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# Various Functions of Verb-ing Words

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Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 17 Aug 2013, 09:33
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VERB-ING WORDS – THREE FUNCTIONS

Hi All,
We are all familiar with the verb-ing words as clause modifiers when they are preceded by a comma or placed in the beginning of the sentence and separated from the main clause by a comma. Following is the overview of various modifications by verb-ing modifier according to its placement:

We have already written very detailed articles on verb-ing modifiers. Here are the links for the same:

usage-of-verb-ing-modifiers-135220.html
verb-ing-modifiers-part-2-in-our-first-article-on-verb-ing-135567.html

But, the function of verb-ing words is not limited to only modifiers. They play various other roles in a sentence. Take a look at the following three sentences. By the way, they are all correct sentences, so don’t worry about correcting them.

1. Growing plants is my hobby.
2. Growing plants in your backyard need more care.
3. I am growing aromatic plants in my garden.

Anyone who aims to score above 700 in GMAT MUST understand the distinctions detailed out in this article.

COSTLY CONFUSION

In all these three sentences, “growing”, the verb-ing word, plays three different roles. In the first sentence, “growing” is a noun, in the second, it’s an adjective, and in the last sentence together with “am”, it is a verb in present continuous tense. Many a times, test takers fail to identify the correct role of the verb-ing word because of the complex structure of sentences in Sentence Correction.

In my experience, students who cannot differentiate between the use of verb-ing word as a noun and as an adjective end up making Subject Verb Number Agreement error. We have addressed over 20 such doubts in our internal forums.

Similarly, if students are unable to differentiate between the use of verb-ing word as an adjective and as a verb, they will toward a grammatical disaster.
Hence, it is necessary to be aware of the various functions of the verb-ing so that our mistakes do not reflect on our score card.

FUNCTION 1- VERB-ING WORD AS A NOUN

Verb-ing words can function as nouns. But these nouns are little different from conventional nouns. The verb-ing words function as those nouns that actually denote an action. So such verb-ing words fall under the category of nouns but unlike conventional nouns, they actually denote an action. These forms of verb-ing words are popularly known as gerunds. Since at e-gmat, we refrain from using grammatical jargons, we call the gerunds the verb-ing nouns that denote action.

Now let’s study our first example sentence in the light of this explanation.

1. Growing plants is my hobby.

In this sentence, “growing” is the verb-ing noun because the word acts a noun and hence is the subject of the clause, but it also denotes an action. “Growing” most certainly does not follow the definition of the conventional noun – a thing, place or person – as it denotes the action of growing. Hence, it is a verb-ing noun.

One other thing to note about verb-ing nouns is that they are ALWAYS singular in number and hence, take singular verb when act as subjects. In our example sentence too, the verb is singular “is” as the subject “growing” is singular.

2. Marketing baby products in the internet world requires a cohesive message to be spread through traditional print and social media.

In this sentence, “marketing”, the verb-ing word acts as a noun and forms a big noun phrase “Marketing baby products in the internet world” that is the subject of the sentence. Since “marketing” is the head of this noun phrase and is a verb-ing noun, it takes singular verb “requires”. The number of the nouns entities that follow “marketing” has no effect on the number of the verb “requires”.

Following are the examples of the verb-ing noun in official questions:

1. Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (OGV2#28)

In this sentence, “eating” is a verb-ing noun that makes the subject of this sentence. Now, this sentence uses the verb “may reduce” that actually does not talk much about the number of the subject. But if “may” is removed, then “eating” will take singular verb “reduces”.

2. Many policy experts say that shifting a portion of health-benefit costs back to the workers not only helps to control the employer’s costs, but also helps to limit medical spending by making patients more careful consumers. (OGV2#63)

In this official sentence as well, “shifting”, the verb-ing noun takes singular verb “helps” in the idiom not only X but Y.

FUNCTION 2 – VERB-ING AS AN ADJECTIVE

Another role that a verb-ing word plays is of an adjective. As an adjective, it provides extra information of a particular noun entity. These verb-ing words can be present before or after the noun entity without any comma between the modified noun and the verb-ing adjective.

The verb-ing word in our second example sentence falls in this category.

2. Growing plants in your backyard need more care.

In this sentence, “growing” is the adjective that presents a characteristic of the “plants”. What kind of plants need more care? The plants that are growing.
The thing to notice here is that since the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it does not have bearing on the verb of the sentence. The verb needs to agree in number and make sense with the subject of the sentence. In this case, the subject is “plants” and hence the verb used is plural “need”.

