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# Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers

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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2013, 01:17

just a request to have your detailed analysis for below question.

Since the 1930’s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.
(A) wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly
(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped
(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect
(D) wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner
(E) wings, wings having been shaped smoothly and perfectly so

since-the-1930-s-aircraft-manufacturers-have-tried-to-build-134320.html#p1095187

regards
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2013, 08:31
1
1
blueseas wrote:

just a request to have your detailed analysis for below question.

Since the 1930’s aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.
(A) wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly
(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped
(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect
(D) wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner
(E) wings, wings having been shaped smoothly and perfectly so

since-the-1930-s-aircraft-manufacturers-have-tried-to-build-134320.html#p1095187

regards

Hi blueseas,

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

Since the meaning of this sentence is pretty simple to understand, let’s move to the Error Analysis.

Error Analysis:

The verb-ed modifier “shaped” modifies the immediate preceding noun entity “”frictionless wings”. Well, this sentence does not seem to have any error. So we will hold on to this one till we get a better choice.

PoE

(A) wings, shaped so smoothly and perfectly: On hold.

(B) wings, wings so smooth and so perfectly shaped: Correct. This answer choice is certainly better than Choice A because it uses the noun + noun modifier to explicitly mention that wings were shaped so smoothly and perfectly that the air over “them = wings” would not become turbulent. The reference of pronoun “them” in this answer choice has been clarified further. There is no ambiguity about the reference of this pronoun.

(C) wings that are shaped so smooth and perfect: Incorrect. Usage of “perfect” is not correct.

(D) wings, shaped in such a smooth and perfect manner: Incorrect. Adjectives “smooth” and “perfect” now modify the “manner” in which the “wings” were made and not the “wings”.

(E) wings, wings having been shaped smoothly and perfectly so: Incorrect. Use of “having been…” makes the choice wordy.

P.S: This does not seem to be an official question, is it?

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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18 Feb 2014, 02:56
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2014, 20:28
egmat wrote:
Singular “that” cannot refer to plural “life-forms”.

Hi,

that in "E) Scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that" refers to "emergence of complex life-forms" & not just "life-forms" & that should be correct.
"emergence of complex life-forms" is a noun phrase, so, "that" can refer to it => Evidence suggests a much earlier emergence of life-forms than the emergence (of life-forms) they had previously thought.

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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2014, 03:15
The level 1 for SC in egmat does states that verb-ed modifies the closest noun and there is no exception to it and all examples are given for nouns, however in explanation it states verb-ed modifies noun clause also , this creates confusion, this should be correct or should not be stated as rule with "nouns and without exception"
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2014, 17:15
sonalj17 wrote:
The level 1 for SC in egmat does states that verb-ed modifies the closest noun and there is no exception to it and all examples are given for nouns, however in explanation it states verb-ed modifies noun clause also , this creates confusion, this should be correct or should not be stated as rule with "nouns and without exception"

Hi,
The sentence is grammatically correct but is wordy & awkward & that is as big a problem as a grammatical error itself.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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16 May 2014, 14:22
2
hhakud wrote:
For the Stegosauraus, a dinosaur, the seventeen bony plates embedded in its back were necessary elements for survival, regulating its temperature throughout its bus-sized body and protecting it from much larger carnivores.

Can we change or rewrite the above sentence in the below way? Pls explain and correct me if I am wrong. Also explain what is the difference between these two sentences. And If the answer choices contain both of these options which one we need to choose..?

For the Stegosauraus, a dinosaur, the seventeen bony plates embedded in its back were necessary elements for survival, to regulate its temperature throughout its bus-sized body and to protect it from much larger carnivores

Hi hhakud,

Sorry for getting back to the thread so late.

Well, if you remove the comma before "to regulate", there will absolutely be no problem with the sentence at all.

But yes, there is a difference in the meaning of both the sentence.

Use of "comma + regulating and protecting" presents the HOW aspect of the preceding action. They provide additional information as to how the bony plates were necessary elements for survival.

Use of "to regulate and protect" presents the purpose or the reason why the bony plates were necessary for survival.

Now, if you get both the answer choices in the same question, then take a hint from the original sentence. If the original sentence uses comma + verb-ing then go by the choice with that modifier. If the original sentence has "to verb", then make the choice accordingly.

Original sentence presents ample of basis to understand the intended meaning of the sentence whether it wants to convey how the action is done or it wants to talk about the purpose.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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16 May 2014, 14:46
divineacclivity wrote:
egmat wrote:
Singular “that” cannot refer to plural “life-forms”.

