Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1

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VERB-ING MODIFIERS

But before that, we have a small warm up exercise. Attempt this short quiz and see how well you understand this concept currently.

1. Students have been throwing away healthy meals made available in school cafeteria by The Los Angeles Unified School District and bringing their own junk food to school, and these forced the district to bring back some of the foods it worked so hard to replace.

A. school, and these forced
B. schools, which forced
C. schools, forcing

2. In three months, biologist Glauco Machado gathered enough information about large numbers of a relatively unstudied order of arachnids to persuade an ant specialist at the university to advise him and to publish his first scientific paper.

A. arachnids to persuade an ant specialist at the university to advise him and to publish
B. arachnids, persuading an ant specialist at the university to advise him and publishing
C. arachnids persuading an ant specialist at the university to advise him and publishing

1. C.
2. A.
(Detailed solutions in sections RULE SET #1 and RULE SET #2 respectively. Rule Set #2 will be covered in a separate article soon to follow.)

UNDERSTANDING VERB-ING MODIFIERS

As the name suggests, verb-ing modifiers are the words that are constituted from “verbs” by adding “ing” to them. Essentially, these modifiers modify a particular entity in the sentence. The modification depends upon the placement of the modifier in the sentence, i.e. where and how they appear in the sentence. Since these modifiers are made from verbs, they denote action.

For example:
Mary cooked delicious food, using fresh condiments.

In this sentence, the verb-ing modifier “using fresh condiments” denotes an action. It communicates the meaning - Mary used fresh condiments.

PLACEMENT OF VERB-ING MODIFIERS

The function played by a verb-ing modifier depends upon where and how it appears in the sentence. The verb-ing modifiers can take three places in a sentence:
1. Placed after a clause PRECEDED by a comma,
2. Placed after a clause NOT PRECEDED by a comma,
3. In the beginning of a clause followed by a comma.
Needless to say that the function of the verb-ing modifier changes with the change in its placement in regards to the three structures mentioned above. Let’s discuss the first structure that brings us to our first rule set for this modifier.

The verb-ing modifier can be placed after a clause and separated from the preceding clause by a comma.

Mary made a beautiful bouquet, arranging rare exotic flowers in certain symmetry.

This sentence means that Mary made a beautiful bouquet. And how did she do it? This question is answered by the verb-ing modifier “arranging rare exotic flowers in certain symmetry”. i.e. Mary made a beautiful bouquet BY ARRANGING rare exotic flowers in certain symmetry.

In this sentence, verb-ing modifier is preceded by a comma. This means that this modifier modifies the preceding clause. In this sentence, the verb-ing modifier is presenting additional information about the preceding clause.

GMAT like SENTENCE: Presenting Additional Information

• For decades now, Illinois Natural History Survey biologists in aluminum skiffs have scooted up and down the thinly wooded banks of the Illinois river and monitored local fish, catching, recording, and releasing approximately 150,000 of them a year.

This sentence means that for a very long time now, the INHS biologists have gone to the banks of the Illinois river in aluminum skiffs and have monitored local fish. And how they have monitored local fish? They have done so by catching, recording, and releasing some 150,000 fish a year.

In this sentence, all the three verb-ing modifiers (parallel entities) appear in the sentence after the clause preceded by comma. Hence, they modify the preceding action (have) monitored. Per the context of this sentence, we know that the three verb-ing modifiers are presenting additional information about the preceding action. The three modifiers explain how the biologist did the job of monitoring local fish. They monitored local fish by catching them, putting them in records, and releasing them back in the river.

SIMPLE EXAMPLES: Presenting result

This sentence tells us that Mary made a beautiful bouquet. It further explains that this action resulted in Mary winning a lot of accolades from every one.
In this sentence, the verb-ing modifier appears after the clause preceded by a comma. This means the modifier will modify the entire preceding clause. In this sentence "winning accolades from every one" is presenting the result of the preceding clause.

GMAT like SENTENCE: Presenting Result

Let us bring our “warm-up exercise” question #1 here. Let us solve that GMAT like question to see why the correct answer is correct and how this rule set is applicable in that question.

