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There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused

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New post Updated on: 30 Jul 2018, 21:34
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There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.


A) Occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against

B) Increase in the occurrence of oak blight caused by growing fungus resistance against

C) increasing oak blight occurrence because of growing resistance of fungi to

D) increase in the occurrence of oak blight due to growing resistance of fungi

E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to


Can someone please explain how to solve thus question using Modifiers .

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Originally posted by aashu4uiit on 13 Jun 2014, 15:50.
Last edited by Bunuel on 30 Jul 2018, 21:34, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2017, 11:42
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This problem a classic example of two principles: (1) how the location of modifiers can change the meaning of answer choices, and (2) how not every difference in the answer choices makes a difference. (I call these "false alarms.")

Let's start with a "false alarm." I have seen several suggestions in this forum that argue that "resistance against herbicides" is idiomatically incorrect, but that "resistance to herbicides" is preferred. This is totally a false alarm. Academic papers use these terms interchangeably. There is no idiomatic problem here. (In fact, the GMAT often uses obscure, less-used idioms in correct answers, baiting people into picking other answer choices that have the "expected" idiom, but that contain other, more grievous errors. This is like a corrupt car mechanic who "fixes" something that isn't necessarily broken but might sound a little funny to our untrained ears, and then "breaks" something else in the car so we have to take the car in later!)

There are very few issues in this problem that conflict with concrete grammatical rules. Instead, most of the changes create changes in meaning. Modifiers in the wrong spot can often cause illogical scenarios that can easily be eliminated. The trick is to leverage the answer choices against each other, looking for “Decision Points” that create differences in meaning.

Answer choice A and E can be eliminated because the phrase “a significant occurrence of oak blight increase” implies that there was one event (or “occurrence”) of oak blight increase, as if it spiked for a single moment. This makes no sense, since an increase takes place over time. An "occurrence of an increase" is a single, isolated event, whereas an "increase in the occurrence" of something implies a change in the rate of something occurring over time. Answer choice C has a very similar issue, since it implies that there has been a single “increasing oak blight occurrence”, once again implying a single event or occurrence.

Answer choice B is wrong because the modifier "caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides" modifies the phrase “oak blight” -- but oak blight is not caused by fungus resistance. (Think about it: if oak blight were caused by fungus resistance to herbicides, then we could just stop using herbicides and there would be nothing for the fungus to resist, thereby eliminating oak blight!) The location of this modifier causes problems with the meaning. Instead, occurrences of oak blight are happening more often because of the growing resistance of fungi to herbicides. We want to find the answer that shows how the rate of fungus resistance is related to the rate of oak blight outbreaks.

Answer choice D is the only remaining answer. The phrase “because of” begins an adverbial phrase, describing how or why something occurs. (This is contrast to the modifier “caused by” which is an adjectival phrase modifying a noun.) Since “because of” begins an adverbial phrase, it cannot modify the noun “oak blight”, but instead modifies the clause beginning with, “There has been a…” This makes perfect sense. It describes how the increase in oak blight was caused by the growing resistance of fungi to herbicides.

The answer is (D).
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2014, 00:24
D it is : increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to

you need to say "significant increase" ---------->eliminate A C and E
u need "resistance to" ------------->eliminate B
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New post 14 Jun 2014, 08:16
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Thanks I got this logic but what I want to understand is

What is the modifier here ? which one ? Opening Modifier or middle modifier ?

What it is modifying and how ?

Is it Significant modifying increase , significant being adjective which can not be true as significant is coming after determiner 'a' so it is noun :(
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2014, 12:06
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Let me try :

Q : There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.

In original sentence
Noun : occurrence of oak blight
significant is modifier to above noun.

All stuff mentioned above is modifying increase , and caused by... is acting as -ed modifier and modifying noun increase.

Above sentence doesn't make any sense.

A) Occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against -- resistance against is not correct idiom.. resistance itself implies against something.
B) Increase in the occurrence of oak blight caused by growing fungus resistance against -- caused by is modifying blight and part in italics is now acting as noun against herbicide. -- way awkward construction.
C) increasing oak blight occurrence because of growing resistance of fungi to -- part in italics is awkward.
D) increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to -- because is used correctly to provide reason.
E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to -- same error as in A.
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2014, 13:59
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Better , but still have doubts

All stuff mentioned above is modifying increase ,

significant occurrence of oak blight -- > is modifying--> increase ?