Hi,

that in "E) Scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that" refers to "emergence of complex life-forms" & not just "life-forms" & that should be correct.
"emergence of complex life-forms" is a noun phrase, so, "that" can refer to it => Evidence suggests a much earlier emergence of life-forms than the emergence (of life-forms) they had previously thought.

Hi divineacclivity,

The reason "that" cannot just refer to "emergence of complex lifeforms" because this phrase is preceded by adjective "a much earlier emergence of complex lifeforms". This entire phrase is a noun phrase. We just cannot cut out he adjective before it to suit our preference per the sentence. This is the reason why use of "that" in Choice D and E leads to incorrect comparison.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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16 May 2014, 14:59
sonalj17 wrote:
The level 1 for SC in egmat does states that verb-ed modifies the closest noun and there is no exception to it and all examples are given for nouns, however in explanation it states verb-ed modifies noun clause also , this creates confusion, this should be correct or should not be stated as rule with "nouns and without exception"

Hi Sonal,

I guess, we need a little correction here. There is nothing called "noun clause". Clauses are only of two types - Independent and dependent clauses. What you meant to say here is noun phrases.

When we say that verb-ed modifiers can modify preceding noun entity, that entity can be just a single noun word or it can be a noun phrase. In that case, the modifier modifies the head of the noun phrase. I know my eplanation would be sounding confusing to you right now. Read the following article, and you will know what I am talking about:

noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html?hilit=Far%20away%20nouns

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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11 May 2016, 07:12
egmat wrote:
Thanks for the praise. We are almost at the end of our cycle on modifiers. Below is one such article that you may find useful.

ed-forms-verbs-or-modifiers-134691.html?fl=similar

Awesome article ! However I just got stuck on a question from OG which is related to this topic. Would really appreciate your help.

Sales of wines declined in the late 1980s, but they began to grow again after the 1991 report that linked moderate consumption of alcohol, and particularly of red wine, with a reduced risk of heart disease.

(A)they began to grow again after the 1991 report that linked moderate consumption of alcohol, and particularly of red wine, with a reduced risk of heart disease.
(B) after the 1991 report that linked a reduced risk of heart disease with a moderate alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, they began growing again
(C) in a 1991 report, moderate alcohol consumption, and particularly of red wine, which was linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, caused them to begin to grow again
(D) with a reduced risk of heart disease linked in a 1991 report with moderate alcohol consumption, in particular red wine, they began growing again
(E) a reduced risk of heart disease linked to moderate alcohol consumption in a 1991 report, and in particular red wine, started them growing again

Doubt: One of the reasons for which I rejected choice B is because "growing" was modifying the verb "began"

Can a verb-ed/verb-ing modifier modify a verb ?
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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20 Jun 2016, 21:39
Devlikes wrote:
egmat wrote:
Thanks for the praise. We are almost at the end of our cycle on modifiers. Below is one such article that you may find useful.

ed-forms-verbs-or-modifiers-134691.html?fl=similar

Awesome article ! However I just got stuck on a question from OG which is related to this topic. Would really appreciate your help.

Sales of wines declined in the late 1980s, but they began to grow again after the 1991 report that linked moderate consumption of alcohol, and particularly of red wine, with a reduced risk of heart disease.

(A)they began to grow again after the 1991 report that linked moderate consumption of alcohol, and particularly of red wine, with a reduced risk of heart disease.
(B) after the 1991 report that linked a reduced risk of heart disease with a moderate alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, they began growing again
(C) in a 1991 report, moderate alcohol consumption, and particularly of red wine, which was linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, caused them to begin to grow again
(D) with a reduced risk of heart disease linked in a 1991 report with moderate alcohol consumption, in particular red wine, they began growing again
(E) a reduced risk of heart disease linked to moderate alcohol consumption in a 1991 report, and in particular red wine, started them growing again

Doubt: One of the reasons for which I rejected choice B is because "growing" was modifying the verb "began"

Can a verb-ed/verb-ing modifier modify a verb ?

Hi Devlikes,

Every verb+ing word is not present participle, it can be GERUND too...
so do not eliminate a choice on this..
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2016, 04:21
1
ShekharKanodia wrote:
egmat wrote:
Hi,
I received a PM for this one.

