## More than 300 rivers drain into

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### More than 300 rivers drain into

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.
A. More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.
B. With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.
C. Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, it holds more of the world's fresh water than all that of the North American Great Lakes combined, 20 percent.
D. While more than 300 rivers drain into it, Siberia's Lake Baikal holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.
E. More than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal, with more than 300 rivers draining into it, holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

OA is A.

Why E is wrong? Does it mean Siberia's Lake Baikal holds... more than all the North American Great Lakes combined (do)?

In A, More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, .. more than all the North American Great Lakes combined (do). But Great Lakes can not drain!

Thanks.
JonathanSchneider
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You're reading the last part of the sentence in A incorrectly. That final component, starting with "more...", refers to "water," not all the way back to "Lake Baikal." As a result, A is perfectly okay.

E is wrong for a couple of reasons. For one thing, we're sandwiching the subject of the sentence between two modifiers. Furthermore, by misplacing the "more than..." modifier, we have obscured the intended meaning of that phrase.
lawrence

A.
More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

After removing the non-restrictive clause in A,

More than 300 rivers drain into S's Lake Bikul,<>, more than all the North American Great lakes combined.

I have a question,
Does it mean that
"more than all the North American Great lakes combined."
modify the whole sentence of
"More than 300 rivers drain into S's Lake Bikul" ?
Guest

A.
More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

More than 300 rivers drain into S's Lake Bikul,<>, more than all the North American Great lakes combined.

"more than all the North American Great lakes combined."

an appositive noun modifier to modify the entire sentence

"More than 300 rivers drain into S's Lake Bikul" ?
RonPurewal
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Anonymous wrote:Why E is wrong?

when you have an INITIAL MODIFIER THAT'S NOT A CLAUSE (i.e., it doesn't have its own subject and verb), then it must modify the immediately following noun.

example:
coming home from school, the wind blew me off my bike. --> INCORRECT, because the implication is that the wind itself was "coming home from school".
coming home from school, i was blown off my bike by the wind. --> correct (even though the passive voice is used).

--

same problem in choice (e), which implies that lake baikal itself is somehow "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined".
that doesn't make sense.
the above rule is completely rigid, too; it doesn't allow for the modifier to be used in any other way.
Guest

### Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

My understanding has been that the sentence should make sense even when "which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water" is removed but in this case when that part is removed "More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" does not make much sense. Please explain.

Thanks
Karthik
RonPurewal
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### Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

Guest wrote:My understanding has been that the sentence should make sense even when "which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water" is removed but in this case when that part is removed "More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" does not make much sense. Please explain.

Thanks
Karthik

yeah, ok, i see what you're saying. that's a very good question.

here's what's going on here:
"more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" is actually a MODIFIER of "20% of the world's fresh water", which is WITHIN the first MODIFIER. therefore, it's a SUB-modifier, so to speak.

let me try to illustrate it graphically:

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal(, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water(, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined)).

the blue modifier modifies stuff that's inside the orange modifier, so it falls within the orbit of the orange modifier; it MUST be removed if the orange modifier is removed (because it has nothing left to modify).

let me know whether this makes sense.

orange and blue: go gators!
pmal04

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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Why B is wrong? Can anybody please explain?
atomy1985
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Perfect explanation Ron!!
just one doubt.. aren't we comparing "20 percent of the world's fresh water" with "all the North American Great Lakes combined".
can we compare water with lakes?
RonPurewal
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

pmal04 wrote:Why B is wrong? Can anybody please explain?

choice (b) starts out with

With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than ...

this could potentially be read in two ways, both of which are incorrect:
"that" is a pronoun (in the same way you'd point at a menu and say "i want that")
to use that in this way - by itself as a pronoun, as a "pointing word" - is always incorrect in formal written english.
"that" CAN be used as a pronoun, but only if it's in a parallel construction (such as the capacity of tank A vs. that of tank B).

it's a relative pronoun (in the same way you'd write "here's the book that i read").
two things wrong here.
one, you don't put a comma before this kind of "that".
two, even if this were written correctly (i.e., without the comma), which it isn't, you'd still be saying 20% of the water that is more than the great lakes. i.e., there is SOME SPECIFIC water that is "more than the great lakes", and we're talking about 20% of that water. that doesn't make sense.

so, wrong either way.
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RonPurewal
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

atomy1985 wrote:Perfect explanation Ron!!
just one doubt.. aren't we comparing "20 percent of the world's fresh water" with "all the North American Great Lakes combined".
can we compare water with lakes?

well, two things:
(a) you can view this correctly as a comparison involving the extent of the word "hold".
i.e., lake baikal holds ... more than all the great lakes combined.
(in the same way as you'd write i wrote a longer paper than my brother --> this would be considered a valid construction, since it's unambiguous)

i would certainly like the sentence better if it were written as "... more than DO all the great lakes combined", but, hey, nobody's perfect. there are definitely correct answers that are worse than this one.

(b) it's like that in all of the answer choices anyway, so there's not really a recognition problem here anyway. (but i can still see why you're asking about it, though)
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zhaoyu0319
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Hey guys,

If I understand it correctly, the phrase "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" is an adverbial modifier, so it is supposed to modify an action, which is "holds".

Because in E), "more than all the North American Great Lakes" is far away from what it is supposed to modify. For example, we have another adverbial modifier, "with more than 300 rivers draining into it", in between "more than all..." and "holds 20 percent...", it is not clear what "more than all the North American..." modifies in this case.

Therefore I will say that A) is better than E) because the adverbial phrases clearly modifies the action "holds".
mschwrtz
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

If I understand it correctly, the phrase "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" is an adverbial modifier,

That's not unreasonable--after all, "more" is sometimes an adverb--but it's wrong in this case. "More" can also be an adjective, or even a noun.

"A noun?," you ask, "Surely you're joking." Well, consider the sentence "Oliver asked for more." The object of that sentence, the THING for which Oliver asked, is "more." OK, maybe you want to say that "more" here is an adjective modifying an unstated noun, "Oliver asked for more (gruel)." I'd call that a distinction without a difference.

How does that apply to the present sentence? Consider this modified form of A,

More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more (water) than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

The entire phrase "more (water) than all the North American Great Lakes combined" is an appositive, a noun phrase used to modify another noun phrase. In this case it modifies the noun phrase "20 percent of the world's fresh water." This is so whether you treat "more" as an noun, or whether you treat "more" as modifying the unstated "water."
Students

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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Can you please clarify what is the mistake with option D?

Thanks,
RonPurewal
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Thanks,

(d) contains
20 percent of the world's fresh water, which is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

this is a direct comparison:
(amount of water) IS MORE THAN (specific lakes)
that's an illogical comparison; you can't compare a numerical amount of water (a numerical quantity) to a lake (a physical object).

there's also the fact that (d) contains a "which" modifier that's modifying another "which" modifier.
that's not actually ungrammatical, but i would bet big money that you will never see that sort of thing in a correct answer.
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