Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been

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Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had

(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was

(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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28 Oct 2013, 09:24
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bagdbmba wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

Please explain.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2012, 10:15
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Modifier "Digging in sediments in northern China" should change anything that comes after it.So here evidence is being modified by this phrase but that is clearly not the intended meaning.Evidences can not themselves dig something rather scientists are digging up evidences.This leaves us with choice (C) (D) and (E)

(C)Perfectly written.Present perfect and then Past tense.Earlier error of Past Perfect has been taken care of.
(D)As per 'VAN' rule Verb Adjective/Adverb and then Noun.We have a verb that is there in the option C also "than that which was" is totally confusing
(E)Same as D.Also "than that" is not properly construct

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27 Jul 2012, 16:27
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With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2013, 08:27
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Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has
been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex
life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists
suggesting that complex life-forms emerged
much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a
much earlier emergence of complex life-forms
than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting
that complex life-forms emerged much earlier
than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests
a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms
than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which
suggests a much earlier emergence of complex
life-forms than that

@ e-GMAT,
Please clarify the doubts I've on this question -

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

Please explain.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2013, 23:35
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mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

Please explain.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,
Thanks for your detailed explanation.

I've couple of doubts in what you've mentioned -
i] You've here mentioned "The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E). ". But in the first article that you've shared, in the example "1) Bartholomew doesn’t like people who talk too much." - 'who' without commas, is a restrictive modifier and this sentence is correct per GMAT. Right?

That means there are exceptions. We can't just eliminate option E because 'who' is NOT preceded by a 'comma' ?

ii] 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. Right? Please clarify.
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04 Nov 2013, 15:54
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bagdbmba wrote:
Hi Mike,
Thanks for your detailed explanation.

I've couple of doubts in what you've mentioned -
i] You've here mentioned "The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E). ". But in the first article that you've shared, in the example "1) Bartholomew doesn’t like people who talk too much." - 'who' without commas, is a restrictive modifier and this sentence is correct per GMAT. Right?

That means there are exceptions. We can't just eliminate option E because 'who' is NOT preceded by a 'comma' ?

ii] 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. Right? Please clarify.

Dear bagdbmba,
Hold on! The rules for "who" are NOT the same as the rules for "which". In the case of "who", (or "when" or "where") we have only one choice, so we have to use the same word in both restrictive and non-restrictive context, and the only thing that tells us the difference is the use of punctuation.
.... the modern house, where Frank lives. (Only one modern house exists in this context, and as it happens, Frank lives there.)
.... the modern house where Frank lives. (Frank's modern house, as oppose to any other modern house.)
With "that"/"which", we get two words, and the convention that the GMAT follows is that "that" is always used in the restrictive case (no comma), and "which" is always used in the non-restrictive case (with a comma). There are no exceptions. What happens with the other relative pronouns and adverbs is not a guide for what happens with these two words.
Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2014, 09:17
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liu1993918 wrote:
I have some thoughts about the correct sentece. If I am wrong, please correct me.

I remember a worng example in the MGMAT GUIDE: I see the man clenning the steps yeasterday. since the "cleaning" and "see" don't happen at the same time, it is wrong.

In the correct sentence: Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-formsemerged much earlier than previously thought.
In my views, "suggesting" and “gathered" also do not happened at the same time, but "suggest" is diffrent from the verb "clean" which happens instantly. "Suggest" is a constant action which happens all the time. Thus, that's why "suggesting" is correct here. Am I right?

Dear liu1993918,
I'm happy to respond. Yes, as you found out from MGMAT, a present participle (verb + "ing") takes on the tense of the main verb. If we need to establish a different time, we need to use a subordinate clause.
I see the man cleaning the steps yesterday. = wrong
I see the man who was cleaning the steps yesterday. = correct

Now, in this sentence, the very tricky thing is --- what is the tense of the main verb? The main verb is NOT "gathered," a past tense verb. The main verb is "have gathered," which is a present perfect verb. For more on the perfect tenses, see:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-verb ... ct-tenses/

The present perfect tense is a notoriously tricky tense, because even though it refers to an action that began in the past, either the action is still continuing, or its effect or relevance is still continuing. In some way, the action or its consequences are still very much present to us, even though the beginning of the action is in the past
"...scientists have gathered evidence ..."
Suppose that is factually true. What does it mean? Either the scientists are still gathering the evidence now, or the evidence-gathering has come to an end but the process of sorting through the evidence, interpreting it, and deciding what it means is still very much present to use In one way or another, the action of evidence-gathering is having a profound impact on our present moment. That is precisely what the present perfect tense implies.