John sat in the minivan carrying seven passengers.
Per the rules of verb-ing modifier, “carrying” is clearly modifying “minivan” there is no comma between the two words. When there is no comma before the verb-ing then it modifies the preceding noun.
So in the above sentence too, “carrying” is referring to “minivans”. It is giving us more information about the minivan that John sat in that minivan that had seven passengers in it.
The sentence that you have provided is also correct. There again, “carrying” is not separated with comma. Hence without any ambiguity or confusion, “carrying” is modifying “minivan”, suggesting that the minivan in which John sat carried load. “carrying” in no way can refer to John if there is no comma between “carrying” and “minibus”.

@maheshrini: For the Stegosaurus, a dinosaur, the seventeen bony plates embedded in its back were necessary elements for survival, regulating its temperature throughout its bus-sized body and protecting it from much larger carnivores.

In this sentence, both the verb-ing modifiers “regulating” and “protecting” are modifying the preceding clause. They are giving information about how “the seventeen bony plates embedded in its back were necessary elements for survival” for the Stegosaurus.
One way to identify what the modifier is modifying is that ask a question. Whatever aspect the modifier is the reply to, that is the aspect it is modifying.
For example, in the above dinosaur sentence, ask how the seventeen bony plates embedded in its back were necessary elements for survival? Both the verb-ing modifiers answer this question. Hence, the modifiers are modifying the preceding clause. They are providing additional information as to how these bony plates were essential for survival for Stegosaurus.
Hope these explanations help.
Thanks.

Thanks for explaining the concept. I have one doubt regarding application of -ing verb. The below question is from the OG:

As an actress and, more importantly, as a teacher of acting, Stella Adler was one of the most influential artists in the American theater, who trained several generations of actors including Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro.

The explanation in the OG says that including is modifying the previous clause 'generations of actors', however as per your rule it modifies actors. Can you please clarify?

Regards
Shekhar

The structure comma+ present participle modifier can refer to either the complete previous clause OR the subject of the previous clause.

Usage 1:
The crime in the region decreased, attracting many real-estate investors. (The present participle modifier refers to the whole clause - it depicts the result of the whole clause)

Usage 2:
Steffi won Wimbledon, defeating Sabatini in straight sets. (The present participle modifier refers to the subject of the previous clause Steffi)

Usage 3:
The present participle modifier may also act as any other modifier, i.e. modifying the noun it touches:
...trained several actors including Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro. (The present participle modifier modifies the noun actors)
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2016, 04:55
Hi sayantanc2k,

As per the OG, in Usage 3 the present participle modifies 'generations of actors' and not 'actors'. The OG says that instead of 'including' it should be 'whose ranks included'.

Regards
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2016, 05:09
ShekharKanodia wrote:
Hi sayantanc2k,

As per the OG, in Usage 3 the present participle modifies 'generations of actors' and not 'actors'. The OG says that instead of 'including' it should be 'whose ranks included'.

Regards
Shekhar

You are right. I went through the explanation: including refers to "generations of actors", when the reference should be to "actors" only.

The usage is not accepted because the noun "actors" is the object of preposition "of", and hence there could be an ambiguity whether the present participle "including" refers to "generations" or "actors". Nonetheless, in absence of such a prepositional phrase, the usage 3 (i.e. a present participle modifier refers to the noun it touches) would be valid. Following is a different example which does not have the ambiguity as in my previous example:

The cat SLEEPING on the rug is named "Sue." (example from Manhattan SC guide)

I have modified my previous post slightly in order to remove this ambiguity.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2018, 06:50
egmat wrote:
Hi,
Following is the excerpt of the question I replied to on ‘beat the gmat’.
Quote:
Would like to understand minutes difference between these two types of modifiers . Please correct me if my understanding is not right -
Clause + Comma + Past Participle
Technically Work as Adverb BUT also modifies the subject of the Clause

Q1 - Is it always necessary that Past Participle + Comma need to act as Adverb, Can’t it simply modify the subject ONLY of the main clause - look at below construction -
“Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer”

Q2 - This is valid construction as per OG, not sure why "surpassed" came after comma . It is modifying Diabetes so it should come in beginning ??
“Surpassed only by disease and cancer, Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death”

Q3 - Can we say that past participle + comma does not need to act as Adverb or modify whole previous clause ALWAYS and it can modify ONLY subject as well ? Is it true for present participle ?

Q4 - What is the difference between present & past participle when these work as modifiers ? Please explain the difference between two sentences -
“Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer”
“Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassing only by heart disease and cancer”

This is my response to the question. I hope you will find the content useful.

