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G-Matic Conventions Of Word Order

Though most of the points we discuss are as equally applicable to all kinds of expression as they are to G-matic expression, the very purpose of this book mandates the G-matic perspective.


Study the following word order principles carefully and understand their use. Solving the down-to-earth practice will surely help you to grasp the application of these principles in complex background.

The Position of Adverbials

Adverbials, such as almost, nearly, only, just, not, even, too, hardly, scarcely, merely etc., 
change the meaning of the sentence basing on their positions in the sentence. Many adverbs (such words as cleverly, boldly, carefully etc.,) may also create problems in this regard.

Study the following sentences to understand how the position of these adverbials brings about the meaning change.

  • The woman nearly lost $1000. (= In fact, she did not lose any money.)
  • The woman lost nearly $1000. (= She lost approximately $1000.)
  • I just invited Susan to the party. (= I did not do anything more than that!)
  • I invited Susan just to the party. (= I did not invite her to any other place.)
  • I invited just Susan to the party. (= I did not invite anyone else.)
  • Just I invited Susan to the party. (= No one else invited her to the party.)

The problem is that you may intend to give one meaning, but your sentence gives another. In such situations, the sentence becomes incorrect. Study the following example.

* I just invited Susan to the party and so, she was the only guest present.

* I invited just Susan to the party and so, she was the only guest present.

From the context of the above sentence, we can understand that she was the only person invited. But the given sentence incorrectly gives another sense. This problem is corrected in the second sentence.
 

Example
Recent research has shown that multinationals can use gender bias profitably existent in some countries by recruiting women at comparatively lower wages.
  1. that multinationals can use gender bias profitably existent
  2. multinationals that can profitably use gender bias that exist
  3. that multinationals can profitably use gender bias existent
  4. multinationals which can profitably use gender bias and which exist
  5. that multinationals’ profitable use of gender bias existing
Solution
Explanation: the sentence has ambiguity because of the position of the adverbial profitably; it may modify the preceding verb can use or following adjective existent. Because of this problematic placement of adverbial, the sentence is incorrect.
Option A: the position of the adverbial frequently is problematic, creating ambiguity.
Option B: the sentence structure is problematic; the research has shown, not multinationals, but that they can profitably use gender bias. To give this sense a that clause is required after the verb has shown.
Option C: correct. The position of profitably makes it modify, clearly and logically, the verb-giving the intended meaning.
Option D: besides the absence of required that, the option creates another problem. The sense that multinationals… which exist in some countries is neither intended nor logical.
Option E: after the conjunction that, a complete verb is needed. But the given option is a sentence fragment.

 

 

Misplaced adverbials
Correct the misplacement of adverbials, if any, in the following sentences.

  1. Besides regulating visceral functions, the autonomous nervous system only controls the muscles that are not under our control.
  2. All bricks are not baked in the kiln as sometimes sun light can be used to bake the bricks.
  3. The continent contains diverse regions that extremely fall into two dissimilar zones – arid and frigid zones.
  4. The performance of the team was so bad that they did not even score one goal.
  5. The students just took one test today and thus, they needed to come to the school again to take the other test.
  6. The students took just a test today and the remaining schedule has been postponed due to inclement weather.
  7. The signs of autism, a disorder of neurological development that hinders social behavior of children, hardly begin when the kid is three years old.
  8. The 77 story skyscraper Chrysler Towers only held the tallest building title for a few months.
  9. All the genetic infomation needed to decide the future of a human being is merely present in 4% of the genetic code.
  10. Founded in 1791, the Ordinance Survey of Great Britain was to map only Great Britain and Ireland for military purposes whereas its present functions include even dissemination of topographical infomation.