Q#1 - WHY THE CORRECT ANSWER IS CORRECT

• Students have been throwing away healthy meals made available in school cafeteria by The Los Angeles Unified School District and bringing their own junk food to school and these forced the district to bring back some of the foods it worked so hard to replace.

We will apply the e-gmat three-step process to solve this problem.

STEP 1: MEANING ANALYSIS

This sentence says that Los Angeles Unified School District added healthy meals to the school cafeteria. But students have been throwing away these healthy meals and have been bringing their own junk food. As a result of these actions, the district was forced to bring back some of the foods it worked so hard to replace.

STEP 2: ERROR ANALYSIS

Let’s now split the sentence into clauses to spot the errors:
Students have been throwing away healthy meals made available in school cafeteria by The Los Angeles Unified School District and bringing their own junk food to school
• and these forced the district to bring back some of the foods
o it worked so hard to replace.

In the second clause, pronoun “these” have been used to refer the actions of “throwing healthy meals” and “bringing junk food”. This usage is not correct because “these” is a pronoun. It can only refer to a noun or another pronoun. It cannot be used to refer to an action or a clause.

STEP 3: POE

A. school and these forced: Incorrect for the reason discussed during error analysis.

B. schools, which forced: Incorrect. Notice that “which” is a noun modifier that refers to the preceding noun or noun phrase. In this choice, “which” is referring to “schools”. This is illogical. Also notice that “which” is a relative pronoun that abides by the same rules for pronoun. Hence, “which” cannot be used to present the result of the preceding clause.

C. Schools, forcing: Correct. The verb-ing modifier “forcing” appears in this sentence preceded by a comma. This means that “forcing” is modifying the preceding clause. Per the context of the sentence, comma + forcing, in this choice, is correctly presenting the result of the preceding clause.

Applying RULE SET #1 on OG 12 #47

Five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland this summer, bringing to 34 the number of wild birds successfully raised since transplants from Norway began in 1975.

(A) bringing
(B) and brings
(C) and it brings
(D) and it brought
(E) and brought

We will solve this question, using e-gmat three-step process.

STEP 1: MEANING ANALYSIS
The sentence says that this summer, five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland. This action brought to 34 the total number of wild birds that have been successfully raised since transplants from Norway started in 1975.

STEP 2: ERROR ANALYSIS

Let us split the sentence into clauses to spot the errors.
Five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland this summer, bringing to 34 the number of wild birds successfully raised
o since transplants from Norway began in 1975.

The only word underlined in this sentence is the verb-ing modifier “bringing”. This modifier appears after the main clause preceded by a comma. This means it modifies the preceding clause. The use of this modifier is correct here because per the context, it presents the result of the preceding clause - one of the functions of the verb-ing when preceded by a comma. Hence, there is no error in this sentence. This sentence is correct as is.

STEP 3: POE

Through this step we will find out why the other answer choices are incorrect.

(A) bringing: Correct as explained during error analysis.

(B) and brings: Incorrect. “brings” is not the correct verb tense to refer to an action that took place in the past. Furthermore, use of ‘comma + and’ to connect two entities in a list – here two verbs of the same subject - is not correct.

(C) and it brings: Incorrect.
i. Singular pronoun “it” neither can refer to plural “eagles” nor can refer to the preceding clause. A pronoun can only refer to a noun or another pronoun.
ii. Repeats the same verb tense error as in Choice B.

(D) and it brought: Incorrect. Repeats the same pronoun error as in Choice D.

(E) and brought: Incorrect. Use of ‘comma + and’ to connect two entities in a list – here two verbs of the same subject - is not correct.

A POINT TO REMEMBER

As mentioned earlier, verb-ing modifiers are made from “verbs” and they denote action. Now, any action needs a doer. In the same way, the verb-ing modifiers also associate with the subjects of the preceding clause. What we must keep in mind is that the action denoted by verb-ing must make sense with the subject of the clause. The use of verb-ing is correct only if it makes sense with the subject of the clause it is modifying.

For example:
Sachin Tendulkar played an exceptionally outstanding innings, making the team win gloriously.

