Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium

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14 Jul 2012, 02:14
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58% (01:45) correct 42% (00:58) wrong based on 336 sessions

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Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium is spread and why the disease it causes, listeriosis, afflicts some people in a contaminated area though it spares many others.
(A) though it spares
(B) where it spares
(C) despite sparing
(D) when sparing
(E) while sparing

Quote:
i chose E but then changed the choice to A
my doubt is whether the use of while sparing with afflicts some people follow //ism?
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Doctors still know littl [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2012, 07:23
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This is a tricky question in so far as whether it tests pronoun ambiguity or //ism. However, together with these two factors, in my personal opinion, there is a third but IMO primary factor, namely the use of appropriates a subordinate conjunction. The text intends to say that it afflicts some people at the same time it spares some others. This simultaneity is the essence of this topic, I feel.

(A) though it spares… The pronoun’s ambiguity, though not very critical, is in play and the conjunction – though - shows contrast but not concurrentness

(B) where it spares… The pronoun’s ambiguity, though not very critical is in play and the conjunction – where - shows a place of action rather than concurrentness

(C) despite sparing ------ Despite does not bring out simultaneity

(D) when sparing ------ When does not bring out contrast
(E) while sparing -------- while brings out contrast as well as simultaneity; hence, the preferred choice.

However, do GMAT questions skate on such thin ice? Very odd.
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Re: Doctors still know littl [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2012, 03:50
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Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium is spread and why the disease( it causes, listeriosis, )afflicts some people (in a contaminated area) while sparing many others

The answer lies in //ism. Read the above while ignoring the brackets.
...disease afflicts some people while sparing many others is //

At first glance even I fell for A but a closer look helped identify the mistake.
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Re: Doctors still know littl [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2012, 11:49
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I can tell why when and where are wrong
and why is option A here is wrong due to the usage of "it"
Despite --- in spite of
I dont know why despite is wrong but I preferred While over despite.
usage of While
It can actually mean two things:
1) while = at the same time as.
2) while = although, or some sort of contrast.
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23 Feb 2014, 03:02
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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30 Mar 2015, 08:34
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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15 Jul 2016, 06:35
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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15 Jul 2016, 08:16
maybeam wrote:
Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium is spread and why the disease it causes, listeriosis, afflicts some people in a contaminated area though it spares many others.
(A) though it spares
(B) where it spares
(C) despite sparing
(D) when sparing
(E) while sparing

Quote:
i chose E but then changed the choice to A
my doubt is whether the use of while sparing with afflicts some people follow //ism?

Interesting question. Took me some time, but using POE I arrived at (E). Here's how I eliminated all other answer choices.

A) though it spares - At first, this answer choice seems quite attractive. But, "it" changes meaning. Here, "it" can mean the contaminated area. Did the contaminated area spare other? Nope. That's why this answer choice is incorrect.

B) where it spares - Another attractive answer choice. However, same issue as (A). Incorrect.

C) despite sparing - Doctors still know little about...despite sparing many others. Doesn't convey the right meaning.

D) when sparing - Doctors still know little about...when sparing many others. Not the intended meaning the sentence conveys.

E) while sparing - replace this in the sentence and you get the correct meaning. Here, "while" means "although". This answer choices conveys the right meaning.

That's why (E) is the right answer.
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17 Jul 2016, 22:38
jayshah0621 wrote:
maybeam wrote:
Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium is spread and why the disease it causes, listeriosis, afflicts some people in a contaminated area though it spares many others.
(A) though it spares
(B) where it spares
(C) despite sparing
(D) when sparing
(E) while sparing

Quote:
i chose E but then changed the choice to A
my doubt is whether the use of while sparing with afflicts some people follow //ism?

Interesting question. Took me some time, but using POE I arrived at (E). Here's how I eliminated all other answer choices.

A) though it spares - At first, this answer choice seems quite attractive. But, "it" changes meaning. Here, "it" can mean the contaminated area. Did the contaminated area spare other? Nope. That's why this answer choice is incorrect.

B) where it spares - Another attractive answer choice. However, same issue as (A). Incorrect.

C) despite sparing - Doctors still know little about...despite sparing many others. Doesn't convey the right meaning.

D) when sparing - Doctors still know little about...when sparing many others. Not the intended meaning the sentence conveys.

E) while sparing - replace this in the sentence and you get the correct meaning. Here, "while" means "although". This answer choices conveys the right meaning.

That's why (E) is the right answer.

I think pronoun ambiguity is not a big issue over here and also it is very weak criteria. We should try to eliminate by pronoun ambiguity as last resort. It referred earlier in the sentence refers to Bacteria,so second it should also refer to Bacteria.
Doctors still know little about how the Listeria bacterium   [#permalink] 17 Jul 2016, 22:38
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