2. Marketing channels that cost more generally provide higher returns.

In this sentence, “marketing” is the verb-ing adjective that talks about the characteristic of the channels. The sentence specifically talks about a particular type of channels - “marketing channels”. Since “marketing” is just an adjective or a modifier, the noun “channels” is the subject in this sentence and takes plural verb “provide” because the subject is plural.

Similarly, since “that” refers to the plural “channels”, it also takes plural verb “cost”.

It’s time to review some official sentences with verb-ing word acting as an adjective:

1. Declining values for farm equipment and land, the collateral against which farmers borrow to get through the harvest season, are going to force many lenders to tighten or deny credit this spring. (OGVR2#20)

In this correct official sentence, “declining” is the adjective that presents additional information about the noun “values” The verb-ing word again presents the characteristic of the value. It talks about the values that decreasing. So the subject of the sentence is “values”, a plural noun that takes plural verb “are” which actually falls in the underlined portion.
So if you mistook “declining” for noun instead of adjective, you would probably choose the answer choice that would have “is”. This is the grammatical fiasco we are talking about.

2. Rising inventories, if not accompanied by corresponding increases in sales, can lead to production cutbacks that would hamper economic growth.

We have already seen that test takers do get confused in determining the role of “rising” in this one. Clearly, “rising” here talks about a feature of “inventories”. The sentence talks about those inventories that rise. Now here the verb is “can lead” that does not speak anything about the number of the noun. But there are a few answer choices that have the singular verb “leads”. These answer choices have been explained as incorrect as “rising inventories” does not agree in number in with the verb “leads”.

FUNCTION 3 – VERB-ING AS A VERB WITH A HELPING VERB

The function of verb-ing words as verbs is a very popular function. However, there are many who make the mistake of identifying JUST the verb-ing word as the verb. This is not correct.

One thing we must be aware of is that verbs MUST have a tense. But the verb-ing words just by themselves do not have any tense. Can you tell what is the tense of “eating”, “drinking”, or “dancing”. Certainly not.

But you will be able to do so the moment I add some helping verb before these words. Check it for yourself – “is eating”, “was drinking”, “have been dancing”. Right?

So NEVER consider just the verb-ing word as a verb in a sentence. It’s time to bring our third example sentence here:

3. I am growing aromatic plants in my garden.
Here, if we just read the word “growing”, we would not be able to tell the tense of this word. It is the helping verb “am” that tells me that the verb “am growing” is in simple present continuous tense. We can never write sentences such as:

1. Joe eating pizza.
2. Julia dancing on the stage.

In these sentences, “eating” and “dancing” CANNOT be termed as verbs because we don’t know the time frame of these continuous actions. But adding a helping verb – is/are/were/was/has been/have been etc. – will not only make the tense of the verb clear but also provide a proper verb to make the structure a proper grammatical sentence.

1. Joe is eating pizza.
2. Julia was dancing on the stage.

Following is the instance where an e-GMAT student rejected a choice because he thought that the verb-ing word was a present continuous tense.

As you can recognize, this question is OG13#47. Although choice A is incorrect, the student rejected that choice because he thought that “taking” is a present continuous tense.
This is incorrect because here “taking” is not preceded by any helping verb. We cannot even determine its tense in absence of the helping verb.

Well, this is just one instance. In our internal forums, we have many more such queries and analysis where students mistook just the verb-ing word to be continuous tense verb. This confusion is quite common and can cost you dearly.

Hence, whenever you see a verb-ing word, make sure that you find a preceding helping verb before declaring it a verb in continuous tense. Do remember that the verb-ing words CANNOT be verbs without the helping verbs preceding them.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Attachments

Various Functions of Verb-ing words_V2.pdf [817.69 KiB]

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Originally posted by egmat on 16 Aug 2013, 14:50.
Last edited by egmat on 17 Aug 2013, 09:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2013, 07:48
1
Great to see you back with awesomeness as usual...Added it to my sig. of all of your SC-articles(Can you please just have a look at my sig. and let me know whether I've missed ant topic you discussed here?)
I'd need few clarifications on this post to clear my doubts, so here they go:

egmat wrote:
Growing plants in your backward need more care.

If we say that Growing can be noun here then sentence would look like 'Growing plants in your backward needs more care'. My intended meaning is the process of plant-growing has to be done with care. Will it be wrong?

egmat wrote:
Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (OGV2#28)

Could you please share your analysis for this qs? Why this option is wrong? Is it because 'aid for' doesn't take verb form?

