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# Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the

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07 Feb 2012, 10:41
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Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.
a) persisting
b) persists
c) persisted
d) they persisted
e) are persisting

I got a doubt while solving this question . "and" is used two combine to coordinating clauses .A coordinating clause is supposed to have a verb .Even if this is not the case the two parts that the conjunction "and" joins should be parallel ie they both should be either adjectives ,phrases etc..
Are the two parts particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space parallel .?
Someone pls explain .
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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07 Feb 2012, 16:49
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Hi, there. I'm happy to help with this.

Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.

First of all, the word "and" does not connect coordinating or subordinate clauses --- those require both a noun and verb. The word "and" connects two participial phrases (= participle form of a verb + object).

The compound noun, "atoms and molecules" is modified by the two participial phrases. Which "atoms and molecules"? The "atoms and molecules" that were "created" and are "persisting".

If you think about it, the phrase "the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion" is not a clause because it can't stand alone as a complete sentence. That's because instead of a full verb, you merely have the participle "created."

This is why the proper parallel element is another participle --- "persisting" (in the present tense, because that's still happening, whereas the "created" happened in the past --- in fact, way back at the Big Bang!)

So, the crucial "and" connects
(a) the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion,
with
(b) [the atoms and molecules] persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.

These are the two parallel participial phrases. As is often the case, the subject "the atoms and molecules" is implied and so it would be redundant to repeat it in the second phrases.

Does all of this make sense?

Only somewhat related, here's a free video lesson on GMAT SC that you may find helpful.

http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/599-int ... correction

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate in asking me.

Mike
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2012, 21:39
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@mike kudos for you .Thanks for your detailed explanation !!
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink]

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11 Feb 2012, 04:29
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created( past participle) and persisting(present participle) are parallel here
persisting not persisted is required here because they are still existing.
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19 Aug 2013, 11:46
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saikarthikreddy wrote:
Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.
(A) persisting
(B) persists
(C) persisted
(D) they persisted
(E) are persisting

GMAT40 wrote:
Hi Mike,
Regards

Dear GMAT40,
It's very important to understand the grammatical layout of the surrounding material. The words "interstellar dust" is the object of the preposition "of". The sentence could actually end there, and be a simple & complete sentence. Instead, we get an appositive phrase, "particles", which modifies and describes the "interstellar dust".

Then we have a "that" clause, modifying "particles" ---- it's a vital noun modifier, because without the "that" clause, the word "particles" is pretty bland and undescriptive. Every "that" clause must have a full SUBJECT + VERB structure. The pronoun "that" itself is the subject, and comprise is the verb. The nouns "atoms and molecules" constitutes the direct object of comprise.

The nouns "atoms and molecules" is modified by one participial phrase "created in the progenitive explosion", and the question here poses --- what's going on with the "persist" verb and the predicate that follows it?

The "persist" verb must take a form so that it is a second participle phrase parallel to the first. At the level of grammar, if we wanted to introduce more action here, something else doing the "persisting" besides the "atoms and molecules", then it would violate parallelism to have the first participle phrase, then the word "and", and then something that's not a participial phrase. We would need more commas or something else to guide us if we wanted the "persist" phrase to be parallel to something somewhere else in the sentence. At the level of logic, we are describing the origin & ongoing state of these "atoms and molecules" ---- logically, it makes sense for the "persist" phrase to be in parallel to the "created" phrase.

Therefore, for a couple reasons, the second phrase must be a participle phrase in parallel to the first, and demands the participle "persisting", not a full verb, such as "are persisting."

Incidentally, this is not a very well written question. The word "progenitive" is awfully fancy, a bit too fancy for GMAT SC standards. More importantly, the sentence misuses the word "comprise" ---- a diction mistake the GMAT would never make.

I hope all this helps.
Mike
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25 Sep 2014, 10:48
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27 Sep 2014, 11:18
Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.

a)persisting
b)persists
c)persisted
d)they persisted
e)are persisting

In this scentence, Created is not acting as verb, It is acting as a modifier so it will be parallel to persisting

If it would be acting as verb then we were to use persisted.
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28 Sep 2014, 03:05
@mikemcgarry....Thank you for detailed explanation. My doubt here is how did you deduce that "persist" is an action of "atoms and molecules", it could be an action of "Particles"and in that case shouldn't the verb "persist" be parallel to "comprise" and would need a full verb rather than a participle. I chose the answer "are persisting".
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28 Sep 2014, 10:59
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hitesh2489 wrote:
@mikemcgarry....Thank you for detailed explanation. My doubt here is how did you deduce that "persist" is an action of "atoms and molecules", it could be an action of "Particles"and in that case shouldn't the verb "persist" be parallel to "comprise" and would need a full verb rather than a participle. I chose the answer "are persisting".

Dear hitesh2489,
I'm happy to respond.

Here's the beginning of the sentence:
Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, ...

Now, if the "persist" verb is a participle, parallel to "created", we would have
particles that comprise the atoms and molecules
//created in the progenitive explosion
and
persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.

That is the OA for this question.

If the "persist" verb is a full verb, parallel to the verb "comprise," then the structure would be
particles that
//comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion
and
//persist in even the emptiest regions of space.

First of all, it's not necessary, but it would add to the clarity to add a second "that" --- "that comprise ... that persist."

With the second "that," the parallelism to the verb "comprise" would be very clear. Even without that, it would still be substantially correct to have the verb "persist."

The choice "are persisting" is a brilliant trap answer. From a strict mathematical grammatical perspective, it would be technically correct, but it sounds absolutely awful. I know that this can be a very tricky issue for folks who have learned English as a second language. Any native speaker instantly sees that this is unacceptable. We use the present progressive for an ongoing activity, for an action, someone doing something. The verb "persist" is not really an active verb --- the participle simply continue to exist: they are not "doing" anything. That why, in almost any context, the present progressive form of the verb "persist" would sound awkward and unnatural. The same is true of other "existence" verbs, such as the verb "to be."

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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17 Oct 2015, 19:56
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11 Dec 2015, 22:46
Hi Mike,
I request you to kindly explain why (C) - persisted is incorrect ?

Regards
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14 Dec 2015, 10:29
tilkesh wrote:
Hi Mike,
I request you to kindly explain why (C) - persisted is incorrect ?

Regards

Dear tilkesh,

I'm happy to respond. Before I can answer your question effectively, I need to understand how you are thinking about this sentence. Tell me your understanding of what you think, or suspect, that (C) is correct. Explain exactly what you understand about the sentence and exactly what you don't understand, and I will be happy to help you.

Mike
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink]

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24 Dec 2015, 07:44
mikemcgarry wrote:
tilkesh wrote:
Hi Mike,
I request you to kindly explain why (C) - persisted is incorrect ?

Regards

Dear tilkesh,

I'm happy to respond. Before I can answer your question effectively, I need to understand how you are thinking about this sentence. Tell me your understanding of what you think, or suspect, that (C) is correct. Explain exactly what you understand about the sentence and exactly what you don't understand, and I will be happy to help you.

Mike

Tilkesh has not responded but I will take this opportunity to respond because I also have same doubt

1. I think it is purely meaning that whether it should be persisted or persisting (means still persist), I do not see anything wrong grammatically with persisted.
2. While trying to make it parallel, it sounds better with Created And Persisted.
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24 Dec 2015, 09:19
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neeraj609 wrote:
Tilkesh has not responded but I will take this opportunity to respond because I also have same doubt

1. I think it is purely meaning that whether it should be persisted or persisting (means still persist), I do not see anything wrong grammatically with persisted.
2. While trying to make it parallel, it sounds better with Created And Persisted.

Dear neeraj609,
I'm happy to respond.

There are a few subtle ideas here. One is the idea of transitive vs. iintransitive verb. A transitive verb is one that takes a direct object:
we say something
we borrow something
we use something

Those are all verbs that demand a direct object. If someone said "I buy" or "I borrow," that would be very confusing: the natural question would be "You buy what?" "You borrow what?"
Intransitive verbs are those that never take a direct object, that can't take a direct object.
we live
we sleep
we ail
we are

With these, it would sound unnatural to add a direct object: it would be awkward to say "I live something."

This distinction is confusing because many verbs can be used in both a transitive and intransitive sense:
intransitive: "I eat."--- transitive: "I eat a muffin."
intransitive: "I walk."--- transitive: "I walk the dog."
intransitive: "I play."--- transitive: "I play Monopoly."
These verbs can be used either on an intransitive sense (on their own, without a direct object) or in a transitive sense (with a direct object).

This distinction is important because any verb that is 100% intransitive can't be used in the passive sense. In the passive construction, the direct object becomes the subject, and if the verb never takes a direct object, nothing could ever be the subject of its passive formed. This is the consequence with full verbs.

It gets even more complicated with participles. The present participle (the "ing" participle) is an active participle. Every verb on the planet has a present participle. The past participle (the "ed" form for regular verbs) is a passive participle. Therefore, we cannot construct the passive participle of an intransitive verb and use it as a modifier.

Now, with all this terminology, we can discuss this particular sentence and your question.
The verb "to create" is a transitive verb.
I can create a sense of expectation about something.
God created the Heaven & Earth.

The verb takes direct objects. This means that we can use it both active and passive forms as a full verb, and it also means we can construct both participles:
creating = the present active participle
created = the past passive participle

By contrast, the verb "to persist" is an intransitive verb. We can say "I persist," but we can't say "I persist something." This verb exists only in the active sense, never in the passive sense. Furthermore, it only has on participle
persisting = the present active participle
persisted --> the past participle cannot be used as a modifier.

In this sentence, "created" is use correctly as a modifier. We need to put another modifier in parallel with it. The word "persisted" could be a past tense full verb (e.g. "The kingdom persisted for many centuries."), but we absolutely cannot use "persisted" as a participle, as a noun modifier. If we want a participle modifier in parallel, our only option is "persisting," the only participle the verb "to persist" has.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2016, 20:42
Great explanations mikemcgarry. Many Kudos!!

One clarification question - "particles are persisting" is awkward because particles are not doing anything is what you mentioned above in one of your posts. Does this mean "are verb-ing" structure can be used only with animate objects such as people or animals and not with inanimate objects such as things etc.?
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30 Aug 2016, 21:32
mikemcgarry wrote:
Hi, there. I'm happy to help with this.

Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.

First of all, the word "and" does not connect coordinating or subordinate clauses --- those require both a noun and verb. The word "and" connects two participial phrases (= participle form of a verb + object).

The compound noun, "atoms and molecules" is modified by the two participial phrases. Which "atoms and molecules"? The "atoms and molecules" that were "created" and are "persisting".

If you think about it, the phrase "the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion" is not a clause because it can't stand alone as a complete sentence. That's because instead of a full verb, you merely have the participle "created."

This is why the proper parallel element is another participle --- "persisting" (in the present tense, because that's still happening, whereas the "created" happened in the past --- in fact, way back at the Big Bang!)

So, the crucial "and" connects
(a) the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion,
with
(b) [the atoms and molecules] persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.

These are the two parallel participial phrases. As is often the case, the subject "the atoms and molecules" is implied and so it would be redundant to repeat it in the second phrases.

Does all of this make sense?

Only somewhat related, here's a free video lesson on GMAT SC that you may find helpful.

http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/599-int ... correction

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate in asking me.

Mike

Hi Mike,

Thank you for the explanation. I chose A because i thought we are talking about particles - and due to parallelism we need to choose persists e.g. particles that create ------- and persists. It does miss that to complete the parallelism but I thought we are referring back to particles.

How do i avoid such misses in future?
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2016, 14:14
manhasnoname wrote:
Great explanations mikemcgarry. Many Kudos!!

One clarification question - "particles are persisting" is awkward because particles are not doing anything is what you mentioned above in one of your posts. Does this mean "are verb-ing" structure can be used only with animate objects such as people or animals and not with inanimate objects such as things etc.?

Dear manhasnoname

I'm happy to respond.

First of all, my friend, I am going to give you some advice. Learn the proper names of grammatical forms so that you can ask precise questions. Precise speech leads to precise understanding. Confused speech leads to confusion. Don't use the term "verb -ing"---an extremely sloppy term. The form of the verb that ends with "-ing" can have three different roles:
1) present participle
2) gerund
3) part of a present progressive verb
Those three are profoundly different and have completely different roles in sentences. Learn those terms and understand them. If you refer to them all as "verb -ing," then you inadvertently have set the conditions for a massive amount of confusion. Better to avoid that sloppy term entirely.

The present progressive tense is designed to show actions that are in progress, that are in the process of occurring. The distinction you suggested, about animate vs. inanimate subjects, is not helpful: either could be used with a verb in the present progressive. What matters, instead, is the type of verb.

Many verbs are what I would call action verb, doing verbs: to walk, to talk, to buy, to sell, to eat, to think, etc. When we put a subject in front of one of these verbs, we are saying that this subject is performing some activity.

A few verbs are what I would call being verb, verbs that describe not an activity but a state of being. Examples are: to be, to seem, to appear, to persist, etc.

The present progressive makes perfect sense with an action verb: she is walking, he is talking, she is buying, he is selling, she is thinking, etc.

With at least some being verbs, the verb already denotes an ongoing activity, so use of the present progressive is redundant and awkward: is being, is seeming, is persisting, etc. Those are always awkward and wrong.

We have to be careful, because this is not a sharp black & white distinction. Some verb (live, die, continue, survive, etc.) are being verbs but there are conditions in which the use of the present progressive would make sense: she is living, he is dying, she is continuing to do X, he is surviving by doing Y, etc.

How does one learn which being verbs are permissible in the present progressive and which are not? By reading. There is no shortcut for a thorough and consistent habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
warriorguy wrote:
Hi Mike,

Thank you for the explanation. I chose A because i thought we are talking about particles - and due to parallelism we need to choose persists e.g. particles that create ------- and persists. It does miss that to complete the parallelism but I thought we are referring back to particles.

How do i avoid such misses in future?

Dear warriorguy

I'm happy to respond. What you are asking is an excellent question.

Ultimately, your question is about meaning. The GMAT SC is not simply a grammar test---the GMAT SC investigates how three important strands, grammar, logic, and rhetoric---all come together to produce meaning. There are no "tricks" for meaning: we always have to penetrate to what the author is trying to say.

This is a particularly tricky question, because the available answer choices limit the grammatical possibilities. Here's the question again.
Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the behavior of interstellar dust, particles that comprise the atoms and molecules created in the progenitive explosion and persisting in even the emptiest regions of space.
a) persisting
b) persists
c) persisted
d) they persisted
e) are persisting

When I first looked at this sentence, I thought that the underlined verb would be in parallel with the verb "comprise"---- the parallelism would be "particles that comprise ... and persist ...." Notice, though, that "persist" is not an answer choice.

You chose "persists." That's a singular verb, so it would not agree with the plural subject "participles." That's a straightforward SVA error.

The only legitimate plural verb is (E), "are persisting," which is very awkward, as I just explained to manhasnoname.

In fact, among the given answer choices, the only legitimate parallelism is that between participles, "created ... and persisting." This is a past passive participle in parallel with a present active participle, which is fine: tense does not matter for parallelism. This is the OA, answer choice (A).

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2016, 18:03
mikemcgarry wrote:
manhasnoname wrote:
Great explanations mikemcgarry. Many Kudos!!

One clarification question - "particles are persisting" is awkward because particles are not doing anything is what you mentioned above in one of your posts. Does this mean "are verb-ing" structure can be used only with animate objects such as people or animals and not with inanimate objects such as things etc.?

Dear manhasnoname

I'm happy to respond.

First of all, my friend, I am going to give you some advice. Learn the proper names of grammatical forms so that you can ask precise questions. Precise speech leads to precise understanding. Confused speech leads to confusion. Don't use the term "verb -ing"---an extremely sloppy term. The form of the verb that ends with "-ing" can have three different roles:
1) present participle
2) gerund
3) part of a present progressive verb
Those three are profoundly different and have completely different roles in sentences. Learn those terms and understand them. If you refer to them all as "verb -ing," then you inadvertently have set the conditions for a massive amount of confusion. Better to avoid that sloppy term entirely.

The present progressive tense is designed to show actions that are in progress, that are in the process of occurring. The distinction you suggested, about animate vs. inanimate subjects, is not helpful: either could be used with a verb in the present progressive. What matters, instead, is the type of verb.

Many verbs are what I would call action verb, doing verbs: to walk, to talk, to buy, to sell, to eat, to think, etc. When we put a subject in front of one of these verbs, we are saying that this subject is performing some activity.

A few verbs are what I would call being verb, verbs that describe not an activity but a state of being. Examples are: to be, to seem, to appear, to persist, etc.

The present progressive makes perfect sense with an action verb: she is walking, he is talking, she is buying, he is selling, she is thinking, etc.

With at least some being verbs, the verb already denotes an ongoing activity, so use of the present progressive is redundant and awkward: is being, is seeming, is persisting, etc. Those are always awkward and wrong.

We have to be careful, because this is not a sharp black & white distinction. Some verb (live, die, continue, survive, etc.) are being verbs but there are conditions in which the use of the present progressive would make sense: she is living, he is dying, she is continuing to do X, he is surviving by doing Y, etc.

How does one learn which being verbs are permissible in the present progressive and which are not? By reading. There is no shortcut for a thorough and consistent habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does this all make sense
Mike

The reason I used "verb-ing" is that I read it somewhere, some GMAT prep material (it is not my own creation). But now I totally see how confusing it is.

Also, reading my comment again, I do not know why I used "objects" instead of "subjects". How confusing... (I must have been half asleep when I posted). Very sorry for putting you through the confusion.

I read your article and it is exactly what I have been looking for. Everyone says "read" and "reading is the only way". Now I know what are the good sources.

Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the   [#permalink] 31 Aug 2016, 18:03
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