstar GMATGuruNY IanStewart GMATNinja VeritasPrepHailey MartyTargetTestPrep,

Why is choice C. wrong?

I think the construction in choice C. is very similar to the OA below:

In the traditional Japanese household, most clothing could BE PACKED FLAT, and so elaborate closet facilities were unnecessary.

Since "BE PACKED FLAT" is right, why is "ARE SHAPED SO SMOOTH and PERFECT" wrong?

Originally posted by kornn on 01 Jul 2020, 01:40.
Last edited by kornn on 03 Jul 2020, 06:27, edited 2 times in total.
Re: Since the 1930s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes [#permalink]
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