+1 for the article.
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17 Aug 2013, 09:38
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Hi bagdmba,

Growing plants in your backyard needs more care.

Yes, this sentence is correct to mean that one needs more care to grow plants in "your" backyard. Then the number of the verb will change to singular to agree in number with the singular noun "growing" because a verb-ing noun is always singular.

About your second doubt, I would not like to discuss that question here because your doubt pertains to a completely unrelated topic. Post it as a new thread and I will be more than glad to help you with that.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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17 Aug 2013, 11:47
egmat wrote:
Hi bagdmba,

Growing plants in your backyard needs more care.

Yes, this sentence is correct to mean that one needs more care to grow plants in "your" backyard. Then the number of the verb will change to singular to agree in number with the singular noun "growing" because a verb-ing noun is always singular.

About your second doubt, I would not like to discuss that question here because your doubt pertains to a completely unrelated topic. Post it as a new thread and I will be more than glad to help you with that.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

Thannks for the clarification. Here'e the link where the qs is already posted so I'd much appreciate if you please come up with your analysis over there accordingly.

http://gmatclub.com/forum/eating-saltwater-fish-may-significantly-reduce-the-risk-of-48628.html
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20 Aug 2013, 05:53
bagdbmba wrote:
egmat wrote:
Hi bagdmba,

Growing plants in your backyard needs more care.

Yes, this sentence is correct to mean that one needs more care to grow plants in "your" backyard. Then the number of the verb will change to singular to agree in number with the singular noun "growing" because a verb-ing noun is always singular.

About your second doubt, I would not like to discuss that question here because your doubt pertains to a completely unrelated topic. Post it as a new thread and I will be more than glad to help you with that.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

Thannks for the clarification. Here'e the link where the qs is already posted so I'd much appreciate if you please come up with your analysis over there accordingly.

http://gmatclub.com/forum/eating-saltwater-fish-may-significantly-reduce-the-risk-of-48628.html

Can you please come up with an analysis and explanation for this qs in the above link?

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20 Aug 2013, 10:54
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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21 Aug 2013, 01:22
Verb-ing cannot act as verbs. It requires a helping verb. <-- That is a beautiful insight. I think this is a very common mistake done by non-native speakers.

I would like to ask you what is the function of "verb-ing" in such cases? (example below)

In the late 1880s, the journalist Jacob Riis visited tenement dwellings in several impoverished New York City neighbourhoods to investigate housing conditions and photograph immigrant tenant's apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect.
(A) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect
(B) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect
(C) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and they had walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect
(D) having interiors inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving for beds, and their walls were often windowless and dilapidated due to age and neglect
(E) having interiors that were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often lacked windows and were dilapidated on account of age and neglect

A is the official answer. I would like to understand what is the function of " verb-ing" in "their floors often serving as beds" in the answer option A?

Is there any change in the meaning between "their floors often serving as beds" and "their floors were often serving as beds" in the above sentence?
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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21 Aug 2013, 22:24

Could you help me on the above query, please?
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22 Aug 2013, 07:02
gmatter0913 wrote:
Verb-ing cannot act as verbs. It requires a helping verb. <-- That is a beautiful insight. I think this is a very common mistake done by non-native speakers.

I would like to ask you what is the function of "verb-ing" in such cases? (example below)

In the late 1880s, the journalist Jacob Riis visited tenement dwellings in several impoverished New York City neighbourhoods to investigate housing conditions and photograph immigrant tenant's apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect.
(A) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect
(B) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect
(C) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and they had walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect
(D) having interiors inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving for beds, and their walls were often windowless and dilapidated due to age and neglect
(E) having interiors that were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often lacked windows and were dilapidated on account of age and neglect

A is the official answer. I would like to understand what is the function of " verb-ing" in "their floors often serving as beds" in the answer option A?

Is there any change in the meaning between "their floors often serving as beds" and "their floors were often serving as beds" in the above sentence?

Hi gmatter0913,

Yes, the official answer is certainly A here. In this choice verb-ing word "serving" acts as a verb-ing modifier that modifies the immediate preceding noun entity "floors". The word "often" that comes in between "floors" and "serving" is an adverb and modifies the action denoted by "serving".