How ? I mean in terms of grammar , what part of speech modifying what ? can you please explain on this part ?

IN E ? "resistance to" is wrong because resistance itself implies against something ?

I am still not sure why E is wrong. how i look at E is

significant occurrence vs significant increase so as per sentence significant increase is correct.
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2014, 14:37
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Better , but still have doubts

All stuff mentioned above is modifying increase ,

significant occurrence of oak blight -- > is modifying--> increase ? yes technically it is modifying increase e.g diamond mine diamond is a noun but here it is acting as adjective modifying mine (noun) , but in answer choice A, significant occurrence (of oak blight) increase or significant occurrence of (oak blight increase) does not make sense.

How ? I mean in terms of grammar , what part of speech modifying what ? can you please explain on this part ?
There has been a { significant(adj) occurrence (noun_adj=diamond)) of oak blight (noun) increase (noun) }<-(noun) caused (past particle modifier) by (growing fungus resistance )- noun - against herbicides.
Above sentence is incorrect thus there is no point in understanding its part of speech.


IN E ? "resistance to" is wrong because resistance itself implies against something ? Resistance to is right... I said resistance against something looks unidiomatic.

Further I would suggest you to google correct usage of this idiom. I am not able to find out any source suggesting "resistance against" correct.

I am still not sure why E is wrong. how i look at E is

significant occurrence vs significant increase so as per sentence significant increase is correct.

Q : There has been a significant (E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to herbicide.

a significant (E) occurrence of oak blight increase --- what is increase -- can you infer some meaning out of this part of sentence.

a significant (E) occurrence of oak blight (meaningful) + increase (noun)

further what difference you see in these two parts
growing resistance of fungi to
growing fungus resistance to -- fungus resistance implies some quality of being fungus resistant is growing to herbicide.. meaning is not as clear as in above part.

Really its difficult to explain what we naturally feel weird or awkward, in option E and most of the wrong choices I don't see seamless flow and relation between part of speech.

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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2016, 06:38
sc tests meaning. this means if we do not know new words, we die. I can not solve this problem because of new words.
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2017, 17:58
I thought if you had "of..." the part right after the "of" can't be an -ing word?

or is it OK since "growing" is modifying "resistance" and therefore is an adj and not a verb?
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2017, 02:00
Q : There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.

A) Occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against
B) Increase in the occurrence of oak blight caused by growing fungus resistance against
C) increasing oak blight occurrence because of growing resistance of fungi to
D) increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to
E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to

How can the OA be D?
There has been a significant increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to against herbicides.
The bold part doesn't make sense
Please help.
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2017, 04:06
SamriddhiPan wrote:
Q : There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.

A) Occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against
B) Increase in the occurrence of oak blight caused by growing fungus resistance against
C) increasing oak blight occurrence because of growing resistance of fungi to
D) increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to
E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to

How can the OA be D?
There has been a significant increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to against herbicides.
The bold part doesn't make sense
Please help.

against was also underlined.. missed in original problem.

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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 08:37
SamriddhiPan wrote:
Q : There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.

A) Occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against
B) Increase in the occurrence of oak blight caused by growing fungus resistance against
C) increasing oak blight occurrence because of growing resistance of fungi to
D) increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to
E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to

How can the OA be D?
There has been a significant increase in the occurrence of oak blight because of growing resistance of fungi to against herbicides.
The bold part doesn't make sense
Please help.


Seems to be a typo..corrected.

However you (and the author of the question) missed a significant error in the use of "because of". The correct usage here is "due to", not "because of" - corrected the mistake as well. ("increase" is a noun - hence "due to", not "because of")

(For explanation on correct usage of "due to" and "because of", please refer to this post:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/due-to-the-c ... l#p1970224
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2018, 09:42
AaronPond wrote:
This problem a classic example of two principles: (1) how the location of modifiers can change the meaning of answer choices, and (2) how not every difference in the answer choices makes a difference. (I call these "false alarms.")

Let's start with a "false alarm." I have seen several suggestions in this forum that argue that "resistance against herbicides" is idiomatically incorrect, but that "resistance to herbicides" is preferred. This is totally a false alarm. Academic papers use these terms interchangeably. There is no idiomatic problem here. (In fact, the GMAT often uses obscure, less-used idioms in correct answers, baiting people into picking other answer choices that have the "expected" idiom, but that contain other, more grievous errors. This is like a corrupt car mechanic who "fixes" something that isn't necessarily broken but might sound a little funny to our untrained ears, and then "breaks" something else in the car so we have to take the car in later!)

