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# VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing

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16 Jul 2013, 07:32
sshivanis04 wrote:
It seems there is an exception to both the verb-ing rules :
1. Placement after a clause not preceded by a comma
The rule states verb-ing modifier should modify the preceding nound or noun phrase but below example shows the exception to this rule :
Exception : There are numerous products that are used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a newly released item called the Vino-Lok that combines the elegance of a cork with the practicality of a screwcap.

1. Placement after a clause preceded by a comma
- Either presents an additional information about the preceding clause or presents the result of preceding clause
Exception : 3. Bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, whose repertory, views on musical collaboration, and vocal style influenced generations of bluegrass artists, also inspired many musicians, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from his own. (GMAT Prep & Verbal 2nd Edition #107 – Choice B)

Need help to understand how do we differentiate b/w a right & a wrong choice for verb-ing modifier with all the exceptions stated above for it.

Hi there,

Just add this exception to the rules – “including” does not really follow the rules of verb-ing modifiers. Whether it is separated by comma or not, it modifies the preceding noun (or noun + modifiers) only. Think of including to play a role of "for example" (Again not in literal translation but only in a role).

So basically, the thing to keep in mind is that "including" is a versatile NOUN modifier. It always modifies a NOUN. But it is usually separated by a comma. And it may modify a noun that is separated by modifiers as well. Here are a few official sentences:
Example 1: (GMAT Prep)
A study by the Ocean Wildlife Campaign urged states to undertake a number of remedies to reverse a decline in the shark population, which includes the
establishment of size limits for shark catches, closing state waters for shark fishing during pupping season, and requiring commercial fishers to have federal shark permits.

D. including establishing size limits for shark catches, closing

Comma + Including modifies "REMEDIES". But look at the modifiers that lie between this modifier and the modified noun.

Example 2: (GMAT Prep)
The new image of Stone Age people as systematic hunters of large animals, rather than merely scavenging for meat, have emerged from the examination of tools found in Germany including , three wooden spears that archaeologists believe to be about 400,000 years old.

E)mere scavengers of meat, has emerged from the examination of tools found in Germany, including

Comma + Including modifies "TOOLS". But look at the modifier that lie between this modifier and the modified noun.

Example 3: (GMAT Prep & Verbal 2nd Edition #107)
Bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, whose repertory, views on musical collaboration, and vocal style were influential on generations of bluegrass artists, was also an inspiration to many musicians, that included Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from his own.
Correct has , including where including modifies preceding noun

B) influenced generations of bluegrass artists, also inspired many musicians, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from
Comma + Including modifies "musicians" - in this case the closest noun.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2013, 07:41
1
veenu08 wrote:

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.

I have query regarding pronouns. Here referent of him and his is biologist but cant it be ant specialist. Can you please guide me regarding pronoun ambiguity.

Regards,
Veenu

Hi Veenu,

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2013, 03:03
egmat wrote:

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.
A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

Remember that the comma that precedes “which” does not separate “which” but is part of the comma pair that separates the modifier "most of them…" from the rest of the sentence.
We will now find the correct choice from the remaining 4 choices.

First of all thanks a ton for providing wonderful articles. You have demystified the difficult concepts for us.

I have a doubt in the above question mentioned in your article. Although, i was able to find the correct answer but i could not understand the explanation of "which". While solving the Q, I misinterpreted that "which" is modifying "Jupiter". This you said was incorrect since " most of ......... Jupiter " is a non-essential clause.

But what is wrong if " which" indicates the planets. I believe "circling" modifies the clause having subject "astronomers" . Astronomers are not circling other stars.

Thanks & Regards

Arunima
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2013, 06:37
1

Hi Arunima,

Thanks for all your appreciation. I really appreciate it.

Now let’s come back to your doubt.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

The modification of “which” is not the problem in this sentence. “which” in the original sentence modifies “more than 80 massive planets”. This is so because the information that follows the main clause – “most of them as large or larger than Jupiter” – is placed between two commas. This makes this information non-essential for the overall logical meaning of the sentence.

Notice that when we remove this information form the sentence, we also get rid of both the commas, in the beginning and at the end of the non-essential phrase.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

In this case, “which” correctly refers to immediate preceding noun as mentioned above. This sentence is incorrect because the non-essential information is a mix of two idioms which is grammatically incorrect. We cannot write a combination of two idioms.