The sentence means that Sachin played a superbly good innings. And the result of this action led to the victory of the team in a glorious manner. So, the verb-ing modifier “making” preceded by a comma is presenting the result of the preceding clause.

Now, “making” is an action that needs a subject. Per the rule, it will associate with the subject of the preceding clause. Now, the subject of the preceding clause “Sachin” did the action of playing a superb innings. So the subject is the doer. Hence, “making” will associate with the same subject and will suggest that that Sachin “made” the team win. This association perfectly makes sense. Because Sachin did make the team win by playing a superb innings. Hence, the usage of the verb-ing modifier is absolutely correct here.

Now let’s take this example:
Joe became the CFO of the company, increasing his pay significantly.

Here the verb-ing modifier “increasing” appears after the clause and is preceded by a comma. This means that this modifier will modify the preceding clause either by presenting additional information about the preceding clause or by presenting the result of the preceding clause.

Now, per the intended meaning of the sentence, Joe became the CFO of the company. This event led to increase in his salary. Now, the subject of the sentence is “Joe”. However, he is not the doer of the verb “became”. He did not make himself the CFO of the company. Now look at the verb-ing modifier “increasing”. Since verb-ing modifier denotes an action and hence associates with a verb, “increasing” associates with “Joe”. The sentence thus means that Joe became the CFO of the company and as a result he increased his salary. We know that this is not even a possibility. What resulted in Joe’s increased salary is the event of his becoming the CFO.
Hence, even if this sentence appears to be written in appropriate construction, it is incorrect since here the verb-ing modifier does not make sense with the subject of the preceding clause. This sentence can be written correctly as follows:

Joe became the CFO of the company, a move that increased his pay significantly.

OG QUESTIONS YOU CAN PRACTICE USING THESE RULE SETS

Apply these rule sets to the following OG questions. For more practice, register for free at e-gmat.com and quizzes available in the trial concepts.
OG 12# 30, 65, 94
OG Verbal Review 2# 14, 78,
OG 13# 97

Watch out for our next article in the “Verb-ing Modifiers Series” to learn about the other rule-sets.

Thanks.
Attachments

Verb-ing Modifier Article 1 - GC.pdf [557.43 KiB]

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Last edited by egmat on 03 May 2016, 05:49, edited 6 times in total.
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03 Jul 2012, 18:13
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great article.

I wish you to explain more.

regarding verb-ing used after a clause and comma, I have a question. In this case I see that the meaning relation between verb-ing and the previous clause is varied. The meaning relation is not about HOW the action in the previous clause is performed or WHAT RESUTL the action in the previous clause creates. I wish e-gmat experts show more kinds of meaning relation. This thing helps understand the intended meaning and so critical to success on SC.
I see that on many og and gmatprep questions, the meaning relation is not about HOW and RESULT .

Thank you.
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03 Jul 2012, 18:38
That is pretty useful!
Am attaching CR bible, it is the best one for CR
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05 Jul 2012, 07:30
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Dear Mr. Thang,

Thank you for the praise. We have a free concept on importance of meaning. Just register for a free account by clicking here. You also have a free concept on Verb-ing modifiers in the free trial that other aspects of verbing modifiers as well.
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05 Jul 2012, 11:13
E-Gmat... a wonderful article.
Things are crystal clear now.

i think i am going to need your constant help in verbal.i have scheduled my test in mid Aug. VA is my weakest area. i am constantly scoring 20-25 in VA unlike Q(47-50).
can i have your expert advice how to enhance my VA score to 40-43.i really need to have a score anything above 720.
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Last edited by 321kumarsushant on 05 Jul 2012, 13:44, edited 1 time in total.
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05 Jul 2012, 11:25
forgot to kudos you for such a detailed article. now done
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05 Jul 2012, 11:27
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Hi there,
Thank you so very much. We really appreaciate it. Your feedback is really crucial for us. Thanks again.
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05 Jul 2012, 16:58
Dear 321kumarsushant,