In the clause , "their floors were often serving as beds", "were serving" is the past continuous tense verb. Now in terms of meaning, the only difference is that there in no tense in the verb-ing modifiers and it takes the tense of the main clause in the sentence. Since the context is set in the past, we know that the action denoted by "serving" took place in the past.

In the past continuous tense, we know that when Riis visited those apartments, "the floors" were serving as beds.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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22 Aug 2013, 08:15
Thanks a lot Shraddha. It was really useful.
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23 Aug 2013, 01:22
doing can be"

2-a noun refering to general action. but remember if action noun exist, gmat do not agree the use of doing as general action. for example:

"organization' attempt " is correct. "organization's trying" is wrong. (this is from og13)

3- a participle. (fro more on this, please review grammar books). this is non tense verb. doing as participle must modifies a whole clause and refer to subject of that clause. tense of participle is tense of the main clause.

the problem is we can have 2 choice

- using particple or using possessive+general noun

I learn gmat before paying the fee
I learn gmat before my payment of fee

this problem is test on many gmatprep question. in many case, participle is prefered than possessive +action noun. but remember this is problem of preference not problem of absolute rule.

that is all we need about doing

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If anyone in this gmat forum is in England,Britain, pls, email to me, (thanghnvn@gmail.com) . I have some questions and need your advise. Thank a lot.
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23 Aug 2013, 01:27
of course, if there is action noun , we have to use possessive+doing as general action

learning gmat is good for every persons but my learning (of) gmat is bad

gmat dose not test "of" in above sentence.. some times gmat use "of" sometimes it dose not use . some grammar book said that if doing is used to refer to general action (not the action of the subject), "of " is needed . but do not care because gmat dose not care.
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If anyone in this gmat forum is in England,Britain, pls, email to me, (thanghnvn@gmail.com) . I have some questions and need your advise. Thank a lot.
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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23 Aug 2013, 08:53
gmatter0913 wrote:
Verb-ing cannot act as verbs. It requires a helping verb. <-- That is a beautiful insight. I think this is a very common mistake done by non-native speakers.

I would like to ask you what is the function of "verb-ing" in such cases? (example below)

In the late 1880s, the journalist Jacob Riis visited tenement dwellings in several impoverished New York City neighbourhoods to investigate housing conditions and photograph immigrant tenant's apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect.
(A) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect
(B) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect
(C) whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and they had walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect
(D) having interiors inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving for beds, and their walls were often windowless and dilapidated due to age and neglect
(E) having interiors that were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often lacked windows and were dilapidated on account of age and neglect

A is the official answer. I would like to understand what is the function of " verb-ing" in "their floors often serving as beds" in the answer option A?

Is there any change in the meaning between "their floors often serving as beds" and "their floors were often serving as beds" in the above sentence?

I see a clear parallelism error in choice A. Where am I going wrong?

A)Parallel structure:
...appartements
- whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, ........................[1]
- their floors {often serving as beds - prepositional phrase modifying floors},AND .......................[2]
- their walls {often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect - prepositional phrase modifying walls} .................[3]

What I see here is a clause [1] is being made parallel to two nouns [2] and [3] -> Q1) Where am I going wrong?

Q2) If I were to put all the three clauses in parallel structure, replacing their with whose is preferred or ABSOLUTELY required option?

(B)Parallel structure:
...appartements
- whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded,
- their floors were often serving as beds, and
- their[ walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect
Q3)same as Q2); whose vs. their
Q4) If we replace their by whose can it be right choice ?
Q5) If even after replacing their by whose this choice is wrong what is wrong with that modified option?
Q6) Can three ICs be put into parallel construction in following fashion? IC1, IC2, and IC3. (IC1 and IC2 are connected without FANBOYS) If we replace whose by their, thats what we will get.
To me, the "ideal" construction to say this would be:
...apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, whose floors were often serving as beds, and whose walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect
Am I right in saying so?
As I had to choose between A and B, I say to myself, well in A a cause has been compared to nouns where as in B three clauses have been compared. So I choose B (supposedly better one from my prospective, given that both have problem of whose/their)
Coming to the verb tenses, in choice A we have to infer the tenses from the context which has been (the same) explicitly given in choice B. So, B is better in my opinion.

Can anyone please cite the source of this question?

PS: Everyone, please refrain from putting answer key right in the post. It robes us a chance to make an honest attempt to try that question.
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23 Aug 2013, 13:32
bagdbmba wrote:
egmat wrote:
Hi bagdmba,

Growing plants in your backyard needs more care.

