• Magoosh
Study with Magoosh GMAT prep

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Get 300+ Practice Questions

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• 1 Hour Free
BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• 5-Day Free Trial
5-day free, full-access trial TTP Quant

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Practice Test & Review
How would you score if you took the GMAT

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Award-winning private GMAT tutoring
Register now and save up to $200 Available with Beat the GMAT members only code • Free Veritas GMAT Class Experience Lesson 1 Live Free Available with Beat the GMAT members only code • Free Trial & Practice Exam BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE Available with Beat the GMAT members only code • 5 Day FREE Trial Study Smarter, Not Harder Available with Beat the GMAT members only code • FREE GMAT Exam Know how you'd score today for$0

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

## -ing verb modifiers, confusion

This topic has 5 expert replies and 4 member replies
oavasd Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
13 Jun 2012
Posted:
8 messages

#### -ing verb modifiers, confusion

Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:57 pm
I am confused by two different solutions I have seen.
From MGMAT,
Scientists have found high levels of iridium in certain geological formations, suggesting the impact of a meteor millions of years ago.
is a correct sentence, because the verb modifier suggesting ... modifies the entire first clause.
However, in the OG, the sentence: Some anthropologists believe that the genetic homogeneity evident in the world's people is the result of a "population bottleneck"--at some time in the past, our ancestors suffered an event, greatly reducing their numbers and thus our genetic variation.
is wrong, as the agent of reducing is unclear. Couldn't you argue that, similar to in the first sentence, that it was simply modifying the entire clause our ancestors suffered an event?

### GMAT/MBA Expert

Mike@Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined
28 Dec 2011
Posted:
768 messages
Followed by:
137 members
387
Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:58 pm
Dear oavasd,

Hi, there. I'm happy to contribute my 2Â¢ to this discussion.

First of all, in OG13, SC 97, I know the solution says, "the agent of reducing is unclear." It seems to me, it's relatively clear that "an event", which immediately touches the modifying clause, is in fact the target modified by the clause --- the unknown catastrophic event reduced the population. Of course, there are multiple other problems with choice A, which is why it's wrong. I just have doubts about that final sentence of the OG explanation of answer choice A.

I would say --- the verb "to suggest" is a verb in a special category. I don't know exactly what to call it, so I'm going to call the category "argument verbs" ----- verbs that would be used specifically in the construction of a logical argument --- "to suggest", "to imply", "to demonstrate", "to support", "to explain" --- these are verbs that pertain to the relationship of facts. You will find these liberally used in the CR section. When these verbs are in participle form, these participles are likely candidates for modifying not simply a noun but rather a whole clause. In general, with an ordinary "action verb" (to run, to catch, to sell, to own, etc.) it simply wouldn't make sense for them to modify a full noun + verb clause. You need a special kind of verbs to modify a full noun-verb clause, and these "argument verbs" work.

Fred does X, explaining why he . . .

Fred does X, supporting the fact that he . . .

Fred does X, demonstrating that he . .

Does this help? Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Mike

_________________
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
https://gmat.magoosh.com/

oavasd Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
13 Jun 2012
Posted:
8 messages
Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:50 pm
Thanks Mike!

I am still wondering, do participle phrases modify the subject in the original clause or not? Over at this thread http://gmatclub.com/forum/some-anthropologists-believe-that-the-genetic-homogeneity-ev-134793.html Chris Lele says this is indeed the case. I'm thinking with the type of verbs you are referring to they don't need to modify the subject, but with more action oriented participles, they do. (E.g. I went for a run, whistling the whole way. Here whistling would modify the subject, I)

If this were the case, it would explain the final line in that explanation.

### GMAT/MBA Expert

GMATGuruNY GMAT Instructor
Joined
25 May 2010
Posted:
14164 messages
Followed by:
1818 members
13060
GMAT Score:
790
Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:11 am
oavasd wrote:
I am confused by two different solutions I have seen.
From MGMAT,
Scientists have found high levels of iridium in certain geological formations, suggesting the impact of a meteor millions of years ago.
is a correct sentence, because the verb modifier suggesting ... modifies the entire first clause.
[/b]?
If this sentence were to appear on the GMAT, I would be very skeptical. The implication here is that SCIENTISTS are SUGGESTING the impact of a meteor millions of years ago -- not the intended meaning.

