## More than 300 rivers drain into

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violetwind
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### Re: Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

RonPurewal wrote:
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!

RonPurewal wrote:(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.

Hi Ron,
I think there are some conflicts between the above two answers.

according to the first answer, "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" seems to modify "20% of the frest water", but in the second answer, it seems that you think it is not a correct comparison...

I'm confused here. Could you give some further explanation?
Thank you!
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### Re: Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

violetwind wrote:according to the first answer, "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" seems to modify "20% of the frest water", but in the second answer, it seems that you think it is not a correct comparison...

I'm confused here. Could you give some further explanation?
Thank you!

the first is an appositive modifier; these modifiers have considerable flexibility, and can be taken to refer either to a noun or to an entire clause.
see here:
post53983.html#p53983

if you interpret the a positive in this sentence is referring to the entire preceding clause -- i.e., lake baikal does something to a greater extent than all those other lakes do -- then it's a legitimate interpretation.

--

the second, on the other hand, is a "which" modifier. "which" must refer to a NOUN, creating the sort of unacceptable meaning described here.
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violetwind
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### Re: Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

RonPurewal wrote:if you interpret the a positive in this sentence is referring to the entire preceding clause -- i.e., lake baikal does something to a greater extent than all those other lakes do -- then it's a legitimate interpretation.

Ron, I get what you mean about what this modifier could modify--the preceding word or the preceding clause.
But,I don't quite get the above quoted part.

I mean, some choices are denied because the "more than.....combined" modifies the "Lake" not the "water" which makes me feel that the "more...combined" part should modify "water" but not the whole preceding clause in this case.

confused....
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### Re: Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

violetwind wrote:
RonPurewal wrote:if you interpret the a positive in this sentence is referring to the entire preceding clause -- i.e., lake baikal does something to a greater extent than all those other lakes do -- then it's a legitimate interpretation.

Ron, I get what you mean about what this modifier could modify--the preceding word or the preceding clause.
But,I don't quite get the above quoted part.

I mean, some choices are denied because the "more than.....combined" modifies the "Lake" not the "water" which makes me feel that the "more...combined" part should modify "water" but not the whole preceding clause in this case.

confused....

neither "lake" nor "water" would be a legitimate referent for this modifier -- you couldn't say "the lake is more than...", but neither could you say "the water is more than..."
this sentence will only make sense if the modifier is allowed to modify the preceding clause, which talks about holding water (because "holding more" actually makes sense).

if you are talking about choice (d) or choice (e), note that the modifiers in those choices are modifiers that modify nouns, not clauses. that's a problem in this case.
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violetwind
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### Re: Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

RonPurewal wrote:
violetwind wrote:
RonPurewal wrote:if you interpret the a positive in this sentence is referring to the entire preceding clause -- i.e., lake baikal does something to a greater extent than all those other lakes do -- then it's a legitimate interpretation.

Ron, I get what you mean about what this modifier could modify--the preceding word or the preceding clause.
But,I don't quite get the above quoted part.

I mean, some choices are denied because the "more than.....combined" modifies the "Lake" not the "water" which makes me feel that the "more...combined" part should modify "water" but not the whole preceding clause in this case.

confused....

neither "lake" nor "water" would be a legitimate referent for this modifier -- you couldn't say "the lake is more than...", but neither could you say "the water is more than..."
this sentence will only make sense if the modifier is allowed to modify the preceding clause, which talks about holding water (because "holding more" actually makes sense).

if you are talking about choice (d) or choice (e), note that the modifiers in those choices are modifiers that modify nouns, not clauses. that's a problem in this case.

great! I finally understand it...Thank you Ron!
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### Re: Re:More than 300 rivers drain into

violetwind wrote:great! I finally understand it...Thank you Ron!

sure thing.
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patil.ambar
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

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.

Hey Ron ,

Can you tell us which kind of that can have comma before ?
20% of the water that is more than the great lakes : Is that here referring only to water and not 20% of water ?

Regards
Ambar Patil
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

patil.ambar wrote:Can you tell us which kind of that can have comma before ?

you can only have a comma before "that" if the comma serves to enclose an immediately preceding modifier.
for instance:
Species X survives by eating several types of shrubs that grow in its habitat.
--> add a modifier:
Species X survives by eating several types of shrubs, such as A and B, that grow in its habitat.

in this example, note that the comma preceding "that" belongs to the colored modifier and is completely independent of "that".

20% of the water that is more than the great lakes : Is that here referring only to water and not 20% of water ?

yep. if you want to modify the whole percentage, you have to move the "the".

1% of the Canadians who work for the government...
1% of Canadians who work for the government...
--> in both of these cases, the modifier does not modify the percentage. therefore, in these two sentences, if X number of canadians work for the government, then the sentence is talking about 1/100 of X.

the 1% of Canadians who work for the government...
--> in this case, "the 1% of canadians" is a single piece that is modified by the modifier. therefore, this construction implies that one percent of the entire canadian population works for the government.

this difference will almost certainly not be tested, as "a/an/the" is not generally included in the corpus of topics tested on this exam.
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lucas.gao1103
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

RonPurewal wrote:
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.

Hi Ron,

I found a prep question that may not follow the rule you mention above, could you help me explain it. the immediately following 'initiated...' is five centuries, and I supposed that 'five centuries' should be replaced by 'project SETI'?

Thanks a lot

Initiated five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World on Columbus Day 1992, Project SETI pledged a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

(A) Initiated five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World on Columbus Day 1992, Project SETI pledged a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
(B) Initiated on Columbus Day 1992, five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World, a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence was pledged by Project SETI.
(C) Initiated on Columbus Day 1992, five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World, Project SETI pledged a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
(D) Pledging a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the initiation of Project SETI five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World on Columbus Day 1992.
(E) Pledging a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World, on Columbus Day 1992, the initiation of Project SETI took place.

OA C
RonPurewal
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

lucas.gao1103 wrote:I found a prep question that may not follow the rule you mention above, could you help me explain it. the immediately following 'initiated...' is five centuries, and I supposed that 'five centuries' should be replaced by 'project SETI'?

nope, not an exception. in that sentence, you've got another modifier buried inside the initial modifier, like
(xxxxx(,xxxxxx,)) yyyyyy

like this:
[Initiated on Columbus Day 1992[, five centuries after Europeans arrived in the New World,]], Project SETI pledged a \$100 million investment in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

RonPurewal wrote:
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.

Hey Ron,

Is this sentence incorrect: The argument fails to consider several key factors THAT could substantiate the conclusion, which is based on assumptions THAT are not supported by clear evidence.

Many thanks in advance.
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Is this sentence incorrect: The argument fails to consider several key factors THAT could substantiate the conclusion, which is based on assumptions THAT are not supported by clear evidence.

Many thanks in advance.

looks fine to me. what do you think is wrong with it?
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

Thank you Ron. It looks fine to me too. Probably I misunderstood other posts.
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

mindadze wrote:Thank you Ron. It looks fine to me too. Probably I misunderstood other posts.

ok.

be very, very careful about trying to generalize what you read about "that".
the word "that" has many, many different uses in english; any post you read about it wlll be dealing with only one of those uses. if you read something written about ONE form of "that" and try to generalize it to ALL forms of "that", your generalization will be wrong.

therefore -- if you are going to use something you've read about "that", you should first check your sentence to see whether it actually looks like the one(s) in the post(s) you're reading. if "that" is being used in a completely different way, then what you're reading is probably inapplicable.
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### Re: More than 300 rivers drain into

hi ron
is the phrase "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined" a absolute phrase? if not, what is it ?