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# The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the

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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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30 Jan 2018, 04:49
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sdlife wrote:
Hi Experts,

I have a question on verb tense in choice C. In some of the posts here, it says that "writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great " -- use of this participle phrase make it seem like the nephew is still writing. Could you tell me how we check tenses in the present participle phrases? My understanding is that if present participle comes with a helping verb then it means it's a present continuous tense, but if it doesn't (example in this question), how do we determine when its usage is correct and when it's not? Thank you!

GMATNinja, sayantanc2k

Thanks much!

The present participle generally takes up the tense of the main verb of the sentence:

Looking at the site, I could say that something was wrong... (looking occured in past)
Looking at the sun, I can determine direction... (looking occurs in present)
Looking at your peer review, I shall decide whether to promote you. (looking will happen in future).

There is a special type of participle called perfect participle - having + perfect. This form is used to depict that something occured in past AFTER completion of the event in perfect participle.

Having eaten the snacks, we left for the station... (leaving for station ocuured AFTER eating occured- compare with the use of past perfect)
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The nephew of Pliny the | Usage of Being | only for Mike Mc Garry  [#permalink]

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17 May 2019, 00:31
mikemcgarry Is the usage of "only" correct here? Shouldnt it be "Only the eyewitness accounts" and not "the only eyewitness accounts"?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the | Usage of Being | only for Mike Mc Garry  [#permalink]

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26 May 2019, 12:26
darshak1 wrote:
mikemcgarry Is the usage of "only" correct here? Shouldnt it be "Only the eyewitness accounts" and not "the only eyewitness accounts"?

Hi darshak1,

I can respond for Mike here

Nope, "the only eyewitness account" is correct here The "only" should touch the word it is referring to. Here, we are saying that these eyewitness account is the ONLY one that exists. So "only" refers to "eyewitness account".

Pliny's nephew wrote only the eyewitness accounts...

then we would be saying that the only things that Pliny's nephew wrote was the eyewitness account (so "only" refers here to "wrote"). That would mean that Pliny's nephew didn't write anything except for the eyewitness account, which is not what the sentence should be saying.

I hope that helps!
-Carolyn
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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30 Jun 2019, 20:50
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.- the meaning is wrong

(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius. - the wrong use of being
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elderwritingto the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius. - wrong structure

(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus. - changed the meaning

(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius. - correct
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2019, 04:37
EducationAisle

Does moving a preposition to the beginning of the sentence closed off by commas make it adverbial preposition? Can adjective preposition be at the opening modifier closed off by commas?

For example - The book on the table is hidden. "on the table" is modifying book so it is adjective preposition

On the table, the book is hidden. "on the table" becomes adverbial preposition describing where the book is hidden. Am I correct in my thinking?

So, an adjective preposition cannot be moved at the beginning of the sentence closed off by commas but adverbial can? Are there any instances where preposition is closed off by commas at the beginning of the sentence but it is adverb?

Thank you

Is this why choice E is correct because it shows that the preposition is adverb rather than adjective?

Thank you
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2019, 08:22
1
Your understanding seems to be broadly correct. Prepositional phrases at the beginning of a clause are adverbial modifiers.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2019, 08:39
EducationAisle

Can you elaborate on what broadly correct means? Is there something in my explanation that is wrong? Because I will take my GMAT soon and want to be sure about the rules of adverb vs adjective prepositions.

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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2019, 08:46
Hi! your understanding about prepositional phrases at the beginning of the clause, acting as adverbial modifiers, is correct.

Just that "an adjective prepositional phrase" can be moved to the beginning of the clause; just that in that case, it becomes adverbial. I believe this is your understanding as well.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2019, 09:01
EducationAisle

Yes that is my understanding. However I don't believe that all adjective prepositions should be moved to the beginning because it distorts the meaning. Sometimes if you move the adjective preposition to the beginning of the sentence, it still won't make sense to modify the verb
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2019, 08:38
sacmanitin wrote:
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

E only explains:
after comma , the nephew of pliny can be written
eye witness is singular --> Account is also singular
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2019, 01:07
This is one question in which i am not able to understand what it is testing??

I can only eliminate D coz the opening modifier should modify a noun
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2019, 12:01
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Surabh

Perhaps you may be aware of a particular type of error known as the wrong word order error in SC that deals with the wrong placement of modifiers. This error may lead to gross distortion of the intention by the author.
Because these are purely meaning-based errors, they tend to mostly occur in 700 plus level questions.

The culprit modifier in this question is the phrase, -- "in two letters'. Here the placement of the prepositional modifier 'in two letters' immediately after the eruption of Vesuvius may lead to an erroneous situation that the eruption itself occurred in two letters.
It would have been better to consign the prepositional jargon 'in two letters, to a more acceptable place such as the beginning of the sentence.

However, with regard to D, my understanding is that noun phrase--Pliny the Elder’s nephew -- is actually a noun. Can you please say, why you think it is not a noun?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness  [#permalink]

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01 Nov 2019, 08:13
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness   [#permalink] 01 Nov 2019, 08:13

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# The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the

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