The correct answer choice corrects that error. Once again notice that both the commas belong to the information that comes between “more than 80 massive planets” and “circling”. The comma before the non-essential phrase is not the part of the main clause that will form “comma + circling”. This is will be a wrong modifier as it will modify the preceding clause. But the comma belong to the phrase that comes in between the main clause and “circling”. This is the reason why the correct answer choice is correct.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2013, 12:10
Hi there,

1. Yes, the meaning is illogical in A and B since ‘having’ indicates that the structure has hundreds of miniature eyes, whereas it is the insect eye that has hundreds of miniature eyes.

2. Yes, ‘the compound insect eye’ is the noun to which both ‘it’ and ‘its’ refer. In both cases, the logical antecedent of the pronoun is the eye, not the structure.
Hope this helps!

Regards,
Meghna
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 09:24
egmat wrote:
pavanpuneet wrote:
In the Question above, though I got the right answer, I would like to understand what is "including" modifying here? In other words, is it used as a modifier? Yes/No.

Hi @pavanpuneet,

There are numerous products in order that they might use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a newly released item called the Vino-Lok that combines the elegance of a cork with the practicality of a screwcap.

A. in order that they might use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

B. that are used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

C. so as they might use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

D. so that there could be used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

E. such that they could use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

Now let’s look at the sentence with the correct answer choice B:

There are numerous products that are used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a newly released item called the Vino-Lok that combines the elegance of a cork with the practicality of a screwcap.

The first thing to notice is that “including” does not follow the rules of the verb-ing modifiers. “Including” always refers to a noun entity and needless to say a logical noun entity. Generally, “including” is placed next to the noun entity it refers to. But that is not the case always.

This sentence is an example of that scenario. In this sentence, “including” is correctly modifying “numerous products”. It is jumping over the “that clause modifier” that modifies the same entity. Now “that clauses” are always placed next to the entity that they modify. So here, it is not possible to change the placement of “that clause”. Since “including” is pretty flexible, it has been separated from “numerous products” by adding a modifier in between. This usage is absolutely correct.

Take a look at the following correct official sentences:

1. A study by the Ocean Wildlife Campaign urged states to undertake a number of remedies to reverse a decline in the shark population, including establishing size limits for shark catches, closing state waters for shark fishing during pupping season, and requiring commercial fishers to have federal shark permits. (GMAT Prep - Choice D).

“including” is jumping over the modifier “to reverse… population” to modify “remedies”.

2. The new image of Stone Age people as systematic hunters of large animals, rather than mere scavengers of meat, has emerged from the examination of tools found in Germany, including three wooden spears that archaeologists believe to be about 400,000 years old. (GMAT Prep - Choice E)

“including” here is skipping the verb-ed modifier “found in Germany” to modify “tools” because that modifier cannot be placed elsewhere.

3. Bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, whose repertory, views on musical collaboration, and vocal style influenced generations of bluegrass artists, also inspired many musicians, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from his own. (GMAT Prep & Verbal 2nd Edition #107 – Choice B)

Here “including” is preceded by a comma. Still it does not modify the preceding clause but the preceding noun. SO here it is placed next to the entity it modifies.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

So does it mean that whenever ing-modifier is seen in a question, there could be a scenario that it is not following rules of ing-modifier , but can still be OK, because of context of sentence!!... If Yes then this can make people crazy
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 09:35
ygdrasil24 wrote:
egmat wrote:
pavanpuneet wrote:
In the Question above, though I got the right answer, I would like to understand what is "including" modifying here? In other words, is it used as a modifier? Yes/No.

Hi @pavanpuneet,

There are numerous products in order that they might use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a newly released item called the Vino-Lok that combines the elegance of a cork with the practicality of a screwcap.

A. in order that they might use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

B. that are used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

C. so as they might use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

D. so that there could be used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

E. such that they could use to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a

Now let’s look at the sentence with the correct answer choice B:

There are numerous products that are used to seal a bottle of wine including a cork, a screwcap, and a newly released item called the Vino-Lok that combines the elegance of a cork with the practicality of a screwcap.

The first thing to notice is that “including” does not follow the rules of the verb-ing modifiers. “Including” always refers to a noun entity and needless to say a logical noun entity. Generally, “including” is placed next to the noun entity it refers to. But that is not the case always.

This sentence is an example of that scenario. In this sentence, “including” is correctly modifying “numerous products”. It is jumping over the “that clause modifier” that modifies the same entity. Now “that clauses” are always placed next to the entity that they modify. So here, it is not possible to change the placement of “that clause”. Since “including” is pretty flexible, it has been separated from “numerous products” by adding a modifier in between. This usage is absolutely correct.

