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A little under a million years ago, the briny waters of the Baltic Sea began flooding into the cold North Atlantic: geologists are still debating whether the flood was gradual or created a cataclysm. (A) whether the flood was gradual or created a cataclysm
(B) if the flood was gradual or created a cataclysm
(C) about whether the flood was gradual or cataclysmic
(D) whether the flood was gradual or cataclysmic
(E) whether the flood was gradual or it created a cataclysm
Please explain your answer.
Can somebody also explain the use of
debating about, debating whether, debating about whether and debate over, perhaps giving some examples
Sorry for including the wrong link up there.
Some grammar rules now.
Debate about/Debate over: can be used interchangeably meaning that there is ONE issue at hand and we want to deal with it
Debating whether/Debating about whether: these two mean that there is an issue at hand but that there are two alternatives to the given issue
ie The Senate debated over the usefulness of the new bill. --> a general debate on the usefulness of the new bill at hand
ie The Senate debated about whether the new bill should be abolished. --> a debate over the new bill but about whether the new bill should be abolished or not. In this example, it is not necessary to complete the idiom with "or", and the alternate choice, since "whether" followed by only one of the two alternatives is in and of itself sufficient.
If Debate about whether and Debate whether are both correct, then why is C incorrect here? (My convoluted mind picked C - IS D is more simple way of saying the same?)
Sorry I did not look at the original question You got a point here. D is better because it is more concise. So I guess "debate about whether" is too wordy in GMAT-world. Grammatically speaking, these are very subtle differences and I'm not sure whether it can be wrong in a real world context. But since you have to decide between the two, D would be the choice to go with. A similar example would be with "decide about whether/decide whether". The second choice is better, due to conciseness, when talking about choosing between 2 alternatives although you can talk about "deciding about" some issue at hand.
Conclusion: "Decide about whether" is wrong whereas "decide whether" is more concise in the GMAT context