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Modifying Phrases


Modifying PhraseA common trick used by GMAT test makers is to insert modifying phrase incorrectly. Here are some sentences that incorrectly use modifying phrases:

Sentence A: Ever since her paw was crushed in the front door, Mrs. Benson has been worried about Muffin, her pet cat.

Sentence A starts off with the modifying phrase “Ever since her paw was crushed in the front door,” and then talks about Mrs. Benson and her worry for her cat.  But Mrs. Benson sounds like a person, and as a person, she probably doesn’t have a paw to be crushed.  It’s MUCH more likely that Muffin’s paw got crushed, causing Mrs. Benson’s worry.  This sentence needs to be corrected to put the modifying phrase next to the item it modifies. 

Here are a couple of ways that we can do that, depending on where the sentence’s underlining is placed:

Sentence A1: Ever since her paw was crushed in the front door, Mrs. Benson has been worried about Muffin, her pet cat.

If the modifying phrase isn’t underlined, we don’t have the opportunity to fix it-- but we can rearrange the rest of the sentence so that the thing that is modified (...

Categories : Modifying Phrases

Written in Belgium, the composer of Symphony No. 5 was a brilliant musician, Thomas Vornle, who many later called the "Father of the Music" for his contribution to music.

A. the composer of Symphony No. 5 was a brilliant musician, Thomas Vornle, who many later called the "Father of the Music" for his

B. ThomasVornle's Symphony No. 5, who many later called the "Father of the Music" for his

C. Symphony No. 5 was composed by a brilliant musician, Thomas Vornle, who many later called the "Father of the Music" for his

D. Symphony No. 5's composer was a brilliant musician, Thomas Vornle, whom many later called the "Father of the Music for his

E. Symphony No. 5 was composed by a brilliant musician, Thomas Vornle, whom many later called the "Father of the Music" for his

Answer

A modifying phrase needs to be placed by the word it modifies. The subject pronoun who needs to be replaced by the object pronoun whom.

Answer - Choice E


GMAT SC LogicThe single-most crucial type of Sentence Correction error, Modifiers, Comparisons, and Verb Tenses all share one thing in common: you do not  need to be an expert editor to recognize that this sentence is illogical!  The introductory phrase in this sentence, “the single-most type…” is clearly meant to describe one item, but the rest of the sentence lists three.  This does not make logical sense!  Technically you’d call this a modifier error, in that the modifying phrase to begin the sentence – recognizable because it begins the sentence, is separated by a comma, and does not include its own subject and verb (note: these aren’t essential characteristics of any modifier, but they are one surefire way to identify a commonly-occurring type of modifier in which SC errors often crop up) – does not logically modify the noun that follows.

If you want to get really technical, it is an appositive modifier (a noun phrase used to describe another noun), but the GMAT will never require you to describe the...