Take a look at the following correct official sentences:

1. A study by the Ocean Wildlife Campaign urged states to undertake a number of remedies to reverse a decline in the shark population, including establishing size limits for shark catches, closing state waters for shark fishing during pupping season, and requiring commercial fishers to have federal shark permits. (GMAT Prep - Choice D).

“including” is jumping over the modifier “to reverse… population” to modify “remedies”.

2. The new image of Stone Age people as systematic hunters of large animals, rather than mere scavengers of meat, has emerged from the examination of tools found in Germany, including three wooden spears that archaeologists believe to be about 400,000 years old. (GMAT Prep - Choice E)

“including” here is skipping the verb-ed modifier “found in Germany” to modify “tools” because that modifier cannot be placed elsewhere.

3. Bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, whose repertory, views on musical collaboration, and vocal style influenced generations of bluegrass artists, also inspired many musicians, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from his own. (GMAT Prep & Verbal 2nd Edition #107 – Choice B)

Here “including” is preceded by a comma. Still it does not modify the preceding clause but the preceding noun. SO here it is placed next to the entity it modifies.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

So does it mean that whenever ing-modifier is seen in a question, there could be a scenario that it is not following rules of ing-modifier , but can still be OK, because of context of sentence!!... If Yes then this can make people crazy

Hi there,

As I said in my earlier post, "including" is an exception to the "comma + verb-ing modifiers". "Including" ALWAYS is a Noun Modifier. It does not matter if It is preceded by a comma and placed after a clause or not. "Including" is the exception to the rule of using "comma = verb-ing modifier".

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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10 Feb 2017, 08:45
egmat wrote:

Hi Arunima,

Thanks for all your appreciation. I really appreciate it.

Now let’s come back to your doubt.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

The modification of “which” is not the problem in this sentence. “which” in the original sentence modifies “more than 80 massive planets”. This is so because the information that follows the main clause – “most of them as large or larger than Jupiter” – is placed between two commas. This makes this information non-essential for the overall logical meaning of the sentence.

Notice that when we remove this information form the sentence, we also get rid of both the commas, in the beginning and at the end of the non-essential phrase.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

In this case, “which” correctly refers to immediate preceding noun as mentioned above. This sentence is incorrect because the non-essential information is a mix of two idioms which is grammatically incorrect. We cannot write a combination of two idioms.

The correct answer choice corrects that error. Once again notice that both the commas belong to the information that comes between “more than 80 massive planets” and “circling”. The comma before the non-essential phrase is not the part of the main clause that will form “comma + circling”. This is will be a wrong modifier as it will modify the preceding clause. But the comma belong to the phrase that comes in between the main clause and “circling”. This is the reason why the correct answer choice is correct.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

egmat

This nonessential part concept is so important. Thank you for this explanation. I have somehow missed this very essential point.
I read in VLP about Noun Modifiers modifying slightly faraway noun, but this above solution takes that concept to another level.

Could you please clarify my following understanding:

1. For Noun Modifiers in the form of Which, Who, That, etc, it will modify the Head Noun. If say the prepositional phrase cannot be placed to any other place in the sentence, then 'That', which is say placed after the prepositional phrase, yet That will modify the Head Noun, because the prepositional phrase cannot be placed any other place.

2. As told by you in this above thread, I will proceed to ignore both the commas, if the sentence warrants. So, in above case, 'Which...' would have been correct had the earlier 'as large as' been correct? So there, similar to Noun Modifier Rule, Which will modify Planets.
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2017, 10:17
Hi Payal
I have a query in this.

<<Furthermore, notice the use of modifier - “circling…” . This modifier modifies the noun entity that precedes it – “more than 80 massive planets”. As we discussed in the sentence structure discussion for choice A, this modifier does not modify the immediately preceding noun "Jupiter". This is a verb-ing modifier that is not separated from the preceding clause by a comma and hence modifies the preceding noun entity. >>

I do not understand this. Answer choice C is "most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling". Isn't this verbing modifier "circling" seperated by a comma? And if verb-ing modifier is with comma- after clause, it modifies the clause--> so it modifies most of them ie the stars?
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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31 May 2017, 13:31
GmatBawse wrote:
Hi Payal
I have a query in this.

