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From one of the GMAT Verbal passages, it says:

The World Wildlife Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon that most scientists agree is caused by human beings’ burning of fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds by altering the environment in ways harmful to their habitats."

The phrase

a phenomenon that most scientists agree is caused by human beings’ burning of fossil fuels

is an appositive phrase that modifies global warming. The book claims that this passage is correct. However, the use of "agree + is caused by" seems so ungrammatical to me. Is there any rules of use that I'm missing?

  • How would you feel if it said believe to be instead of agree is? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 10 '16 at 19:20
  • Think of it as "a phenomenon that is caused by human beings’ burning of fossil fuels, along with the phrase "most scientists agree" to validate the cause. – user3169 Jul 10 '16 at 21:24
  • Is agree to be better in this case? – Osnovy Opas Jul 11 '16 at 7:23
  • No, the sentence is fine as it is. Look at it this way: "A phenomenon that is caused by humans" is fine, right? But we don't want to just say that it is caused by humans, we want to say that the scientists agree on this fact. So we can just add "scientists agree" to qualify the phrase. It's a phenomenon that...what? That scientists agree on. What exactly do they agree on? They agree it is caused by humans. So we get "a phenomenon / that / scientists agree / is caused by human beings' burning of fossil fuels." – stangdon Jul 11 '16 at 13:50
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The World Wildlife Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon that most scientists agree is caused by human beings’ burning of fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds by altering the environment in ways harmful to their habitats.

To me, this seems absolutely grammatical. The scientists agree that it (global warming) is caused by human beings burning of fossil fuels.

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The World Wildlife Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon that most scientists agree is caused by human beings’ burning of fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds...

I think we do best to understand most scientists agree as a parenthetic within the apposition. It might be clearer if we use which instead of that.

The World Wildlife Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon which, most scientists agree, is caused by human beings’ burning of fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds...

With that instead of which, and with different verbs (conclude, think, suspect, believe, understand. agree, concur) the situation gets dicier, since not all verbs will accept both to be caused and is caused equally as complement.

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