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comma + with modifier modifies previous clause

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Hi Everyone,

Is it true that comma+with modifier always modifies previous clause?

Bihar is India's poorest state, with an annual per capita income of $111.

In the above sentence, with modifier is modifying state but we can also say that with is modifying previous noun. Can somebody please give a clearer example

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by e-GMAT » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:49 am
"¢ "with" modifiers are very versatile modifiers. They can modify either the preceding clause or the preceding nouns. What they modify actually depends on the context of the sentence and the wording of the modifier itself.

In this sentence, with modifier actually modifies the preceding noun. With modifier in this sentence has the following sense
India's poorest state, which has an annual per capita income of $111
Notice how "which has" can be understood to replace "with".

However, this modifier can be understood to modify the subject of the clause as well because of the nature of the verb - is. This is a linking verb, which establishes the following relationship:
Bihar = India's poorest state.
So whatever modifies India's poorest state also modifies Bihar. You can notice similar behavior of the verb-ed modifier in OG12#5 - Diabetes ranks as...

Now lets consider a scenario in which "with" modifier modifies the preceding clause.
This is a GMATPrep Question. You can find the detailed solution of this question at this link.

Visitors to the park have often looked up into the leafy canopy and seen monkeys sleeping on the branches, with arms and legs hanging like socks on a clothesline.

The highlighted modifier above modifies the preceding clause. In essence this sentence can be written as two separate sentences:
1. Visitors to the park have often looked up into the leafy canopy and seen monkeys sleeping on the branches,
2. Their arms and legs are hung like socks on a clothesline.
So sentence 2 has been converted into with modifier. This modifier extends the thought of the preceding clause by providing a detail supporting it.

Now if the above sounds very complicated, then do not worry about it. As long as you know that these modifiers are versatile and hence can modify preceding clause and preceding nouns, you would be fine. Let the meaning of the sentence guide you. You should understand the meaning of the sentence and ensure that one of these roles fit well.
Hope this helps.

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by bsaikrishna@gmail.com » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:57 am
Could you please help me why is "with" modifying the noun "eye" in the below OG question?

OG13 Question 7:

The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, having hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, help explain why scientists have assumed that it evolved independently of the vertebrate eye.

A having hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, help explain why scientists have assumed that it
B having hundreds of miniature eyes that are called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that they
C with its hundreds of miniature eyes that are called ommatidia, helps explain scientists' assuming that they
D with its hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, help explain scientists' assuming that it
E with its hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that it

OA is E.

Request you to please clarify the usage of "with".

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:37 am
Hi bsaikrishna,

In this SC, you actually don't need to deal with the modifier to get the correct answer. Here's why:

1) Since the subject of the sentence is "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye", we need a verb that matches this singular noun. So, the verb HELPS is a match.
Eliminate A and D

2) We also need a pronoun that matches the singular noun, so the pronoun IT is a match.
Eliminate B and C

Final Answer: E

As to your question about the modifier, the phrase "with its hundreds of miniature eyes...." clearly refers back to (and modifies) the "intricate structure of the compound insect eye." It's worth noting that modifiers can come before or after the noun that is modified.

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by bsaikrishna@gmail.com » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:55 am
Yes, I understand that we don't need to get to the bottom of the usage of "with" to answer this question. But, I've posted it to understand the usage of "with". Thanks for your answer.

please help me understand what is "with" modifying here and why?

Thanks for your answers.

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:42 pm
Hi bsaikrishna,

I did address the phrase "with its..." in my explanation; that phrase refers back to, and is modifying, the "intricate structure of the compound insect eye." Modifiers are usually "descriptive words or phrases" and are almost always right next to the "thing" that they're modifying (the modifier can come before or after that "thing" in the sentence). In this sentence, the modifier comes after the noun.

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by bsaikrishna@gmail.com » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:01 pm
Firstly, thank you very much for your reply.

You mentioned here that "with" is modifying the entire clause "The intricate structure of the compound insect eye", meaning that the "structure" is having "hundreds of eyes".

However, the OG explanation says: "The phrase with its hundreds correctly refers back to the compound insect eye".

Contrary to what we think, OG says "with" is modifying, not the entire clause, but only the noun "insect eye".

Could you please provide your expert opinion on this?

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by bsaikrishna@gmail.com » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:06 pm
Firstly, thank you very much for your reply.

You mentioned here that "with" is modifying the entire clause "The intricate structure of the compound insect eye", meaning that the "structure" is having "hundreds of eyes".