<<Furthermore, notice the use of modifier - “circling…” . This modifier modifies the noun entity that precedes it – “more than 80 massive planets”. As we discussed in the sentence structure discussion for choice A, this modifier does not modify the immediately preceding noun "Jupiter". This is a verb-ing modifier that is not separated from the preceding clause by a comma and hence modifies the preceding noun entity. >>

I do not understand this. Answer choice C is "most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling". Isn't this verbing modifier "circling" seperated by a comma? And if verb-ing modifier is with comma- after clause, it modifies the clause--> so it modifies most of them ie the stars?

Hello GmatBawse,

Thank you for the query.

Let's take a look at the sentence with the correct answer choice C:

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling other stars.

Take a look at the modifier most of them at least as large as Jupiter. This noun modifier modifies the preceding noun entity more than 80 massive planets. If you pay close attention to the sentence, you will realize that this modifier is placed between two commas. If we need to remove this modifier from the sentence then we will have to remove the commas that appear before and after the said modifier.

So the comma before circling does NOT belong to circling. It belongs to the modifier most of them at least as large as Jupiter. Hence, the verb-ing modifier circling is a noun modifier and correctly modifies a slightly far away noun more than 80 massive planets.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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31 May 2017, 13:36
ravi19012015 wrote:

This nonessential part concept is so important. Thank you for this explanation. I have somehow missed this very essential point.
I read in VLP about Noun Modifiers modifying slightly faraway noun, but this above solution takes that concept to another level.

Could you please clarify my following understanding:

1. For Noun Modifiers in the form of Which, Who, That, etc, it will modify the Head Noun. If say the prepositional phrase cannot be placed to any other place in the sentence, then 'That', which is say placed after the prepositional phrase, yet That will modify the Head Noun, because the prepositional phrase cannot be placed any other place.

2. As told by you in this above thread, I will proceed to ignore both the commas, if the sentence warrants. So, in above case, 'Which...' would have been correct had the earlier 'as large as' been correct? So there, similar to Noun Modifier Rule, Which will modify Planets.

Hello ravi19012015,

1. Yes, your understanding is correct.

2. Yes for sure. The original sentence is incorrect not because which refers to the preceding noun Jupiter. The original sentence is incorrect because if the incorrect idiom used in the modifier most of them as large or larger than Jupiter.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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15 Jun 2018, 03:42
Hey egmat thanks for the article
Is there any article by egmat on "modifier encapsulated in a comma pair"?
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01 Aug 2018, 04:28
In the mid-1970’s, birds overcome by pollution routinely fell from the sky above Los Angeles freeways, prompting officials in California to devise a plan to reduce automobile emissions.

In the above sentence, how is the verb+ing modifier making sense with the subject of the clause?
The subject (doer) of the verb "fell" is birds. Wheres as for the action of "prompting", the doer is not the 'birds' but the 'falling of birds'.

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VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 04:33
Hi Payal ,

I have 2-3 doubts.

Doubt 1:

If the choice e would have been Most of them as large as or larger than Jupiter,circling....--Correct right? because the relative pronoun according to sentence structure would refer to 80 massive planets

Doubt 2: you mention that mostly is an adverb modifying adjective "atleast as large as". i couldn't catch it any ointers here?

Doubt 3: main doubt:

Choice C :most of them at least as large e as Jupiter, circling: Correct. This choice corrects the error of choice A by using the correct idiom “at least as large as Jupiter” to convey the intended meaning.

Concern: this is an example where I see modifier is preceded by a , as mention int he question(not sure if this is a typo) so I follow Rule Set 1 should-->It will modify the preceding clause and will be inline with the subject of the main clause, the clause has subject -"astronomers" and "have detected" as verb, now if" circling" doen't align with astronomer so i din select it. I selected C because of this. However I couldn't figure out the error mentioned in Doubt 1( din see the mostly error though)

Doubt 4
If at all , is not there
Choice as most of them at least as large e as Jupiter circling:
Here according to Rule 2 if no verbing is preceded by o , it should modify the noun preceding it which is 80 massive planets and not --Jupiter coz the information---Juitper is a modifier providing more info..

From Doubt 3 and 4 i did this in nutshell( i kept idiom issue aside for a while)

if , present most of them at least as large e as Jupiter, circling circling would be wrong as per my concern in Doubt 3
if no , present most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling circling would be right (referring to preceding noun entity-80 massive planets.