The participle is completely correct --- the "digging" was simultaneous with the "evidence gathering" --- they are both in the present-perfect-tense time frame.

There's absolutely no problem here Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2016, 11:14
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RAHKARP27071989 wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry,

Thanks alot for such a debrief.
I agree that in the above-mentioned examples, C is best.

But what I am more concerned about is that.

Is NOUN + THAT + VERB = NOUN + VERB-ing OR it depends on context..??
If depends on context, then can you please provide few examples so that I can comprehend this concept at my best.

I come across question on same concept:

In 1850 Lucretia Mott published her Discourse on Women, arguing in a treatise for
women to have equal political and legal rights
and for changes in the married women’s
property laws.

A. arguing in a treatise for women to have equal political and legal rights
B. arguing in a treatise for equal political and legal rights for women
C. a treatise that advocates women’s equal political and legal rights
D. a treatise advocating women’s equal political and legal rights
E. a treatise that argued for equal political and legal rights for women

OA- E

I agree that we need parallelism after legal rights ( For women and for changes)
But, if we leave this aside..
Is there any difference between C and D..??

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar

Dear Prakhar,
I'm happy to respond.

The short answer is: it depends.

In the structure [noun]"that"[verb], the "that" clause is clearly a noun-modifier modifying the noun it touches. That's the only option.

In the structure [noun][participle], the participle usually would be an noun-modifier modifying the noun, but participles can be either noun-modifiers or verb modifier, and this allows them considerably more flexibility in their use. Example
Yankee Doodle came to town riding on a pony.
In that oft-quoted sentence, the participle "riding" is acting as a verb modifier, modifying the action of the clause. It describes the manner in which Yankee Doodle "came." The participle "riding" is not modifying the noun "town;" thus, the "that" clause substitution would produce a very different, illogical, and incorrect sentence.
Yankee Doodle came to a town that rides on a pony (!)

Often if the participle is a verb or clause modifier, it would be separated from the noun by a comma:
The teacher yelled at the class, scaring the students into obedience.

It all depends on context. In the question about Lucretia Mott (OG13, SC #41; OG2016, SC #60), (C) & (D) have identical meanings, but as you know, both are wrong in the larger context of that sentence.

My friend, it is 100% impossible to arrive at mastery of SC by learning some ideal collection of rules. The problem is that there is always too much that depends on context. To arrive at mastery, it is absolutely indispensable to develop the habit of reading. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/how-to-imp ... bal-score/

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2012, 09:05
ChrisLele wrote:
With this question we can quickly home in on the 2:3 split. Notice the participial phrase beginning 'digging...'. The word that comes directly after the comma must describe who is doing the digging. Clearly it is the archaeologists, not the evidence, that is digging. Thus we can eliminate (A), (B).

Both (D) and (E) are filled with unnecessary verbiage. (D) 'than that which..' and (E) '...than that.' We simply need a phrase that modifies 'emerge.' 'That' is used to describe comparisons between nouns. 'That' is a pronoun that is used to refers to a noun. Therefore (C) is best: 'emerged...than previously thought.'

Hi,

Although I choose C, but I am always confused while choosing Gerund.

In Between C & D, please explain which is better "Evidence Suggesting" or "evidence that Suggests" and why?

Please let me know if there is any article on this topic so kindly let me know.

Regards,
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2012, 10:37
suggesting is not playing a role of verb+ing modifier then can we use two verbs in the same independent clause ?
with subject-scientist verb 1 -digging, verb 2- suggesting ?
please clarify.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2012, 07:20
thevenus wrote:
suggesting is not playing a role of verb+ing modifier then can we use two verbs in the same independent clause ?
with subject-scientist verb 1 -digging, verb 2- suggesting ?
please clarify.

Yes indeed it is the modifier(present participle) modifying evidence Just before it.