 Keys

  1. Besides regulating visceral functions, the autonomic nervous system controls only the muscles that are not under our control.
    If the adverbial is played with controls, it gives the sense that it only controls, but does not do anything else. But, the initial prepositional phrase indicates that it serves some other function also. Thus, it should logically modify the muscles rather than the verb.
  2. Not all bricks are baked in the kiln as sun light sometimes can be used to bake bricks.
    It is overtly stated that sometimes sunlight can be used. Thus, the position of not should be before all bricks to give the needed sense.
  3. The continent contains diverse regions that fall into two extremely dissimilar zones – arid and frigid zones.
    Logically speaking, they do not extremely fall, but fall into extremely dissimilar zones. This sense can be understood by the specification of extremely dissimilar zones, arid and frigid regions.
  4. The performance of the team was so bad that they did not score even one goal.
    Because the performance was very bad, it is logical to use even to modify the noun one goal rather than the verb score.
  5. The students took just one test today and thus, they needed to come to the school again to take the other test.
    The infomation after conjunction and gives a hint that one test is the phrase to be modified by the adverbial just.
  6. The students just took a test today and the remaining schedule has been postponed due to inclement weather.
    The infomation after the conjunction gives the hint that it is the verb took that is to be modified by the adverbial. Thus, just should be placed before the verb.
  7. The signs of autism, a disorder of neurological development that hinders social behavior of children, begin when the kid is hardly three years old.
    The word hardly, which is a broad negative, gives a negative sense. With the given position of hardly, the sentence means the signs do not begin... . This sense is illogical. The adverbial should be placed before three years old to give the intended meaning.
  8. The 77 story skyscraper Chrysler Towers held the tallest building title only for a few months.
    If we use the adverbial in the given position, it gives sense that it only held the title, but it was not the tallest building. This is illogical. To give the correct sense, it the adverbial should modify the phrase for a few months and must be before this phrase.
  9. All the genetic infomation needed to decide the future of the human being is present in merely 4% of the genetic code.
    With the present word order, the sentence means that the genetic infomation is just present, but it does nothing more! The correct position is before the phrase it logically modifies.
  10. Founded in 1791, the Ordinance Survey of Great Britain was to map Great Britain and Ireland only for military purposes only whereas its present functions include even dissemination of topographical infomation.
    The whereas clause gives the idea that it is used for many purposes. To have a contrast for this, the earlier use must be confined to only one purpose. This intended sense can be given by placing the adverbial before the phrase for military purposes. If we use it before for military purposes, it is not clear whether the word only describes the names of countries before or the prepositional phrase (for military purposes) that comes after

Position of Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases should be immediately after the nouns modified if they describe nouns or they should be as close as possible to the verb if they modify verbs.
When we use prepositional phrases ‘loosely’ as we do in informal expressions, the sentence might give ambiguous or even strange and illogical meaning. Look at the following examples.
* The young girl was walking the dog in a red skirt.
In this example, the prepositional phrase is to describe a noun. But the phrase is present immediately after the noun the dog, giving a sense that the dog was in a red skirt! The prepositional phrase is to be placed immediately after the noun it logically modifies. This is how the correction is made.
* The young girl in a red skirt was walking the dog.
* I came to know that his father died in his letter.
Because of the position of the prepositional phrase, the sentence gives an illogical sense that his father died in his letter. You can correct this in the following ways.
* In his letter, I came to know that his father died.
* I came to know, in his letter, that his father died.

Example
Genetically engineered viruses are being developed in genetic labs to give immunity to human beings without causing any illness.
A. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed in genetic labs to give immunity to human beings without causing any illness.
B. In genetic labs, genetically engineered viruses are being developed to give immunity to human beings without causing any illness.
C. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed to give immunity to human beings in genetic labs without causing any illness.
D. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed to give immunity to human beings without causing any illness in genetic labs.
E. Genetically engineered viruses in genetic labs are being developed to give immunity to human beings without causing any illness.
Solution
Explanation: though the sentence looks correct, the position of the prepositional phrase in genetic labs is problematic. It can modify either the preceding verb are being developed or the following infinitive to give immunity. Thus, the sentence is with word order problem with the prepositional phrase.
Option A: the option is with squinting prepositional phrase.
Option B: Correct. Because of the initial position of the preposition phrase, it can modify only the verb that succeeds. This option is correct in all respects and thus, is the best option.
Option C: the prepositional phrase in the genetic labs may modify any of the three: human beings, to give immunity or the verb are being developed. This ambiguity makes this option incorrect.
Option D: the prepositional phrase in question still has ambiguity in modification.
Option E: now the same prepositional phrase modifies the noun phrase genetically engineered viruses, rather than are being developed. Thus, this position is also problematic.