We at e-gmat call the present participle the “verb-ing modifiers” and the past participle the “verb-ed modifiers”. So here are the rules for these two types of modifiers:

1: COMMA + verb-ing modifier---> modifies the preceding clause.
Example: The engineer identified the problem, using the latest technology. (as you cited)

2: Verb-ing modifier ONLY ------> modifies the preceding NOUN or NOUN PHRASE only.
Example: John sat in the minivan carrying seven passengers. (“carrying seven passengers” modifies “minivans” and means that the minivan in which John sat had seven passengers)

2 also applies to verb-ed modifiers.

Discouraged by the long hours and low pay, my sister finally quit her job. Correct.

My sister, discouraged by the long hours and low pay, finally quit her job. Correct.

My sister finally quit her job, discouraged by the long hours and low pay. Incorrect as per GMAT rules (Refer to Regular English Vs GMAT section below). Here the verb-ed modifier is modifying the preceding noun “her job” which does not make sense.

RULES PART I: So really speaking these are the rules governing verb-ing & verb-ed modifiers:
Verb-ing modifiers
1: When separated by comma modifies the preceding clause
2: When not separated by comma modifiers the preceding noun or noun phrase

Verb-ed Modifiers
1: Always modify preceding noun or noun phrase.

We have covered this concept in detail in our concept titled "Modifiers - Verb-ing Modifiers". This concept is available in the free preview of the e-GMAT SC course. I suggest you review this concept in the free trial. You will be able to apply the concepts when you take the post assessment quiz in this file. After that definitely review a few OG sentence constructions to understand and apply these concepts on the Official Questions.

REGULAR ENGLISH Vs. GMAT: The point to be noted here is that in regular English, comma + verb-ed modifiers modify the preceding clause. They behave in similar manner as do comma + verb-ing modifiers. However, GMAT goes against this practice as is evident from OG12#56.
Since Official Guides set up the rules here, we incorporate these rules in our course curriculum and questions. If down the line, OG modifies this question and changes the explanation, reflecting that comma + verb-ed modifiers modify preceding clause, then we will change our curriculum and questions based on this rule accordingly.
Here are a few examples from OG12 for verb-ed modifiers:
Verb-ed modifier modifying preceding noun = OG12#28, OG12#56.

In the light of this understanding, let us now analyze OG12#5

Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

In this sentence, it will not make sense for verb-ed modifier to modify the preceding noun “death”. Death cannot be surpassed by anything. Hence, the verb-ed modifier is modifying noun phrase “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. Now the reference makes sense and the modifier establishes the fact this particular cause of death is “surpassed only by heart disease and cancer”.
Notice that “diabetes” is the “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. The verb “ranks” stands as “is” meaning “diabetes” = “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. Hence it is logical for the verb-ed modifier to modify “diabetes” also because it is the “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. Structurally, the verb-ed modifier is modifying the preceding noun phrase “the nation’s third leading cause of death”.

RULES PART II: So far we discussed the role of the verb-ed and the verb-ing modifiers placed after the clause preceded or not by a comma. Now answer to your second question is that verb-ed modifier is a noun modifier. When placed in the beginning of the sentence followed by a comma, it always modifies the subject of the clause. Again let me cite your example only:
Discouraged by the long hours and low pay, my sister finally quit her job. (If you ask the modifier, who was discouraged, the answer will be “my sister”).
In case of the verb-ing modifiers, when places before the clause separated by a comma they can modify either the subject or the entire clause, depending upon the context of the sentence.

Example: Singing a beautiful song, Mary mesmerized everyone present in the room. (So how did Mary mesmerize everyone? By singing a beautiful song. Here the verb-ing modifier is modifying the entire clause.)
Wearing a blue short, Joe killed the snake. (Here the verb-ing modifier is just giving additional information about how Joe was dressed. His wearing a blue shirt has nothing to do with killing the snake.)

THE DIFFERENCE: Now let us analyze the difference between these two sentences:
Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassing only by heart disease and cancer.
The first sentence is grammatically as well as logically correct. But the second is not grammatically correct. The first sentence can be rewritten as: Diabetes is the nation’s third leading cause of the death that is surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.
Notice that the “that” clause is written in passive voice because diabetes is not the doer of the action “surpass”. It is “heart disease and cancer” that are the doer of this action.
In the second sentence, “surpassing” modifies the preceding clause and hence associates with the subject diabetes. So if we say that Diabetes is X, surpassing only by Y and Z, it will be wrong because it is not the correct grammatical structure. Use of “by” is ungrammatical in this construction. If we remove “by” from here, then the intended meaning of the sentence will change. The sentence will then mean that Diabetes surpasses “heart diseases and cancer” but it is actually the other way round and that is why diabetes is “the nation’s third leading cause of death”.

