Student Asks About Official Guide GMAT Verbal QuestionHi Zeke,
There is a question from OG verbal that I don’t understan. Here it is:
Analysts blamed May’s sluggish retail sales on unexciting merchandise as well as the weather, colder and wetter than was usual in some regions, which slowed sales of barbecue grils and lawn furniture.
(A) colder and wetter than was usual in some regions, which slowed
(B) which was colder and wetter than usual in some regions, slowing
(C) since it was colder and wetter than usually in some regions, which slowed
(D) being colder and wetter than usually in some regions, slowing
(E) having been colder and wetter than was usual in some regions and slowed
The answer is (B). What I don’t understand is the “slowing” in (B). Doesn’t it refer to analysts as the core framework says the “-ing” verb refers to the subject of the sentence?
To describe analysts, the -ING would need to be in a preposition phrase BEFORE analysts.
“Writing in news reports, analysts blamed May’s sluggish sales, etc..”
Here, the comma right before analysts indicates the phrase directly describes the word analysts.
In (B), the commas are far away from the word “Analysts” and we go into the phrase “colder and wetter…” describing “weather” which IS right next to the comma.
The ING verb “slowing” here describes the effects of the “colder and wetter” weather.
This example is a bit unusual. The phrase “slowing sales of BBQ grills and lawn furniture” describes the effects of
“colder and wetter than usual”
which is describing the “weather”.
So the whole ING phrase “slowing” is describing what is immediately left of that comma – which is the entire phrase “colder and wetter than usual”. So the same concept applies. But rather than describing one noun/subject as we did with the example above (“Writing in news reports, analysts…”) we’re describing an entire phrase here which is “colder and wetter than usual”.
So next time you come across a question, keep in mind what is immediately next to the comma when you see an ING phrase.
Hope that helps.