Yes, this sentence is correct to mean that one needs more care to grow plants in "your" backyard. Then the number of the verb will change to singular to agree in number with the singular noun "growing" because a verb-ing noun is always singular.

About your second doubt, I would not like to discuss that question here because your doubt pertains to a completely unrelated topic. Post it as a new thread and I will be more than glad to help you with that.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

Thannks for the clarification. Here'e the link where the qs is already posted so I'd much appreciate if you please come up with your analysis over there accordingly.

http://gmatclub.com/forum/eating-saltwater-fish-may-significantly-reduce-the-risk-of-48628.html

Does not second example you gave (Growing plants in your backyard need more care) is kind of ambiguous? (if underlined)
To me if this phrase comes in the underlined portion, it can be interpreted in two ways:
1)Growing of plants {in your backyard -prepositional phrase} needs more care. (Growing = Noun)
2) Plants that are growing in your backyard needs more care.

To me, unless the subject of the following clause is not inanimate we can not say for sure whether verb-ing is working as a Noun or an Adjective. But when the Subject of the following clause is inanimate, then the verb-ing can either denote action of modify the subject.
Examples (assuming the phrase is in underlined portion):
1) Growing plants in your backyard need more care (I am confused what it means 1 or 2 cf above)
2) Planting plant plants in your backyard needs more care. Absolutely no confusion here, because unlike the first sentence in which plant can either get modified by growing (adjective) of do the action of growing, the second sentence has no room of plant doing the action of planting itself.
Same in other examples you gave:
Rising inventories... the inventories cannot do the action of rising => Rising = Adjective modifier
Marketing channels... the channels do not do the action of marketing => Marketing = Adjective

All I am saying is when the subject of the following clause is inanimate (can do action) and the verb-ing is an action that the subject can do then there can be two possibilities; the verb-ing can either be an adjective or be a noun. The context will give us the answer.

If not underlined:
1) Growing plants in your backyard need more care => forces me to think that we are talking about plants that are growing
2) Growing plants in your backyard needs more care => forces me to think that we are talking about action of growing plants
3) Growing plants in your backyard need more care => dont know what the meaning is.

I am no grammarian, I am simply putting my observation from your article.
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23 Aug 2013, 14:14
2
Hi drebellion,

Choice A: In the late 1880s, the journalist Jacob Riis visited tenement dwellings in several impoverished New York City neighborhoods to investigate housing conditions and photograph immigrant tenant's apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect.

Ans 1: You are correct in saying that “whose interiors were inhumanly overcrowded” is a clause where “interiors” is the Subject and the Verb is “were… overcrowded”. However, the entities after this clause are not clauses. They are not the entities of a parallel list.

“their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect” are Noun + Noun Modifiers, where “their floors” is Noun and “serving as beds” is a verb-ing Noun Modifier. Similarly, “their walls” is Noun and “windowless and dilapidated” are Noun Modifiers.

Now as we know that Noun + Noun Modifier can any entity in the preceding clause. So “their” refers to “whose” that again stands for “apartments”. Now whether we say that “their” refers to “whose” or “apartments”, the meaning remains the same.

So, we don’t have a parallel list as such. We have two Noun + Noun Modifiers as entities of the parallel list.

Ans 2: Yes, if we need to make all the entities parallel in the list, then we WILL HAVE TO repeat “whose” before every entity.

“whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, whose floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect”

Choice B: whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect

Ans 3: I hope you can see that by not replacing “whose” with “theirs” before “floors” and “walls”, what error this choice brings in.

Ans 4: Just replacing “their” with “whose” will not make this answer choice correct. There is one more error in this choice. Can you identify that?

Ans 5: Okay. I did not want to reply to this one because I wanted you to figure that out, and that’s why I asked you in Ans 4 “can you identify”. But I guess I will. Use of “due to” is not correct in this sentence.

Ans 6: No. We cannot join two ICs with comma under any circumstance. If there are three ICs, then we need to use the combination of comma + FANBOYS and punctuations that can join ICs such as semi-colon, dash, and colon.

Your suggested version is correct except for the usage of “due to”.

Now as long as verb is concerned, because the modifiers don’t have their own tense and take after the tense of the modified clause, there is no need to explicitly mention the tense of every action. This actually helps in keeping the sentence precise.

As long as the meaning of the sentence is not compromised, we must choose the answer choice that uses fewer words to express the logical intended meaning.

(Phew, this was long. )

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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23 Aug 2013, 14:56
egmat wrote:
Hi drebellion,

Choice A: In the late 1880s, the journalist Jacob Riis visited tenement dwellings in several impoverished New York City neighborhoods to investigate housing conditions and photograph immigrant tenant's apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect.

Ans 1: You are correct in saying that “whose interiors were inhumanly overcrowded” is a clause where “interiors” is the Subject and the Verb is “were… overcrowded”. However, the entities after this clause are not clauses. They are not the entities of a parallel list.

“their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect” are Noun + Noun Modifiers, where “their floors” is Noun and “serving as beds” is a verb-ing Noun Modifier. Similarly, “their walls” is Noun and “windowless and dilapidated” are Noun Modifiers.

Now as we know that Noun + Noun Modifier can any entity in the preceding clause. So “their” refers to “whose” that again stands for “apartments”. Now whether we say that “their” refers to “whose” or “apartments”, the meaning remains the same.

So, we don’t have a parallel list as such. We have two Noun + Noun Modifiers as entities of the parallel list.

Ans 2: Yes, if we need to make all the entities parallel in the list, then we WILL HAVE TO repeat “whose” before every entity.

“whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, whose floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect”

Choice B: whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, their floors were often serving as beds, and their walls were often lacking windows and dilapidated due to age and neglect

Ans 3: I hope you can see that by not replacing “whose” with “theirs” before “floors” and “walls”, what error this choice brings in.

Ans 4: Just replacing “their” with “whose” will not make this answer choice correct. There is one more error in this choice. Can you identify that?

Ans 5: Okay. I did not want to reply to this one because I wanted you to figure that out, and that’s why I asked you in Ans 4 “can you identify”. But I guess I will. Use of “due to” is not correct in this sentence.

Ans 6: No. We cannot join two ICs with comma under any circumstance. If there are three ICs, then we need to use the combination of comma + FANBOYS and punctuations that can join ICs such as semi-colon, dash, and colon.

Your suggested version is correct except for the usage of “due to”.

Now as long as verb is concerned, because the modifiers don’t have their own tense and take after the tense of the modified clause, there is no need to explicitly mention the tense of every action. This actually helps in keeping the sentence precise.

As long as the meaning of the sentence is not compromised, we must choose the answer choice that uses fewer words to express the logical intended meaning.

(Phew, this was long. )

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

Sorry for being so long You will see in one of my another post I said, in last one week all I have done is read and worked all your SC articles
Thank you so much for your detailed explanation.
To answer your question of your answer 3 (Ans 3: I hope you can see that by not replacing “whose” with “theirs” before “floors” and “walls”, what error this choice brings in.)
Apart from that "due to" error which I did not notice, by not replacing their with whose I am doing two things:
1) I am comparing an active voice sentence with two passive voice sentences (which in itself is not an error) but here thats not OK
2) I am comparing whose, a Object-pronoun and their, a Subject-pronoun (which stem from the fact that latter clauses are in passive) which is not allowed

Is this an official question? To me a "with" is required if the two their were to refer back to apartments...
In that case the sentence will read as:

"...tenant's apartments, whose interiors were inhumanely overcrowded, with their floors often serving as beds, and their walls often windowless and dilapidated with age and neglect."
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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09 Nov 2013, 03:08
Rising inventories, when unaccompanied correspondingly by increases in sales, can lead to production cutbacks that would hamper economic growth.

A)When unaccompanied correspondingly by increases in sales, can lead
B)When not accompanied by corresponding increases in sales, possibly leads
C)When they were unaccompanied by corresponding sales increases, can lead
D)If not accompanied by correspondingly increased sales, possibly leads
E) If not accompanied by corresponding increases in sales, can lead

Answer E is the correct answer. My question is if we have " if " in a clause, shouldn't we have a subject and verb as well? Is this the conditional ? What role does "if" here play? could you please provide a detailed explanation for why each of the other answer choices are incorrect so as to make sure that I understood the concept well? Thanks in advance.
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07 Jun 2014, 03:02
I appreciate your article on Verb-ing. But will you please tell me can Verb-ing in passive form (being worked etc) be used after comma? i think this will then modify the preceding noun as it is used in Verb-ed form because both are cut from passive sentences.
One more doubt on Verb-ing
When two words connected by and, or (conjunction), then verb-ing will modify last one or both ???

Mike and his friend working in a company ended their year long dispute.

Now point of confusion is Mike and his friend both are working or only his friend.