When an OA employs a COMMA + VERBing construction, invariably the agent of the VERBing is the subject of the preceding clause.
From the OG12:

SC30:
ANIMAL-HIDE SHIELDS with wooden frames were essential items of military equipment, PROTECTING warriors against enemy arrows and spears.
Here, the ANIMAL-HIDE SHIELDS are PROTECTING warriors.

SC47:
FIVE FLEDGLING SEA EAGLES left their nests in western Scotland this summer, BRINGING to 34 the number of wild birds successfully raised since transplants from Norway began in 1975.
Here, the FIVE FLEDGLING SEA EAGLES are BRINGING to 34 the number of wild birds successfully raised.

SC65:
A BREAKWATER OF ROCKS that would rise six feet above the waterline and act as a buffer, ABSORBING the energy of crashing waves and PROTECTING the beaches.
Here, a BREAKWATER OF ROCKS is ABSORBING and PROTECTING.

SC94:
The recent surge in the number of airplane flights has clogged the nationâ€™s air-traffic control system, LEADING to a 55-percent increase in delays at airports and PROMPTING fears among some officials that safety is being compromised.
Here, the RECENT SURGE is LEADING to an increase in delays and PROMPTING fears.

In each case, the agent of the VERBing is the subject of the preceding clause. Unless a precedent can be found in an official SC, I wouldn't make an exception for a verb such as suggesting.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
GMAT Private Tutor
GMATGuruNY@gmail.com
If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "UPVOTE" icon.
Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.

Free GMAT Practice Test How can you improve your test score if you don't know your baseline score? Take a free online practice exam. Get started on achieving your dream score today! Sign up now.

### GMAT/MBA Expert

Mike@Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined
28 Dec 2011
Posted:
768 messages
Followed by:
137 members
387
Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:52 am
oavasd wrote:
Thanks Mike!
I am still wondering, do participle phrases modify the subject in the original clause or not? Over at this thread http://gmatclub.com/forum/some-anthropologists-believe-that-the-genetic-homogeneity-ev-134793.html Chris Lele says this is indeed the case. I'm thinking with the type of verbs you are referring to they don't need to modify the subject, but with more action oriented participles, they do. (E.g. I went for a run, whistling the whole way. Here whistling would modify the subject, I)
If this were the case, it would explain the final line in that explanation.
Dear oavasd,
For the sake of GMAT SC, I will agree with Chris and Mitch that the subject of a participial phrase is the subject of the preceding clause. This is not necessarily true in the broader English language as a whole, and in some constructions, a participle of certain verbs could modify an entire [noun + verb] clause --- but, I took Mitch's advice, scoured the OG, and found absolutely no examples of this. Therefore, in the somewhat more limited world of GMAT SC, you can always rely on the rule that the subject of a participial phrase is the subject of the preceding clause. Consistency with that rule would explain the last sentence of that explanation in the OG. (Consistency is not always the hallmark of the highest level of intelligence, but in this instance, we'll just be glad that GMAC is making their stance on this point easy to identify.)

My Magoosh colleague and good friend Chris Lele is a grammar & verbal guru, and if he and I have different takes on a fine point of grammar, I will typically defer to him. I don't know Mitch personally, but he appears to have a praeternatural understanding of the GMAT in his DNA --- he is indeed a guru.

Does this clear everything up? Do you have any further questions?

Mike

_________________
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
https://gmat.magoosh.com/

oavasd Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
13 Jun 2012
Posted:
8 messages
Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:58 pm
Thanks, everything is clear now!

ngk4mba3236 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Joined
18 Mar 2016
Posted:
176 messages
1
Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:56 pm
GMATGuruNY wrote:
When an OA employs a COMMA + VERBing construction, invariably the agent of the VERBing is the subject of the preceding clause.
this construction seems NOT to be always true on GMAT, i guess!

sometimes this agent could well be the subject of nearest preceding actions such as to verb. right ?

@gmatguru/mikemagoosh - can you please share your thoughts on the above ?

### GMAT/MBA Expert

GMATGuruNY GMAT Instructor
Joined
25 May 2010
Posted:
14164 messages
Followed by:
1818 members
13060
GMAT Score:
790
Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:26 am
ngk4mba3236 wrote:
GMATGuruNY wrote:
When an OA employs a COMMA + VERBing construction, invariably the agent of the VERBing is the subject of the preceding clause.
this construction seems NOT to be always true on GMAT, i guess!

sometimes this agent could well be the subject of nearest preceding actions such as to verb. right ?