 

Misplaced prepositional phrases
Identify and correct the misplacement of prepositions in the following sentences.

  1. Anatomy is study of structures that make up a body in general sense.
  2. Demand is the desire to own something and the ability to pay for it in economic sense.
  3. The surgeon opened the pericardium, the double-walled sac that covers the heart with utmost care.
  4. Ancestral Puebloan pottery ware was used for storing and cooking food in general.
  5. In a universal sense, British anthropologist Edward Tylor was one of the first English speaking scholars to use the term culture.
  6. Ford’s theater, a historic site in 1865, is the place where Lincoln was assassinated.
  7. In a mutually beneficial way, symbiotic relationships include those associations in which organisms live on or inside other organisms.
  8. Sweden’s considerable population growth led to pauperization of rural population, for each generation inherited smaller and smaller share of land before Industrial Revolution.
  9. While studying English literature in Brisbane with an enthusiastic creativity she never expected in herself, Helen dale wrote the novel The Hand that Signed the Paper.
  10. Although the term Savanna is believed to have originally come from African word with a meaning of ‘land without trees, but with grass’, in the late 1800s, the term was used to mean ‘land with both grass and trees’.

 Keys

  1. In general sense, anatomy is study of structures that make up a body.
    The prepositional phrase (in general sense) illogically modifies the verb make up the body. In fact it should logically modify the definition of the anatomy. Thus, it should be correctly placed in the beginning of the sentence.
  2. In economic sense, demand is the desire to own anything and the ability to pay for it.
    The prepositional phrase (in economic sense) illogically modifies the ability to pay for it. The modification will be correct if it kept before the noun demand.
  3. With utmost care, the surgeon opened the pericardium, the double-walled sac that covers the heart.
    The surgeon, with utmost care, opened the pericardium, the double-walled sac that covers the heart.
    In the above sentence, we cannot use the prepositional phrase after the pericardium because if we use it in that position, the next modifier phrase (the double-walled… the heart), which should be after the noun the pericardium, will be misplaced.
  4. Ancestral Puebloan pottery ware was used, in general, for storing and cooking food.
    The position of the prepositional phrase (in general) may modify either storing and cooking or is used. In the given context of the sentence, it is more logical to use it in such a way as it modifies the verb is used. Hence it should be placed near this verb.
  5. British anthropologist Edward Tylor was one of the first English speaking scholars to use the term culture in a universal sense.
    The prepositional phrase in a universal sense cannot logically modify Tylor’s being one of first English speaking philosophers. It should modify to use the term. Hence, it should be used at the end of the sentence.
  6. Ford’s theater, a historic site, is the place where Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.
    The expression a historic site in 1865 implies that it is no longer a historic site. This sense is not likely to be intended meaning. It, thus, should logically modify the verb was assassinated and thus, must be placed after it.
  7. Symbiotic relationships include those associations in which organisms live on or inside other organisms in a mutually beneficial way.
     
    The prepositional phrase cannot logically modify the verb include. Thus, placing it at the beginning makes it misplaced. The phrase should logically modify the verb live. So the correct position will be at the end.
  8. Before Industrial Revolution, Sweden’s considerable population growth led to pauperization of rural population, for each generation inherited smaller and smaller share of land.
     
    The position of the prepositional phrase before Industrial Revolution is problematic. It is possibly used in three positions: after population growth, after the verb led, and at the end of the sentence. Though all positions can be justified, it is most logical to assume that it is to modify the verb. To give this sense, we need to use it at the beginning of the sentence. Thus, the above is the best correction.
  9. While studying English literature in Brisbane, Helen Dale wrote the novel The Hand that Signed the Paper with an enthusiastic creativity she never expected in herself.
     