1. When verb-ing modifier is separated from the clause using a comma, then this modifier modifies the preceding clause.
2. When verb-ing modifier is not separated from the clause using a comma, then it modifies the preceding noun.
3. When verb-ing modifier is placed in the beginning of the sentence followed by a comma, then it may modify either the subject of the clause or the entire clause, depending upon the context of the sentence.
4. Verb-ed modifier modifies the preceding noun or the noun phrase.
5. When verb-ed modifier is placed in the beginning of the clause followed by a comma, then it modifies the subject of the clause.

Hope this helps.

I have a query regarding Verb-ing modifier
As You detailed verb-ing modifier without a comma modifies preceding noun and with a comma modifies the preceding clause

Could you help me to understand the following

Ram, wearing a black shirt, participated in the race.

here (wearing a black shirt ) is the verb-ing modifier modifies Ram
What is the use of comma over here
Can't we omit the commas
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Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2019, 18:33
egmat wrote:
Hi,
Following is the excerpt of the question I replied to on ‘beat the gmat’.
Quote:
Would like to understand minutes difference between these two types of modifiers . Please correct me if my understanding is not right -
Clause + Comma + Past Participle
Technically Work as Adverb BUT also modifies the subject of the Clause

Q1 - Is it always necessary that Past Participle + Comma need to act as Adverb, Can’t it simply modify the subject ONLY of the main clause - look at below construction -
“Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer”

Q2 - This is valid construction as per OG, not sure why "surpassed" came after comma . It is modifying Diabetes so it should come in beginning ??
“Surpassed only by disease and cancer, Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death”

Q3 - Can we say that past participle + comma does not need to act as Adverb or modify whole previous clause ALWAYS and it can modify ONLY subject as well ? Is it true for present participle ?

Q4 - What is the difference between present & past participle when these work as modifiers ? Please explain the difference between two sentences -
“Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer”
“Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassing only by heart disease and cancer”

This is my response to the question. I hope you will find the content useful.

We at e-gmat call the present participle the “verb-ing modifiers” and the past participle the “verb-ed modifiers”. So here are the rules for these two types of modifiers:

1: COMMA + verb-ing modifier---> modifies the preceding clause.
Example: The engineer identified the problem, using the latest technology. (as you cited)

2: Verb-ing modifier ONLY ------> modifies the preceding NOUN or NOUN PHRASE only.
Example: John sat in the minivan carrying seven passengers. (“carrying seven passengers” modifies “minivans” and means that the minivan in which John sat had seven passengers)

2 also applies to verb-ed modifiers.

Discouraged by the long hours and low pay, my sister finally quit her job. Correct.

My sister, discouraged by the long hours and low pay, finally quit her job. Correct.

My sister finally quit her job, discouraged by the long hours and low pay. Incorrect as per GMAT rules (Refer to Regular English Vs GMAT section below). Here the verb-ed modifier is modifying the preceding noun “her job” which does not make sense.

RULES PART I: So really speaking these are the rules governing verb-ing & verb-ed modifiers:
Verb-ing modifiers
1: When separated by comma modifies the preceding clause
2: When not separated by comma modifiers the preceding noun or noun phrase

Verb-ed Modifiers
1: Always modify preceding noun or noun phrase.

We have covered this concept in detail in our concept titled "Modifiers - Verb-ing Modifiers". This concept is available in the free preview of the e-GMAT SC course. I suggest you review this concept in the free trial. You will be able to apply the concepts when you take the post assessment quiz in this file. After that definitely review a few OG sentence constructions to understand and apply these concepts on the Official Questions.

REGULAR ENGLISH Vs. GMAT: The point to be noted here is that in regular English, comma + verb-ed modifiers modify the preceding clause. They behave in similar manner as do comma + verb-ing modifiers. However, GMAT goes against this practice as is evident from OG12#56.
Since Official Guides set up the rules here, we incorporate these rules in our course curriculum and questions. If down the line, OG modifies this question and changes the explanation, reflecting that comma + verb-ed modifiers modify preceding clause, then we will change our curriculum and questions based on this rule accordingly.
Here are a few examples from OG12 for verb-ed modifiers:
Verb-ed modifier modifying preceding noun = OG12#28, OG12#56.

