Source: Official Guide for the GMAT 13th Ed. Sentence Correction; #48 Official Guide for the GMAT 2015 14th Ed. Sentence Correction; #48

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# It is called a sea, but the

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is actually the largest lake on Earth, which overs more than four times the surface area of its closest rival in size, North America's Lake Superior.

### 5 Explanations

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Eva Perini

Hello Mike, in your lecture on modifiers you talked about exceptions to the touch rule.
As an example : Henry of England, which was .......(reffered to henry) ---> correct
So why in this case which seems to modify earth?

Feb 22, 2017 • Comment

Hi Eva,

This is sort of a gray area. "on Earth" is only a vital modifier if we assume that without it, we might be confused and think that we could be talking about the largest lake on some other planet. Chances are, most people know that we're talking about Earth already, so this shouldn't be considered a vital modifier.

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abhisek roy

can you let me know the though structure in this sentence.
as per the sentence construction is concerned in option c:
Though + participle, N+V but it should be Though N+V, N+V structure.

Mar 31, 2016 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Abhisek,

In Choice C, the participle phrase "called a sea" is a modifier that modifies the noun phrase "the landlocked Caspian." It would therefore be redundant to include the noun in the first part of the sentence, as you suggest.

For more on how participle phrases can be used as modifiers, definitely check out this post from our blog:

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/participle-phrases-on-the-gmat/

I hope that helps! :)

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Shray Taneja

For choice C we can cancel it because of redundancy as well.though and then we have but.please let me know whether this is a correct thought

Nov 9, 2015 • Comment

Hi Shray,

I think you're referring to option (D), not (C):

D. Though called a sea but it actually is the largest lake on Earth, the landlocked Caspian covers

You're right -- "though... but" is redundant here and is cause for concern!

The use of "it" here is also problematic. It's not really clear whether the "it" refers to "sea" or "the landlocked Caspian." In general, when a sentence throws in an unnecessary "it," it's a hint that we're getting wordy and probably incorrect.

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Gal Katz

Hi Mike,
I'm confused with this question. I eliminated answer C right away since 'covering' seems to modify Caspian, hence the touch rule is broken here.
Also, if 'the largest lake on earth' functions as a modifier, is it a vital one?
I didn't find it a vital modifier since we are told that the subject is the Caspian.

Jul 24, 2015 • Comment

Jonathan , Magoosh Tutor

Hi Gal!
When we have a modifier that begins with a participle such as an -ing verb, the participle modifies the subject of the previous clause, NOT the closest noun.

Here is another simple example:

"Bob is very generous with his car, driving his friends around often."

"driving..." refers to "Bob," the subject.

Returning to our question:

"the largest lake on Earth" is not a modifier here; we have an

"X is Y" type structure, a statement that two things are the same.

We could say "on Earth" is a vital modifier to "lake."

If, instead of "covering," (C) had "which covers," the "which" could refer to "Earth," the closest noun, or "the largest lake on Earth," since "on Earth" is a vital modifier.

sumedh inamdar

"When we have a modifier that begins with a participle such as an -ing verb, the participle modifies the subject of the previous clause, NOT the closest noun"

Could you give more details on this rule? It's not covered in your lessons!

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Sumedh,

Happy to clarify :) There are three main ways to use a participle as a modifier:

1. [participle phrase] + , + [main clause]
2. [main clause] [participle phrase]
3. [main clause] + , + [participle phrase]

When a participle phrase concludes a main clause and is modifying the word right in front of it, you don't need punctuation to connect the two sentence parts (2). Conversely, when the participle phrase is modifying the subject, which is not right next to the participle phrase, you will see a comma between the main clause and participle (3). Likewise, when the participle phrase introduces or comes before the main clause, we need to separate the two components with a comma (1).

I hope this helps!

Elias Toulany

"largest lake on Earth" Can you clear this part up? Is Earth not considered a vital modifier to "the largest lake"?

Hi Elias,

Did you see my response to Eva? "on Earth" is only a vital modifier if we assume that without it, we might be confused and think that we could be talking about the largest lake on some other planet. Chances are, most people know that we're talking about Earth already, so this shouldn't be considered a vital modifier.

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Mike McGarry, Magoosh Tutor

May 22, 2013 • Comment

Saurabh Soni

In D the construct is
"Thought called... but it actually is..."
Isn't though and but in the same sentence redundant? Can we eliminate based on the redundancy?