    It is not logical to say that a person studies literature with an enthusiastic creativity. A person can write a novel with creativity. Thus, the rational position should be in second clause.
  10. Although the term Savanna is believed to have originally come from African word with a meaning of ‘land without trees, but with grass’, the term was, in the late 1800s, used to mean ‘land with both grass and trees’.
     
    It is not clear whether preposition phrase in the later 1800s modifies the earlier clause or the later clause. This type of modification error is known as squinting modifier error, which we will study in detail in phrasal modification chapter. It is logical to assume that originally the word was used in meaning, and in late 1800s, it was used with another eaning.    Thus, the prepositional phrase is placed in this way in the correction.

 

Position of Relative Clauses

Relative clauses must be placed immediately after the nouns they logically modify.
 
The clauses that start with who, whom, which or that are known as relative clauses and they must always be present after the nouns they modify or refer to. If this order is violated, that sentence is surely incorrect in formal expressions.

Let me explain this rule using some examples, because this rule is extremely useful tool in identifying incorrect options.


* 
The sales manager submitted a proposal, which has been accepted by his boss.

The noun present before which is proposal and this noun is correctly modified by the relative clause. This sentence is G-matically correct.

To know whether the relative pronoun logically modifies the noun or not, you can simply substitute the relative pronoun with the noun and see if the sentence is logical. In the above example, a proposal has been accepted by his boss. This sentence is logical and thus, the relative clause is correctly placed.

Look at another example, in which the relative clause is wrongly placed.


* 
Ms Rachel carelessly spent the money which left her in trouble.

In the above example, substitute the noun money in the place of the relative pronoun. Money left her in trouble. Did the money left her in trouble? This is illogical as per the sense of the sentence. It is the careless spending that left him in trouble. Thus, this is incorrect sentence. The sentence can be corrected in the following ways.


* 
Ms Rachel carelessly spent the money, a spending/an act which left her in trouble.

In this sentence, the sentence is corrected by introducing a noun that can be logically modified by the following relative clause.


* 
The sales manager came late, which made the boss angry. (G-matically incorrect)

In the sentence above, the relative pronoun which is present after late, which is an adverb. Thus, this sentence is incorrect. However, most of us might find this sentence to be correct. But, G-matically speaking, this sentence is definitely incorrect. We need to introduce a noun before this relative pronoun to make it correct.


* 
The sales manager came late, an act which made the boss angry. (G-matically correct)

Another way of correcting this sentence will be the following way.


* 
That the sales manager came late made the boss angry. (G-matically correct)

The incorrect sentences above look incorrect and the correct sentences look correct to most of us. That is why GMAT makers use this kind of wrong options to trick the test takers.

Example
Though the general structure of all antibodies – gamma globulin proteins – is very similar, a small region at the tip of the protein is extremely variable, which allows millions of antibodies with slightly different antigen binding sites to exist.
A. is extremely variable, which allows
B. is with extreme variability and allows
C. is extremely variable, a variability that allows
D. is with extreme variability, a protein that allows
E. with variability which is extreme allowing
Solution
Explanation: the sentence has a relative clause which must be placed after the noun modified by it. However, the required noun is absent before the relative clause, making the clause misplaced. Thus, the sentence is incorrect.
Option A: the option is with misplaced relative clause.
Option B: the use of and in the place of relative pronoun which creates a main clause for which the subject is required. The subject a small region which is understood from the context cannot be the logical subject for the verb állows. It gives the illogical meaning that the small region allows millions of antibodies to exist.
Option C: Correct. This is the best option as it introduces the noun variability, which is logically modified by the following relative clause.
Option D: the given noun a protein is not the logical antecedent for the relative clause.
Option E: this option results in a fragment.

 

 

Misplaced relative clauses
Identify the errors in positioning of relative clauses in the following sentences and correct them. Two of the sentences are without any error in this regard.