However, the OG explanation says: "The phrase with its hundreds correctly refers back to the compound insect eye".

Contrary to what we think, OG says "with" is modifying, not the entire clause, but only the noun "insect eye".

Could you please provide your expert opinion on this?

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by GMATGuruNY » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:57 am
bsaikrishna@gmail.com wrote:Firstly, thank you very much for your reply.

You mentioned here that "with" is modifying the entire clause "The intricate structure of the compound insect eye", meaning that the "structure" is having "hundreds of eyes".

However, the OG explanation says: "The phrase with its hundreds correctly refers back to the compound insect eye".

Contrary to what we think, OG says "with" is modifying, not the entire clause, but only the noun "insect eye".

Could you please provide your expert opinion on this?
The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that IT evolved independently of the vertebrate eye.

When a pronoun is repeated within a single clause, the referent must be the same in each case.
Here, ITS and IT must have the same referent.
If we construe that it refers to the intricate structure, we get:
The intricate structure helps explain why scientists have assumed that the intricate structure evolved independently.
A nonsensical meaning.
Implication: its and it must both refer to the INSECT EYE.
By extension, the with-modifier (with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes) also refers to the insect eye.
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by vardhankirti » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:52 pm
GMATGuruNY wrote:
bsaikrishna@gmail.com wrote:Firstly, thank you very much for your reply.

You mentioned here that "with" is modifying the entire clause "The intricate structure of the compound insect eye", meaning that the "structure" is having "hundreds of eyes".

However, the OG explanation says: "The phrase with its hundreds correctly refers back to the compound insect eye".

Contrary to what we think, OG says "with" is modifying, not the entire clause, but only the noun "insect eye".

Could you please provide your expert opinion on this?
The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that IT evolved independently of the vertebrate eye.

When a pronoun is repeated within a single clause, the referent must be the same in each case.
Here, ITS and IT must have the same referent.
If we construe that it refers to the intricate structure, we get:
The intricate structure helps explain why scientists have assumed that the intricate structure evolved independently.
A nonsensical meaning.
Implication: its and it must both refer to the INSECT EYE.
By extension, the with-modifier (with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes) also refers to the insect eye.
\



Hi Mitch,

First of all, your posts are very lucid and i enjoy learning from them.


According to me ,here in the question of intricate structure
With refers to "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye" ,which is the subject.


Do you think the below sentence would be correct assuming the referent of with is what i have mentioned above.?

The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye" evolved independently of the vertebrate eye.[/i]



Please let me know if my understanding is correct

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by GMATGuruNY » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:35 am
vardhankirti wrote:Hi Mitch,

First of all, your posts are very lucid and i enjoy learning from them.

According to me ,here in the question of intricate structure
With refers to "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye" ,which is the subject.

Do you think the below sentence would be correct assuming the referent of with is what i have mentioned above.?

The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye" evolved independently of the vertebrate eye.
In your interpretation, the portion in red implies that THE INTRICATE STRUCTURE evolved independently of THE VERTEBRATE EYE -- an illogical comparison.
As I mentioned in my post above, the pronouns in the OA -- its and it -- serve to refer not to the intricate structure but to the COMPOUND INSECT EYE.
The result is a logical comparison:
The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with THE COMPOUND INSECT EYE'S hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that THE COMPOUND INSECT EYE evolved independently of THE VERTEBRATE EYE.
Last edited by GMATGuruNY on Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by vardhankirti » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:38 am
GMATGuruNY wrote:
vardhankirti wrote:Hi Mitch,

First of all, your posts are very lucid and i enjoy learning from them.

According to me ,here in the question of intricate structure
With refers to "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye" ,which is the subject.

Do you think the below sentence would be correct assuming the referent of with is what i have mentioned above.?

The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with ITS hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that "the intricate structure of the compound insect eye" evolved independently of the vertebrate eye.
In your interpretation, the portion in red implies that THE INTRICATE STRUCTURE evolved independently of THE VERTEBRATE EYE -- an illogical comparison.
As I mentioned in my post above, the pronouns in the OA -- its and it -- serve to refer not to the intricate structure but to the COMPOUND INSECT EYE.
The result is a logical comparison:
The intricate structure of the compound insect eye, with the COMPOUND INSECT EYE'S hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that THE COMPOUND INSECT EYE evolved independently of THE VERTEBRATE EYE.


Thank you Mitch.What i perceive from what you said that the usage is more context driven.