I will be much obliged to you.

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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2015, 09:12
1
egmat wrote:

VERB-ING WORDS – THREE FUNCTIONS

Hi All,
We are all familiar with the verb-ing words as clause modifiers when they are preceded by a comma or placed in the beginning of the sentence and separated from the main clause by a comma. Following is the overview of various modifications by verb-ing modifier according to its placement:

We have already written very detailed articles on verb-ing modifiers. Here are the links for the same:

usage-of-verb-ing-modifiers-135220.html
verb-ing-modifiers-part-2-in-our-first-article-on-verb-ing-135567.html

But, the function of verb-ing words is not limited to only modifiers. They play various other roles in a sentence. Take a look at the following three sentences. By the way, they are all correct sentences, so don’t worry about correcting them.

1. Growing plants is my hobby.
2. Growing plants in your backyard need more care.
3. I am growing aromatic plants in my garden.

Anyone who aims to score above 700 in GMAT MUST understand the distinctions detailed out in this article.

COSTLY CONFUSION

In all these three sentences, “growing”, the verb-ing word, plays three different roles. In the first sentence, “growing” is a noun, in the second, it’s an adjective, and in the last sentence together with “am”, it is a verb in present continuous tense. Many a times, test takers fail to identify the correct role of the verb-ing word because of the complex structure of sentences in Sentence Correction.

In my experience, students who cannot differentiate between the use of verb-ing word as a noun and as an adjective end up making Subject Verb Number Agreement error. We have addressed over 20 such doubts in our internal forums.

Similarly, if students are unable to differentiate between the use of verb-ing word as an adjective and as a verb, they will toward a grammatical disaster.
Hence, it is necessary to be aware of the various functions of the verb-ing so that our mistakes do not reflect on our score card.

FUNCTION 1- VERB-ING WORD AS A NOUN

Verb-ing words can function as nouns. But these nouns are little different from conventional nouns. The verb-ing words function as those nouns that actually denote an action. So such verb-ing words fall under the category of nouns but unlike conventional nouns, they actually denote an action. These forms of verb-ing words are popularly known as gerunds. Since at e-gmat, we refrain from using grammatical jargons, we call the gerunds the verb-ing nouns that denote action.

Now let’s study our first example sentence in the light of this explanation.

1. Growing plants is my hobby.

In this sentence, “growing” is the verb-ing noun because the word acts a noun and hence is the subject of the clause, but it also denotes an action. “Growing” most certainly does not follow the definition of the conventional noun – a thing, place or person – as it denotes the action of growing. Hence, it is a verb-ing noun.

One other thing to note about verb-ing nouns is that they are ALWAYS singular in number and hence, take singular verb when act as subjects. In our example sentence too, the verb is singular “is” as the subject “growing” is singular.

2. Marketing baby products in the internet world requires a cohesive message to be spread through traditional print and social media.

In this sentence, “marketing”, the verb-ing word acts as a noun and forms a big noun phrase “Marketing baby products in the internet world” that is the subject of the sentence. Since “marketing” is the head of this noun phrase and is a verb-ing noun, it takes singular verb “requires”. The number of the nouns entities that follow “marketing” has no effect on the number of the verb “requires”.

Following are the examples of the verb-ing noun in official questions:

1. Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (OGV2#28)

In this sentence, “eating” is a verb-ing noun that makes the subject of this sentence. Now, this sentence uses the verb “may reduce” that actually does not talk much about the number of the subject. But if “may” is removed, then “eating” will take singular verb “reduces”.

2. Many policy experts say that shifting a portion of health-benefit costs back to the workers not only helps to control the employer’s costs, but also helps to limit medical spending by making patients more careful consumers. (OGV2#63)

In this official sentence as well, “shifting”, the verb-ing noun takes singular verb “helps” in the idiom not only X but Y.

FUNCTION 2 – VERB-ING AS AN ADJECTIVE

Another role that a verb-ing word plays is of an adjective. As an adjective, it provides extra information of a particular noun entity. These verb-ing words can be present before or after the noun entity without any comma between the modified noun and the verb-ing adjective.

The verb-ing word in our second example sentence falls in this category.

2. Growing plants in your backyard need more care.

In this sentence, “growing” is the adjective that presents a characteristic of the “plants”. What kind of plants need more care? The plants that are growing.
The thing to notice here is that since the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it does not have bearing on the verb of the sentence. The verb needs to agree in number and make sense with the subject of the sentence. In this case, the subject is “plants” and hence the verb used is plural “need”.