  1. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political social protest started in Montgomery in 1955, which was intended to oppose the city’s policy of racial segregation in public transit system.
  2. A firewall is a part of computer system that blocks unauthorized access, which is quite essential for the security of a computer or computer network.
  3. The control of fire by early humans is a turning point in human cultural evolution that allowed man to proliferate by cooking food and by finding warmth and protection.
  4. Broccoli was introduced first into the United States in 1830s, which evolved from wild cabbage, but did not become popular until 1920s.
  5. Business ethics, also known as corporate ethics, is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral problems arising in a business environment.
  6. Empirical evidence suggests that taxes, whose welfare expenditures constitute 20% of Gross Domestic Product, reduce poverty in many countries.
  7. Following the Battle of Kadesh between Egyptian Empire and Hittite Empire in 1274 BC, the first known international treatise was signed by the Pharaoh of Egypt and the ruler of Hittite Empire signed to restore peace which still survives in Stone Tablet Fragments.
  8. The Gross Domestic Income is a measure of country’s overall economic strength, which is the market value of all goods and services produced in the country.
  9. Serving as a General in the Union Army during the Civil War, for which he received recognition for his outstanding military strategy, William Sherman also became the object of criticism for his harshness of his military policies against the Southern Confederate states.
  10. The term Glass Ceiling, generally used in management studies to refer to invisible barriers that impede career advancement of women and minorities, was used even by The U S Department of labor in a response to a study of nine Fortune 500 companies, which confirmed the existence of Glass Ceiling effect in corporate hierarchy.

 Keys

  1. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was intended to oppose the city’s policy of racial segregation in public transit system, was a political social protest started in Montgomery in 1955.
    The relative clause starting with which can logically modify the noun Montgomery Boycott and thus, must be placed after it.
  2. A firewall, which is quite essential for the security of a computer, is a part of computer system that blocks unauthorized access.
    The relative present after the noun unauthorized access gives the sense that unauthorized access is essential for the security of a computer. This is illogical. It should be correctly placed after the noun a firewall, which is logically modified by it.
  3. The control of fire by early humans is, in human cultural evolution, turning point a turning point that allowed man to proliferate by cooking food and by finding warmth and protection.
    The relative clause starting with that, correctly modifies the noun phrase a turning point in human cultural evolution. This sentence is correct as it is.
  4. Broccoli, which evolved from wild cabbage, was first introduced into the United States in 1830s, but did not become popular until 1920s.
    The given sentence has two errors of misplacement. The relative clause, which describes broccoli, must be present immediately after that noun. Secondly, the adverbial first must be present before the main verb to give the intended meaning.
  5. Business ethics, also known as corporate ethics, is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral problems arising in a business environment.
    The relative clause correctly modifies the noun present before it. The sentence is correct as it is.
  6. Empirical evidence suggests that taxes reduce poverty in many countries whose welfare expenditures constitute 20% of Gross Domestic Product.
    The relative clause whose welfare… cannot logically modify the noun taxes. It can logically modify the noun countries and thus must be placed after that noun.
  7. Following the Battle of Kadesh between Egyptian Empire and Hittite Empire in 1274 BC, the first known international treatise, which still survives in Stone Tablet Fragments, was signed by the Pharaoh of Egypt and the ruler of Hittite Empire to restore peace.
    The noun peace cannot be logically modified by the given relative clause. This clause logically modifies treatise and thus, must be kept after it.
  8. The Gross Domestic Income, which is the market value of all goods and services produced in the country, is a measure of country’s overall economic strength.
    The relative clause logically modifies the Gross Domestic Income and must be placed after it.
  9. Serving as a General in the Union Army in the Civil War, during which he received recognition for his outstanding military strategy, William Sherman later became the object of criticism for his harshness of his military policies against the Southern Confederate states.
    The use of for before the relative pronoun and after it makes it redundant. The logical noun to be modified by the relative clause is services, which is not present in the sentence. The noun present before the relative clause cannot be logically modified by the relative clause. We need to connect this noun to the relative clause. By usingduring which rather than for which, we can correct all these problems. This is surely a very difficult word order question.
  10. The term Glass Ceiling, generally used in management studies to refer to invisible barriers that impede career advancement of women and minorities, was used even by The U S Department of labor in a response to a study of nine Fortune 500 companies, a study which confirmed the existence of Glass Ceiling effect in corporate hierarchy.
    The position of relative clause results in ambiguity. It is not clear whether it is the response or the study which confirmed the existence of Glass Ceiling. It can refer to either of these two nouns. this ambiguity can be corrected by inserting the relevant noun. In reality, it is the study that confirmed the existence. Thus the correction is as given above.

