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# GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic

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GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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14 May 2013, 12:54
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GMAT Pill presents...

[To do something] vs [For/from doing something]

Which to choose?

A Secret Idiomatic Best Practice for the GMAT

What You'll See on GMAT

Oftentimes on the GMAT, you will be picking between 2 options.

1) sometimes both options are actually OK
2) sometimes 1 option is preferred by GMAC folks over the other (even though both can be argued to be technically correct)

Now why would a #2 situation come up?

Well, you see – the GMAT directions are to choose the BEST of the available options. So even though two options can be technically / grammatically OK – only one is the PREFERRED GMAT answer.

So we came up with a rule to help you – a rule that holds true for virtually all Official Guide and GMATPrep questions.

Here's the RULE

In the specific idiomatic case of “to do X” vs “for/from doing X”

--> Always choose “to do X”

In the specific idiomatic case of “for doing X” vs “does X”

--> Always choose “does X”

GMAT Pill has done the homework on Official Guide and GMATPrep questions to provide you specific examples supporting the rule above.

Example #1: Official Guide (OG13) SC18

Quote:
18. Warning that computers in the United States are not secure, the National Academy of Sciences has urged the nation to revamp computer security procedures, institute new emergency response teams, creating a special nongovernment organization to take charge of computer security planning.

(D) and create a special nongovernment organization for taking
(E) and create a special nongovernment organization to take

Notice the only difference between (D) and (E) is the last two words. You are tasked to choose between “for taking” and “to take.”

Well, the official answer is (E) “to take” – supporting our rule that “to do X” is preferred on the GMAT over “for doing X.”

Some grammar experts will argue that both are OK – but on the GMAT, we at GMAT Pill know that answer choice (E) is the one to pick.
Now, not all answer choices will be so clear cut in terms of differing from other answer choices by only that one concept. Below are more real examples from OG and GMAT Prep.

Example #2: Official Guide (OG13) SC51

Quote:
51. A new study suggests that the conversational pace of everyday life may be so brisk it hampers the ability of some children for distinguishing discrete sounds and words and, the result is to make sense of speech.

(A) it hampers the ability of some children for distinguishing discrete sounds and words and, the result is, to make

(B) that it hampers the ability of some children to distinguish discrete sounds and words and, as a result, to make

Is it “the ability to distinguish” or “the ability for distinguishing” ?

Here (B) is the answer – so we know “ability to distinguish” is the right one.

Sure, there are other elements wrong with (A).

For example, (A) is missing the word “that” in the very beginning. The phrase should read:

“…so brisk THAT it [the conversational pace…] hampers the ability…”

So yes, (A) has problems BESIDES the concept we are discussing here.

But even IF (A) and (B) were exactly the same except for “for distinguishing” vs “to distinguish” – we would STILL choose “to distinguish” (answer B).

Example #3: Official Guide (OG13) SC34

Quote:
34. Beyond the immediate cash flow crisis that the museum faces, its survival depends on if it can broaden its membership and leave its cramped quarters for a site where it can store and exhibit its more than 12,000 artifacts.

(D) its ability for broadening its membership and leaving

The official guide explanation specifically says that (D) should be “its ability to broaden, not for broadening”

So this provides further support to the thesis that GMAC folks do not like the “for doing X” option.

Example #4: Official Guide (OG13) SC34

2 examples in 1

Quote:
68. Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt bv selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months. First, let’s look at the first few words of this sentece: “Outlining his strategy for nursing…” Clearly, this is the non-underlined portion of the sentence so we can safely assume that the grammar here is correct. This does not necessarily mean the other option is wrong. It does not necessarily mean that “Outlining his strategy to nurse…” is wrong. Remember, both options can technically be correct. Just because GMAC prefers the “to do X” option does not necessarily mean they can’t use the “for doing X” option in its sentences. So be open-minded to both possibilities being correct when you read through GMAT test questions. Now, let’s get back to the question: Quote: 68. Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt bv selling nearly$12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

(A) executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt byselling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months (C) executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly$12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday

(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly \$12 billion in assets over the next 18 months

Notice you are now asked to choose between “plans for cutting” or “plans to cut”
GMAC folks prefer the simpler version “plans to cut” instead of “plans for cutting. And it turns out the correct answer here is (D) – which supports this idea.

As was the case with the previuos question – yes, there are other issues wrong with (A) and (C). Namely, the word “executive” cannot appear in its possessive form “executive’s” if it is positioned at the SUBJECT of the sentence when there is an –ING verb “Outlining” that is structurally positioned to modify “executive.”

When we have this –ING verb “outlining” positioned in this way (see GMAT Pill Framework #3), then the subject must appear in its original natural form ---not the possessive form.

So yes, both (A) and (C) have this problem.

But if everything else were the same besides the “plans for cutting” vs “plans to cut” concept – we would choose “plans to cut” as the answer.