2. Marketing channels that cost more generally provide higher returns.

In this sentence, “marketing” is the verb-ing adjective that talks about the characteristic of the channels. The sentence specifically talks about a particular type of channels - “marketing channels”. Since “marketing” is just an adjective or a modifier, the noun “channels” is the subject in this sentence and takes plural verb “provide” because the subject is plural.

Similarly, since “that” refers to the plural “channels”, it also takes plural verb “cost”.

It’s time to review some official sentences with verb-ing word acting as an adjective:

1. Declining values for farm equipment and land, the collateral against which farmers borrow to get through the harvest season, are going to force many lenders to tighten or deny credit this spring. (OGVR2#20)

In this correct official sentence, “declining” is the adjective that presents additional information about the noun “values” The verb-ing word again presents the characteristic of the value. It talks about the values that decreasing. So the subject of the sentence is “values”, a plural noun that takes plural verb “are” which actually falls in the underlined portion.
So if you mistook “declining” for noun instead of adjective, you would probably choose the answer choice that would have “is”. This is the grammatical fiasco we are talking about.

2. Rising inventories, if not accompanied by corresponding increases in sales, can lead to production cutbacks that would hamper economic growth.

We have already seen that test takers do get confused in determining the role of “rising” in this one. Clearly, “rising” here talks about a feature of “inventories”. The sentence talks about those inventories that rise. Now here the verb is “can lead” that does not speak anything about the number of the noun. But there are a few answer choices that have the singular verb “leads”. These answer choices have been explained as incorrect as “rising inventories” does not agree in number in with the verb “leads”.

FUNCTION 3 – VERB-ING AS A VERB WITH A HELPING VERB

The function of verb-ing words as verbs is a very popular function. However, there are many who make the mistake of identifying JUST the verb-ing word as the verb. This is not correct.

One thing we must be aware of is that verbs MUST have a tense. But the verb-ing words just by themselves do not have any tense. Can you tell what is the tense of “eating”, “drinking”, or “dancing”. Certainly not.

But you will be able to do so the moment I add some helping verb before these words. Check it for yourself – “is eating”, “was drinking”, “have been dancing”. Right?

So NEVER consider just the verb-ing word as a verb in a sentence. It’s time to bring our third example sentence here:

3. I am growing aromatic plants in my garden.
Here, if we just read the word “growing”, we would not be able to tell the tense of this word. It is the helping verb “am” that tells me that the verb “am growing” is in simple present continuous tense. We can never write sentences such as:

1. Joe eating pizza.
2. Julia dancing on the stage.

In these sentences, “eating” and “dancing” CANNOT be termed as verbs because we don’t know the time frame of these continuous actions. But adding a helping verb – is/are/were/was/has been/have been etc. – will not only make the tense of the verb clear but also provide a proper verb to make the structure a proper grammatical sentence.

1. Joe is eating pizza.
2. Julia was dancing on the stage.

Following is the instance where an e-GMAT student rejected a choice because he thought that the verb-ing word was a present continuous tense.

As you can recognize, this question is OG13#47. Although choice A is incorrect, the student rejected that choice because he thought that “taking” is a present continuous tense.
This is incorrect because here “taking” is not preceded by any helping verb. We cannot even determine its tense in absence of the helping verb.

Well, this is just one instance. In our internal forums, we have many more such queries and analysis where students mistook just the verb-ing word to be continuous tense verb. This confusion is quite common and can cost you dearly.

Hence, whenever you see a verb-ing word, make sure that you find a preceding helping verb before declaring it a verb in continuous tense. Do remember that the verb-ing words CANNOT be verbs without the helping verbs preceding them.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

egmat
Can you please let me know how the functions of following same Verb ing words changes due to context & how to detect the same:

what would you say : Growing plants has created food or Growing plants have created food?

( My guess: Growing plants have created food)
and how it is different from :

1. Growing plants is my hobby
2. Growing plants are my hobbies?

Here also, Growing plants is my hobby as you rightly pointed out in the post.

Kindly clear the understanding gap.
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Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2018, 04:02
Hey, Payal thanks for the article.
I have a doubt
how do we identify whether the VerbING is Adjective or Noun(without looking at the verb whether it is singular or plural)?
I am facing difficulty in that can you please brief me a little.
Thanks egmat
Re: Various Functions of Verb-ing Words   [#permalink] 15 Jun 2018, 04:02
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