Just to add this discussion- Emergence(noun) emerged(verb ) flipped in different ans choices ..
please keep an eye for shorter forms that is verb . Maxm chances verb form sentences will be correct.

I have doubt .. Is "a much" is wrong? should we always use 'Much'.
A much better way than.... Is it correct ?
much better way than... . Is this correct.?
if both are correct which one to prefer.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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19 Jan 2013, 07:22
"that" is used to compare 2 different nouns, so it has to be used in paralel structure. "that" is never used as stand alone pronoun
"it" is used to compare the same noun at different context.

so

"that which" is never correct on gmat. remember this mechanically .
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06 Feb 2013, 09:38
"that" pronoun is used to refer to a noun different from prevous noun and is used in paralel pattern. When parallel pattern can be tolerate, "that" must be refer to a noun clearly.

in D and E, there is no parallel pattern and it is not clear "that " refer to which noun. this is the real reason which makes D and E wrong.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2013, 02:10
Modifier error- digging... followed be 'who is doing the digging'- scientists. Then look out for the best answer choice. C is the best
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 08:57
parallel phrase make pronoun "that" clear and unambiguous. "that" can be used in non parallel stucture if the context make "that" unambiguous. There is one gmatprep question which show this acceptable non parallel pharase.

in D and E "that" is ambiguous.

so, be carefull of "that" pronoun and never underestimate the og and gmatprep problem. some questions seam to contradict one another but the are beautiful terriblly.

now, I am highly interested in discussion of official problem. the bad news is that gmat force us to infer the rule.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2013, 21:26
I am curious to know that if I change option (E) as explained below would that be correct then:

Original:
scientists have gathered evidence which
suggests a much earlier emergence of complex
life-forms than that

Modified:
scientists have gathered evidence,which
suggests a much earlier emergence of complex
life-forms than that

As comparisons are killing me these days, I want to clarify this doubt

emergence ~= that (emergence) previously thought .

Plz advise !
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2013, 01:52
I think that "than that..." in D and E is correct because "that" can refer to "emergence" which is a noun.

however, "that" is used is parallel pattern normally.

the book on the table and that on the chair are mine.

"that" in D and E is not in parallel pattern and so, is not prefered. "that" in D and E can be acceptable and can appear in OA in other sc problems if there is no better choices in those questions . So, do not think that "that" in unparallel pattern is wrong immediately.

in this sc problem, C is better and we can avoid "that" in unparallel pattern . we can eliminate D and E

I see that in many cases, a pattern is OA is some sc problems but is eliminate in other sc problems. This is problem of PREFERENCE not problem of absolute grammar rules.

is my thinking correct? pls comment.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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31 Oct 2013, 10:54
Thanks, bagdbmba, for posting your query here as suggested. Also, thanks to Mike for the very comprehensive response!

bagdbmba: to put it simply, when 'which' refers to the noun before it, there should be a comma between 'which' and the noun. Secondly, 'that' is incorrect in option E since it is functioning as a pronoun in this option, whereas the part after 'than' should actually refer to what the scientists had previously thought.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

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Meghna
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2013, 23:47
egmat wrote:
Thanks, bagdbmba, for posting your query here as suggested. Also, thanks to Mike for the very comprehensive response!

bagdbmba: to put it simply, when 'which' refers to the noun before it, there should be a comma between 'which' and the noun. Secondly, 'that' is incorrect in option E since it is functioning as a pronoun in this option, whereas the part after 'than' should actually refer to what the scientists had previously thought.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

Regards,
Meghna

Thanks Meghna for your reply.

So what I understand from your reply is 'which' can even refer to something else (NOT noun) before it. And in that case it doesn't need to be preceded by a 'comma'. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

In comparison we mostly use 'that' as to indicate the noun replacement - as a pronoun in the second clause I think.
Let's consider this sentence : Temperature in Egypt is much higher than that in Moscow. ----> here 'that' represents 'Temperature' and is a pronoun. Right?

And 'that' in option E refers to the emergence of complex life-forms I think and it's not verb. And that's what the scientists had previously thought of...Right? Please clarify.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been   [#permalink] 02 Nov 2013, 23:47

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