Thanks for the praise. I would recommend that you try the e-GMAT course for verbal. We offer a very generous free trial. Take the trial and purchase the course if needed. We have have helped over 1000 students in the last 12 months excel on verbal. You can read the success stories either on GMATClub or search the web. Click the link below to register:

https://e-gmat.com/secure/register.php

Here is the story of a guy who improved by 9 points in 10 days.

http://youtu.be/8nH2XaBOJk4

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05 Jul 2012, 19:35
e gmat offer great article of verb-ing. In this case, I want to discuss about the problem of TO DO VS FOR DOING

In many og questions, I see gmat forces us to choose between TO DO and FOR DOING. TO DO is used to show a purpose and FOR DOING is not used to show a purpose. However, in many cases, FOR DOING is correct. I am confused.

e-gmat experts, plsease, explain more of this problem.
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05 Jul 2012, 21:15
Sure, we would be happy to add some content here. Can you provide the OG examples where the same is tested. Then we would be happy to write the article.
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06 Jul 2012, 06:15
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the following is an example.
New genetic evidence-together with recent studies of elephants' skeletons, tusks, and other anatomical features-/provide compelling support for classifying /Africa's forest elephants and its savanna elephants as separate species.

C.provides compelling support to the classification of

D.provides compelling support for classifying

E.provides compelling support to classify

Q 11, og 11

Warning that computers in the United States are not secure, the National Academy of Sciences has urged the nation to revamp computer security procedure, institute new emergency response teams, /

D, and create a special nongovernment organization for taking

E, and create a special nongovernment organization to take

e-gmat experts, you are great. Pls, give us full explanation/rule for the cases above. Thank you.
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06 Jul 2012, 07:27
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thangvietnam wrote:
Pls, give us full explanation/rule for the cases above. Thank you.

Hi there,

We can decide when to use “to verb” and when to use “for verb-ing” by understanding the context of the sentence.
a. Use “to verb” to present purpose or intention of any action.
b. Use “for verb-ing” to not present the purpose or intention. Use this expression to show that the action is somehow related to the “verb-ing”.

Now let’s apply these guidelines to the official sentences that you have provided:

New genetic evidence - together with recent studies of elephants' skeletons, tusks, and other anatomical features - provide compelling support for classifying Africa's forest elephants and its savanna elephants as separate species.

D. provides compelling support for classifying
E. provides compelling support to classify

So how to choose between the two? Let’s first take choice E.
In this choice “to verb” has been used “provides compelling support”. So the sentence is saying that new genetic evidence provide compelling support with the intention to classify something. Does this make sense? New evidence provides support with some intention? This meaning certainly does not make any logical sense. Hence, choice E is eliminated.

So now, even if we are left with choice D, which is the correct answer, let’s see why it is correct. The sentence per this choice means new genetic evidence provides support. And what does it provide support for? It provides support for classifying something. So providing support is related to classifying something. This makes complete logical sense. So choice D indeed is the correct answer.

Now let’s take a look at the other question:

Warning that computers in the United States are not secure, the National Academy of Sciences has urged the nation to revamp computer security procedures, institute new emergency response teams, creating a special nongovernment organization to take charge of computer security planning.

(D) and create a special nongovernment organization for taking
(E) and create a special nongovernment organization to take

Let’s analyze choice E first. So the NAS has urged the nation to take three steps. The purpose is presented in “to verb”. The NAS wants the nation to take charge of computer security planning because the computers in the US are not safe. This meaning perfectly makes sense. The intended intention is clearly communicated. Hence choice E is correct.

Choice D fails to communicate this intention. It merely says that NAS urged the nation to do a few things for doing something else. This makes choice D incorrect.
So first let the context of the sentence guide you to the intended meaning and then apply the guidelines to see usage of “to verb” communicates that intended meaning or usage of “for verb-ing” does so.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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06 Jul 2012, 16:27
Thank you, but I am still confused.

