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Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that"

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Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2011, 08:21
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Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable at first from ordinary fluctuations in the financial markets

* so gradual as to be indistinguishable
* so gradual that they can be indistinguishable
* so gradual that they are unable to be distinguished
* gradual enough not to be distinguishable
* gradual enough so that one cannot distinguish them

Experts could you explain why option B is wrong? Is construction "so..as to" preferred over "so..that"?
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Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2011, 19:26
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“So as to” vs. “so that” is a “red-herring” split here. In other words, either form is fine. The GMAT has gone back and forth on "so as to" (see Ch. 9 of our SC book), but you wouldn't want to eliminate on this basis alone.

In any case, the idiom “so as to” will generally have an intervening term: “So X as to Y.”

The award-winning pumpkin was so large as to require a special scale.

Note that the odd form of this idiom puts "require" in the present tense. Its size was large enough to cause this requirement.

We can also use “so that” with a more straightforward construction:

The award-winning pumpkin was so large that it required a special scale.

In the case of the posted problem, the difficulty with B has nothing to do with "so as to" vs. "so that"--it's the word “can.” We want to say that the changes actually are indistinguishable, not that they *can* be indistinguishable. This is a great example of the kind of meaning-based difference that can catch you if you are only focused on grammar rules. Beware!
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Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York


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Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2011, 09:59
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Can you post where this question is from? Sometimes there are copyright restrictions that prohibit us from answering, so we need to know the source of the material.
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JP Park | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Los Angeles

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Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2011, 10:01
parker wrote:
Can you post where this question is from? Sometimes there are copyright restrictions that prohibit us from answering, so we need to know the source of the material.


Hi Parker,

This is GMATPrep Question.
Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that"   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2011, 10:01
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Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that"

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