Please help me understand if my understanding of the concept is clear or what am i missing here??

Best,
Pallavi

egmat wrote:
VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2

In our first article on verb-ing modifiers, we discussed function of this modifier when used with a comma. In this article we will explain the function of the verb-ing modifier when the modifier is placed after the clause and is NOT preceded by a comma. To refresh your memory, in a sentence there are three general places where this modifier appears. In each placement, the modifier plays a specific role. These places are:

1. Placed after a clause PRECEDED by a comma (explained in the first article)
2. Placed after a clause NOT PRECEDED by a comma (explained in this article)
3. In the beginning of a clause followed by a comma (Please view the Verb-ing concept in the e-GMAT free trial)

RULE SET #2

The placement of the verb-ing modifier after a clause without a comma brings us to the second rule set for this modifier.
Let’s understand the application of this rule set through simple examples first.

SIMPLE EXAMPLE

Mary made a beautiful bouquet releasing divine aroma.

In this sentence “releasing…” is a verb-ing modifier that is not preceded by a comma. In this construction, “releasing…” modifies the preceding noun “bouquet”. The sentence means that Mary made a beautiful bouquet and that bouquet releases a divine aroma. So the modifier describes the noun "bouquet".

Understanding Intended meaning is the key: As you would have noticed, the key to deciding whether to use a verb-ing modifier, and if to use one, whether to use one with a comma depends on the intended meaning of the sentence. If the logical intended meaning is such that the verb-ing modifier should modify the preceding noun or noun phrase, then we should use the verb-ing modifier without a comma. On the other hand, use the verb-ing modifier with the comma if the author’s intention is to express additional information about the preceding clause or the result of the preceding clause. Either way, to make this distinction it’s important to understand the logical intended meaning. View the free concept on e-GMAT if you need further clarification (and audio visual representation).

OFFICIAL EXAMPLE

Let’s now take an official example and apply the tools that we have learned so far. Note that in this example we will only analyze the sentence with regards to the verb-ing modifier. The sentence construction for choices A and B is same as it pertains to the usage of verb-ing modifier.

OG 12#133 – Choice B

Last week local shrimpers held a news conference to take some credit for the resurgence of the rare Kemp's ridley turtle, saying that their compliance with laws requiring turtle-excluder devices on shrimp nets is protecting adult sea turtles.

To decide whether the usage of verb-ing modifier make sense, let’s understand the author’s Intended Meaning.

Intended meaning:
To understand the intended meaning, we will split the sentence into clauses to understand its structure. Take the Sentence Structure concepts in the free trial if you have trouble in splitting the sentence into clauses and phrases. Let’s continue.

• Last week local shrimpers held a news conference to take some credit for the resurgence of the rare Kemp's ridley turtle, saying
• that their compliance with laws requiring turtle-excluder devices on shrimp nets is protecting adult sea turtles.

This sentence says that last week local shrimpers called for a news conference. They did so to take come credit for the resurgence of the rare Kemp’s ridley turtle. They informed in the conference that they comply with laws that require turtle-excluder devices on shrimp nets. This action is protecting adult sea turtles.

The verb-ing modifier “requiring” is not preceded by a comma and hence correctly modifies the preceding noun “laws”. The meaning is clear - these laws require the shrimpers to use turtle-excluder devices on shrimp nets. Therefore, the sentence is correct as it is.

AN INSTANCE IN WHICH VERB-ING IS NOT CORRECT

We will now take an example in which Verb-ing is not correct. This example is from the exercise of the previous article.

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

Let’s use the tools to determine whether verb-ing modifier makes sense.

STEP 1: (Intended) MEANING ANALYSIS

The sentence says that in three months Machado gathered enough information about a huge number of comparatively unstudied order of arachnids. He gathered all information with two purposes in mind:

a. he wanted to persuade an ant specialist at the university to advise him
b. he wanted to publish his first scientific paper

STEP 2: ERROR ANALYSIS

• 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.

This sentence has just one subject-verb pair, meaning it has only one clause. The SV pair is accounted for. The purposes of gathering all the information have been correctly written in “to verb” form. These two purposes are also correctly joined with “and”. Hence, there is no error in this sentence. The sentence is correct as is.

STEP 3: POE

Let us now do the POE to see what makes the other two choices incorrect.

A. arachnids to persuade an ant specialist at the university to advise him and to publish: Correct as we discussed during error analysis.