Can I think that
"for doing" in D modifies "support" and is logic
and
"to do" in E modified "provide" and is not logic

Pls, help explain of why D is wrong? Thank you very much.
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06 Jul 2012, 16:34
Can I think that

in E "evidence" performs "to support" and this is not logic

in D "evidence" dose not perform "for supporting" and this is logic. Other unknown would perform "for supporting"

Is my thinking correct?
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06 Jul 2012, 16:45
sorry, I post again.

in E, the meaning is "evidence provides support in order that the evidence would classify". This is not logic

in D, the meaing is "evidence provides support for someone to classify" .This is logic

can I say that

use "for doing" when the subject ("evidence") of the first verb (provide) dose not do the action of "for doing" (classifying)

pls, help.
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09 Jul 2012, 01:36
@ E-gmat: I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Kudos to you.
Can you please let me know by when other posts are expected? Also, do you have similar articles available for other grammatical points, such as pronouns, participles, gerunds, etc?
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09 Jul 2012, 02:05
Thanks .... very well written explanation
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10 Jul 2012, 09:25
can you please explain how present & past participles are constructed. I mean taking a clause and then removing the parts to show formation of participles. Thanks
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2012, 15:41
egmat wrote:
As mentioned earlier, verb-ing modifiers are made from “verbs” and they denote action. Now, any action needs a doer. In the same way, the verb-ing modifiers also associate with the subjects of the preceding clause. What we must keep in mind is that the action denoted by verb-ing must make sense with the subject of the clause. The use of verb-ing is correct only if it makes sense with the subject of the clause it is modifying.

For example:
Sachin Tendulkar played an exceptionally outstanding innings, making the team win gloriously.

The sentence means that Sachin played a superbly good innings. And the result of this action led to the victory of the team in a glorious manner. So, the verb-ing modifier “making” preceded by a comma is presenting the result of the preceding clause.

Now, “making” is an action that needs a subject. Per the rule, it will associate with the subject of the preceding clause. Now, the subject of the preceding clause “Sachin” did the action of playing a superb innings. So the subject is the doer. Hence, “making” will associate with the same subject and will suggest that that Sachin “made” the team win. This association perfectly makes sense. Because Sachin did make the team win by playing a superb innings. Hence, the usage of the verb-ing modifier is absolutely correct here.

Now let’s take this example:
Joe became the CFO of the company, increasing his pay significantly.

Here the verb-ing modifier “increasing” appears after the clause and is preceded by a comma. This means that this modifier will modify the preceding clause either by presenting additional information about the preceding clause or by presenting the result of the preceding clause.

Now, per the intended meaning of the sentence, Joe became the CFO of the company. This event led to increase in his salary. Now, the subject of the sentence is “Joe”. However, he is not the doer of the verb “became”. He did not make himself the CFO of the company. Now look at the verb-ing modifier “increasing”. Since verb-ing modifier denotes an action and hence associates with a verb, “increasing” associates with “Joe”. The sentence thus means that Joe became the CFO of the company and as a result he increased his salary. We know that this is not even a possibility. What resulted in Joe’s increased salary is the event of his becoming the CFO.
Hence, even if this sentence appears to be written in appropriate construction, it is incorrect since here the verb-ing modifier does not make sense with the subject of the preceding clause.

I just want to make sure I got this right.

"For members of the 17th century Ashanti nation in Africa, animal-hide shields with wooden frames were essential items of military equipment, protecting warriors against enemy arrows and spears."

Using Joe's example above, wouldn't this be incorrect? In the example, Joe is not doing the action of increasing his salary. Similarly, the shields themselves are not doing the action of protecting, they are, as the sentence reads, just "items of military equipment." Am I stretching this a bit too much here? I can see how the shields' function is to protect so I kinda see your point also.

Applying your logic, would this sentence be correct?
"For the Ashanti warriors of Africa, shields with wooden frames were essential items, helping win battles."

The shields are protecting the warriors and therefore helping them win battles, therefore this sentence would be correct. However, if I were to get a bit technical, I would argue that the shields themselves are not DOING the action of protecting, but rather that the warriors are USING the shields to protect themselves and therefore winning the battles.

Which perspective is correct?
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16 Jul 2012, 04:43
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Just wanted to add one more rule to the Summary that :

comma +ing modifier takes the tense of the preceding modified clause.

Thanks
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