 

Position of Appositives

An appositive is a noun or a noun phrase that renames or modifies the noun before or after it. It must be placed immediately before or after the noun modified by it. Otherwise, the problem of misplaced appositive results.
The important thing to note is that the appositive usually gives additional infomation and thus, is not the essential part of the sentence. Thus, we separate an appositive the rest of the sentence using a comma or a set of commas.

Study the following examples to understand the concept of appositives.

* Homer, a legendary ancient Greek poet, is traditionally said to be the author of the epic Iliad.

In this example, the noun phrase a legendary ancient Greek poet renames the noun Homer. This noun phrase is an appositive giving additional infomation about the noun. You can observe the commas on either side of the appositive.

The appositive is to be kept either immediately before or immediately after the noun it add infomation to. Otherwise, a word order problem is created. Look at the following examples to understand this problem.

*Hawaii occupies most of the archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, the only US state made up entirely of islands.

 

In the above sentence, the appositive the only US state made up of entirely islands is present after Pacific Ocean. But the appositive is related to the state Hawaii. So, it must be placed immediately before or after it.

* The only US state made up entirely of islands, Hawaii occupies most of the archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

* Hawaii, the only U.S state made up entirely of islands, occupies most of the archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

Let us put this understanding to some practice now. We will discuss this concept in detail in the chapter Nouns and G-matic Implications, in which we will discuss another aspect of the appositives.

 

Misplaced appositives
Correct the following sentences by positioning the appositives correctly. Remember, one of the sentences is correct as it is.

  1. Electric rays produce electric discharge either to defend themselves or to stun the prey, some of which can generate as much electricity as 220 volts.
  2. Aung San Suu kyi was, for the year 1991, named Nobel Peace Prize recipient, an award instituted by Noble to promote international peace.
  3. Despite disagreement from some quarters, Dolores Rio is generally believed to have been model for the Oscar Statuette, a star of Hollywood films during the silent era.
  4. The Federal Supreme Court, the ratified and written form of framework for the organization of the United States Federal Government, hears a limited number of cases that have important implication in the interpretation of Federal Constitution.
  5. Any martial arts enthusiast can effectively use Taiaha, a traditional weapon of indigenous Maori of New Zealand, only after years of practice in developing the skills of timing, balance, and coordination necessary to wield the weapon effectively.

 Keys

  1. Electric rays, some of which can generate as much electricity as 220 volts, produce electric discharge either to defend themselves or to stun the prey.
     
    The Appositive phrase some of… volts adds infomation to the noun electric rays, and thus, must be present after it.
  2. Aung San Suu Kyi was, for the year 1991, named the recipient of Nobel Peace Prize, an award instituted by Nobel to promote international peace.
    The appositive an award… peace, modifies the noun Nobel Peace Prize, which should be present before the appositive. The given structure does not follow that rule. Thus, we need to change the structure of the phrase in such a way as the relevant noun is placed before the appositive.
  3. Despite disagreement from some quarters, Dolores Rio, a star of Hollywood films during the silent era, is generally believed to have been model for the Oscar Statuette.
    The appositive a star of… actress modifies the noun Dolores Rio, and must be present after it.
  4. The Federal Supreme Court hears a limited number of cases that have important implication in the interpretation of Federal Constitution, the ratified and written form of framework for the organization of the United States Federal Government.
    The appositive the ratified … Government modifies constitution, rather than the Federal Supreme Court, and thus must be present after it.
  5. Any martial arts enthusiast can effectively use Taiaha, a traditional weapon of indigenous Maori of New Zealand, only after years of practice in developing the skills of timing, balance, and coordination necessary to wield the weapon effectively.
     
    The given sentence is correct as it is because the appositive is correctly placed.





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