B. arachnids, persuading an ant specialist at the university to advise him and publishing: Incorrect. Here both the verb-ing modifiers are preceded by comma, implying that they modify the entire preceding clause. Hence, now the sentence means that Machado gathered all the information and this action resulted into two things:
a. he persuaded the ant specialist, and
b. he published his first scientific papers.
This is certainly not the intended meaning of the original sentence. The original sentence talks about purpose. Per this choice, Machado’s gathering information actually led to the persuasion of the ant specialist and the publication of the first scientific paper. Hence, this choice is grammatically correct but certainly alters the intended meaning and is thus incorrect.

C. arachnids persuading an ant specialist at the university to advise him and publishing: Incorrect. In this choice, the verb-ing modifiers appear without comma. Here, both “persuading” and “publishing” modify the preceding noun “arachnids”. Now, per this choice, the sentence means that Machado collected information on certain arachnids and these arachnids did the jobs of persuading the ant specialist and publishing first scientific paper. This is absolutely illogical. This is a case where verb-ing modifier without a comma does not make sense.

APPLYING THE RULE SET TO GMATPREP QUESTION

Ok, so now that we understand how to use the new tools that we have learnt, lets add them to our arsenal and use the e-GMAT 3 step process to solve a GMAT PREP question.

GMAT Prep Question:

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.
A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

Let us now apply the e-gmat three-step process to solve this one. We will begin with the first step that is:

MEANING ANALYSIS:

The sentence says that in the past few years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets. These massive planets are either as large as Jupiter or larger than Jupiter. These massive planets also circle other stars.

ERROR ANALYSIS:

• In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter,
which circle other stars.

This sentence uses a mix of two idioms – “as X as” and “X larger than” – in the form of “as large or larger than”. This is incorrect. We must use the idiom correctly in its entirety to present the correct comparison.
Notice the modifier – “which circle…”. This relative pronoun modifier modifies the noun “80 massive planets”. Some of you may wonder that “which circle…” modifies the closest noun “Jupiter”. This is not correct. And this is where logical meaning and understanding the sentence structure comes to our aid.

Notice that “most of them as large or larger than Jupiter” is a modifier that provides additional information about the 80 massive planets. This modifier is encapsulated in a comma pair. So even if we remove this modifier from the sentence, the meaning will not be altered. So for the sake of our discussion, let’s remove this modifier:
• In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter,which circle other stars.

Now as you can see, “which circle…” modifies the noun phrase “80 massive planets”. Remember that the comma that precedes “which” does not separate “which” but is part of the comma pair that separates the modifier "most of them…" from the rest of the sentence.
We will now find the correct choice from the remaining 4 choices.

POE:

A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle: Incorrect for reasons discussed above.

B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling: Incorrect.
i. This choice repeats the idiom and parallelism errors of choice A.
ii. A modifier is not separated from the entity it modifies by using “and”.

C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling: Correct. This choice corrects the error of choice A by using the correct idiom “at least as large as Jupiter” to convey the intended meaning.
Furthermore, notice the use of modifier - “circling…” . This modifier modifies the noun entity that precedes it – “more than 80 massive planets”. As we discussed in the sentence structure discussion for choice A, this modifier does not modify the immediately preceding noun "Jupiter". This is a verb-ing modifier that is not separated from the preceding clause by a comma and hence modifies the preceding noun entity.
At this time we should also pay attention to the logical meaning of the sentence. We have determined already that “circling…” modifies “80 massive planets” from grammatical standpoint. From logical standpoint also, “circling” must modify “80 massive planets” because it is a universal fact that Jupiter revolves around the Sun and no other star. Hence, there is no logical way that “circling” can modify “Jupiter”. It should modify “80 massive planets”.

D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle: Incorrect. Use of “mostly” is incorrect here. Now it is an adverb that refers to the adjective following it “at least as large as”. This is non-sensical.

E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling: Incorrect.
i. Repeats the same “mostly” error of choice D.
ii. Repeats the idiom error of choice A.

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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2018, 02:31
Could we please have the Part 3, for modifiers appearing at the beginning?
Excellent explanation in the first two parts
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Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing  [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2019, 22:23
Hi Payal,

Suppose there is one additional choice in the last question of your post - "most of them at least as large as Jupiter, which circle". Would this choice be correct as well?

Regards,
Soham
Re: VERB-ING MODIFIERS PART 2 In our first article on verb-ing   [#permalink] 08 Jul 2019, 22:23

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