In the light of this understanding, let us now analyze OG12#5

Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

In this sentence, it will not make sense for verb-ed modifier to modify the preceding noun “death”. Death cannot be surpassed by anything. Hence, the verb-ed modifier is modifying noun phrase “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. Now the reference makes sense and the modifier establishes the fact this particular cause of death is “surpassed only by heart disease and cancer”.
Notice that “diabetes” is the “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. The verb “ranks” stands as “is” meaning “diabetes” = “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. Hence it is logical for the verb-ed modifier to modify “diabetes” also because it is the “the nation’s third leading cause of death”. Structurally, the verb-ed modifier is modifying the preceding noun phrase “the nation’s third leading cause of death”.

RULES PART II: So far we discussed the role of the verb-ed and the verb-ing modifiers placed after the clause preceded or not by a comma. Now answer to your second question is that verb-ed modifier is a noun modifier. When placed in the beginning of the sentence followed by a comma, it always modifies the subject of the clause. Again let me cite your example only:
Discouraged by the long hours and low pay, my sister finally quit her job. (If you ask the modifier, who was discouraged, the answer will be “my sister”).
In case of the verb-ing modifiers, when places before the clause separated by a comma they can modify either the subject or the entire clause, depending upon the context of the sentence.

Example: Singing a beautiful song, Mary mesmerized everyone present in the room. (So how did Mary mesmerize everyone? By singing a beautiful song. Here the verb-ing modifier is modifying the entire clause.)
Wearing a blue short, Joe killed the snake. (Here the verb-ing modifier is just giving additional information about how Joe was dressed. His wearing a blue shirt has nothing to do with killing the snake.)

THE DIFFERENCE: Now let us analyze the difference between these two sentences:
Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassing only by heart disease and cancer.
The first sentence is grammatically as well as logically correct. But the second is not grammatically correct. The first sentence can be rewritten as: Diabetes is the nation’s third leading cause of the death that is surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.
Notice that the “that” clause is written in passive voice because diabetes is not the doer of the action “surpass”. It is “heart disease and cancer” that are the doer of this action.
In the second sentence, “surpassing” modifies the preceding clause and hence associates with the subject diabetes. So if we say that Diabetes is X, surpassing only by Y and Z, it will be wrong because it is not the correct grammatical structure. Use of “by” is ungrammatical in this construction. If we remove “by” from here, then the intended meaning of the sentence will change. The sentence will then mean that Diabetes surpasses “heart diseases and cancer” but it is actually the other way round and that is why diabetes is “the nation’s third leading cause of death”.

1. When verb-ing modifier is separated from the clause using a comma, then this modifier modifies the preceding clause.
2. When verb-ing modifier is not separated from the clause using a comma, then it modifies the preceding noun.
3. When verb-ing modifier is placed in the beginning of the sentence followed by a comma, then it may modify either the subject of the clause or the entire clause, depending upon the context of the sentence.
4. Verb-ed modifier modifies the preceding noun or the noun phrase.
5. When verb-ed modifier is placed in the beginning of the clause followed by a comma, then it modifies the subject of the clause.

Hope this helps.

So as per point 4 and point 3, Verb-ed modifier cannot modify action. But in the trial version of e-GMAT there is a video that mentions that verb+ed modifier can also modify action as long as subject is the doer of the action.
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Re: Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2019, 23:28
egmat thanks for the explanation.
Can u explain what is wrong with:-

Diabetes ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of the death, surpassing only by heart disease and cancer.

Here surpassing is modifying the previous sentence which is also modifying the preceding clause of nation's third leading cause of death

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10 Oct 2019, 20:20

Thank you for posting this article. I noticed an interesting problem below from the OG: Here the correct answer is D because according to the OG explanation, "including..." modifies the noun "birds". It seems like an exception has been made here for the verb-ing clause, because it is modifying the noun preceding it despite the comma, instead of the preceding clause. Would you mind explaining? Is "including a special case"? And if yes, are there others that are similar?

Unable to build nests or care for their young, a female cowbird lays up to 40 eggs a year in the nests of other birds, including warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and thrushes.

(A) a female cowbird lays up to 40 eggs a year in the nests of other birds, including
(B) a female cowbird will use the nests of other birds to lay up to 40 eggs a year, including those of
(C) female cowbirds use the nests of other birds to lay up to 40 eggs a year, including those of
(D) female cowbirds lay up to 40 eggs a year in the nests of other birds, including
(E) up to 40 eggs a year are laid by female cowbirds in the nests of other birds, including

Verb-ed modifiers Vs. Verb-ing modifiers   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2019, 20:20

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