@gmatguru/mikemagoosh - can you please share your thoughts on the above ?
The two colored portions are not in conflict.
SUBJECT + INFINITIVE is typically considered a type of clause, since this construction includes a subject and a verb form.
Rather than debate this issue, it is probably simplest to apply the following rule:
Generally, a COMMA + VERBing modifier will serve to modify the nearest preceding action and the agent of this action.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
GMAT Private Tutor
GMATGuruNY@gmail.com
If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "UPVOTE" icon.
Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.

Free GMAT Practice Test How can you improve your test score if you don't know your baseline score? Take a free online practice exam. Get started on achieving your dream score today! Sign up now.
ngk4mba3236 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Joined
18 Mar 2016
Posted:
176 messages
1
Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:27 pm
GMATGuruNY wrote:
SUBJECT + INFINITIVE is typically considered a type of clause, since this construction includes a subject and a verb form.
Rather than debate this issue, it is probably simplest to apply the following rule:
Generally, a COMMA + VERBing modifier will serve to modify the nearest preceding action and the agent of this action.
rule: when an OA employs a COMMA + VERBing construction, a COMMA + VERBing modifier will serve to modify the nearest preceding action and the agent of this action.

so, on the basis of the above rule we can conclude that -

1. in most cases, this nearest preceding action will be the main action of the preceding clause and the agent of this action will be the subject of the preceding clause.

2. in some cases, this nearest preceding action will be an infinitive verb-form and the agent of this action will be the corresponding subject of this infinitive verb-form .

is this understanding correct ?

### GMAT/MBA Expert

GMATGuruNY GMAT Instructor
Joined
25 May 2010
Posted:
14164 messages
Followed by:
1818 members
13060
GMAT Score:
790
Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:13 am
ngk4mba3236 wrote:
GMATGuruNY wrote:
SUBJECT + INFINITIVE is typically considered a type of clause, since this construction includes a subject and a verb form.
Rather than debate this issue, it is probably simplest to apply the following rule:
Generally, a COMMA + VERBing modifier will serve to modify the nearest preceding action and the agent of this action.
rule: when an OA employs a COMMA + VERBing construction, a COMMA + VERBing modifier will serve to modify the nearest preceding action and the agent of this action.

so, on the basis of the above rule we can conclude that -

1. in most cases, this nearest preceding action will be the main action of the preceding clause and the agent of this action will be the subject of the preceding clause.

2. in some cases, this nearest preceding action will be an infinitive verb-form and the agent of this action will be the corresponding subject of this infinitive verb-form .

is this understanding correct ?
Looks good.
Note also that a COMMA + VERBing may also serve to modify a preceding that-clause.
SC65 in the OG12:
The Army Corps of Engineers proposed building parallel to shore a breakwater of rocks that would rise six feet above the waterline and act as a buffer, absorbing the energy of crashing waves and protecting the beaches.
Here, COMMA + absorbing serves to refer not to the preceding main subject (the Army Corp of Engineers) but to the implied subject of the preceding that-clause (a breakwater of rocks).
I would stick to the rule that I suggested above:
Generally, a COMMA + VERBing modifier will serve to modify the nearest preceding action and the agent of this action.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
GMAT Private Tutor
GMATGuruNY@gmail.com
If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "UPVOTE" icon.
Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.

Free GMAT Practice Test How can you improve your test score if you don't know your baseline score? Take a free online practice exam. Get started on achieving your dream score today! Sign up now.

### Top First Responders*

1 GMATGuruNY 68 first replies
2 Rich.C@EMPOWERgma... 48 first replies
3 Brent@GMATPrepNow 37 first replies
4 Jay@ManhattanReview 26 first replies
5 ErikaPrepScholar 9 first replies
* Only counts replies to topics started in last 30 days
See More Top Beat The GMAT Members

### Most Active Experts

1 GMATGuruNY

The Princeton Review Teacher

128 posts
2 Rich.C@EMPOWERgma...

EMPOWERgmat

117 posts
3 Jeff@TargetTestPrep

Target Test Prep

106 posts
4 Max@Math Revolution

Math Revolution

94 posts
5 Scott@TargetTestPrep

Target Test Prep

92 posts
See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts