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Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the

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Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink] New post 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 cordinating clauses .A cordinating clause is supposed to have a verb .Even if this is not the case the two parts that the conjuction "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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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang [#permalink] New post 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 [#permalink] New post 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 [#permalink] New post 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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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink] New post 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,
Can you please advise why "are persisting" is wrong.
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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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2014, 10:48
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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink] New post 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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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink] New post 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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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the [#permalink] New post 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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Re: Astronomers have theorized that the Big Bang governs the   [#permalink] 28 Sep 2014, 10:59
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