There are very few issues in this problem that conflict with concrete grammatical rules. Instead, most of the changes create changes in meaning. Modifiers in the wrong spot can often cause illogical scenarios that can easily be eliminated. The trick is to leverage the answer choices against each other, looking for “Decision Points” that create differences in meaning.

Answer choice A and E can be eliminated because the phrase “a significant occurrence of oak blight increase” implies that there was one event (or “occurrence”) of oak blight increase, as if it spiked for a single moment. This makes no sense, since an increase takes place over time. An "occurrence of an increase" is a single, isolated event, whereas an "increase in the occurrence" of something implies a change in the rate of something occurring over time. Answer choice C has a very similar issue, since it implies that there has been a single “increasing oak blight occurrence”, once again implying a single event or occurrence.

Answer choice B is wrong because the modifier "caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides" modifies the phrase “oak blight” -- but oak blight is not caused by fungus resistance. (Think about it: if oak blight were caused by fungus resistance to herbicides, then we could just stop using herbicides and there would be nothing for the fungus to resist, thereby eliminating oak blight!) The location of this modifier causes problems with the meaning. Instead, occurrences of oak blight are happening more often because of the growing resistance of fungi to herbicides. We want to find the answer that shows how the rate of fungus resistance is related to the rate of oak blight outbreaks.

Answer choice D is the only remaining answer. The phrase “because of” begins an adverbial phrase, describing how or why something occurs. (This is contrast to the modifier “caused by” which is an adjectival phrase modifying a noun.) Since “because of” begins an adverbial phrase, it cannot modify the noun “oak blight”, but instead modifies the clause beginning with, “There has been a…” This makes perfect sense. It describes how the increase in oak blight was caused by the growing resistance of fungi to herbicides.

The answer is (D).


AaronPond , MartyMurray , KarishmaB

I am confused. Does "caused by growing fungus" in option B modifies "oak blight" or does it modify "occurrence of oak blight". I believe the latter is true. If it is so, then I think B is correct as well. Any comments?
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2018, 10:26
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Prateek176 wrote:
I am confused. Does "caused by growing fungus" in option B modifies "oak blight" or does it modify "occurrence of oak blight". I believe the latter is true. If it is so, then I think B is correct as well. Any comments?


Your interpretation of B is tempting.

However, you have left some words out of the modifier.

The modifier is not just "caused by growing fungus". It is "caused by growing fungus resistance against pesticides".

Thus, there are multiple reasons why B is incorrect.

"resistance against" is redundant. Resistance is already against. So "resistance against" is incorrect. We need "resistance to".

Further, what the modifier modifies is not clear. The modifier could modify "oak blight" or "the occurrence of oak blight."

Either way we would a a nonsensical meaning, as it does not make sense that either oak blight or the occurrence of oak blight would be caused by fungus resistance to pesticides.

What does make sense is that the "increase" would be caused by the resistance. So, let's put "caused by" next to "increase".

There has been a significant increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.

That sentence is a little awkward. We have a verb, "has been" and then, perhaps, another one, "caused". Alternatively, "caused" is a modifier. Either way the sentence created using B is awkward, and with "in the occurrence of oak blight" added to the picture, the sentence is still awkward, while the meaning is less clear.

Let's do the same thing with choice D, eliminate some words to check the structure.

There has been a significant increase because of growing resistance of fungi to herbicides.

OK, that version makes sense.
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 04:24
aashu4uiit wrote:
There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against herbicides.


A) Occurrence of oak blight increase caused by growing fungus resistance against

B) Increase in the occurrence of oak blight caused by growing fungus resistance against

C) increasing oak blight occurrence because of growing resistance of fungi to

D) increase in the occurrence of oak blight due to growing resistance of fungi

E) occurrence of oak blight increase because of growing fungus resistance to


Can someone please explain how to solve thus question using Modifiers .


It seems that after edit underlying part has changed but answers did not. Please correct asnwers too because with current structure A,B,C and E do not make sense. Redundancy. Thanks)
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Re: There has been a significant occurrence of oak blight increase caused &nbs [#permalink] 31 Jul 2018, 04:24
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