Example #5: GMAT Prep

Quote:
181. In some species of cricket, the number of chirps per minute used by the male for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve as an approximate thermometer.
A. for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve.
B.for attracting females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, which can in fact serve
C. in attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.
D. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and it can in fact serve.
E. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.

Here the answer is (D) – yet another example fo a question that asks you to choose between “for attracting” and “to attract” and the answer is “to attract.”

Example #6: GMAT Prep SC

Quote:
184. The global-warming effect of ocean white caps are one of the many aspects of the ocean environment that are not yet incorporated in any detail into computer models used for predicting how rising greenhouse gas concentrations could affect climate.
A. The global-warming effect of ocean white caps are one of the many aspects of the ocean environment that are not yet incorporated in any detail into computer models used for predicting
B. The effect of ocean white caps on global warming is one of the many aspects of the ocean environment that are not yet incorporated in any detail into the computer models used to predict
C. That ocean white caps have an effect on global warming is one of the many aspects of the ocean environment not yet having been incorportated in any detail into the computer models that are used for predicting.

In this GMATPrep example, you are asked to choose between “used for predicting” and “used to predict.”

The answer is (B) – which mentions “used to predict” instead of “used for predicting” as we expect.

What if “to do X” is not an option?

What if you are asked to choose between “for doing X” vs “that does X” ?

Here are examples:

Example #7: GMAT Prep SC

Quote:
In a blow to those who still harbored the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments that a recipient had added as the message is forwarded to others or sent back and forth.
A. who still harbored the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments that a recipient had added
B. who had still been harboring the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person was privy to any comments that a recipient might have added.
C. who still were harboring the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a warchdog group recently uncovered a trick enabling an interloper to rig and E-mail message so that this person is privy to any comments that a recipient would add.
D. still harboring the illusion that E-mail exchange are private , a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick that enables an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments that a recipient might add
E. still harboring the illusion that E-mail exchanges had been private, a wathchdog group recently uncovered a trick that will enable an interloper to rig and E-mail message so that this person was privy to any comments that a recipient might add.

Between these 5 answer choices, notice the correct answer is (D) – which uses the simplest version: “uncovered a trick that enables”

This is effectively choosing “that does X” over “for doing X”

Remember, the GMAC folks prefer simplicity – so when “to do X” is not available but “that does X” IS available, then you want to chose “that does X.”

In this case, you choose “uncovered a trick THAT enables X” – answer choice (D).

Example #8: GMAT Prep SC

Quote:
111. The two oil companies agreed to merge their refining and marketing operations in the Midwest and the West, forming a new company for controlling nearly fifteen of the nation’s gasoline sales.
A. forming a new company for controlling
B. forming a new company that would control

Here’s yet another example when you choose between “for controlling” vs “that would control”

Another alternative, if it were an available answer choice, would be:

“forming a new company that controls nearly fifteen of the nation’s gasoline sales”

But since this is not an available answer choice, then between (A) and (B) above, we choose the simpler choice (B).

Any Counter Examples?

So with so many of examples of official questions that prefer the “to do X” form over “for/from doing X” form – then when would the “for doing X” version be correct?

Well, again, both forms can technically be correct – it’s just that in test questions, GMAC prefers the simpler version.

GMAC itself uses “for doing X” in some of its explanations.

One example is in the OG explanation for #75 on page 740 where it says:

“The idiom as a means to correctly communicates that stressing the arts is a method for achieving greater economic development.”

“For achieving” is only used when there is a NOUN (rather than a VERB) before the “for verb+ing” phrase.

1) “Stressing the arts is a method for achieving greater economic development” is OK
2) “Stressing the arts is a method to achieve greater economic development” can also be OK.

The fact that GMAC uses (1) instead of (2) does not necessarily mean (2) is wrong. Quite the contrary, in fact – as we have noted in all the previous examples above.

Yes, there are select examples that violate the rule…

But the ONLY real example we could find in which “for doing X” is a correct answer is with idiomatic exceptions.

And these idiomatic exceptions are from OLD editions of the official guide – the 11th edition.

GMAC folks are recognizing that non-native students have a tough time understanding these idiomatic intricacies – so they have removed them from the most recent official guide editions and probably from their database of currently active GMAT questions for test takers.

What do I mean by idiomatic exception?

Well, here’s one.

IDIOMATIC EXCEPTION (“provide support FOR doing X”)

Again, these types of exceptions are likely not common in current GMAT questions. But if you really wanted to know – past questions included ones that show “for doing X” as the correct answer:

Example #9: OG11 #11 (old OG edition, less relevant)

Quote:
OG11 #11 New genetic evidence-together with recent studies of elephants' skeletons, tusks, and other anatomical features-//provide compelling support for classifying//Africa's forest elephants and its savanna elephants as separate species.

C.provides compelling support to the classification of

D.provides compelling support for classifying

E.provides compelling support to classify

Idiomatically, you provide support TO someone or some group or organization.

You can’t provide support to a verb.

The sentence above boils down to:

“Evidence provides support to do something…”

But we know idiomatically that “Evidence cannot provide support to do something.”

You can only provide support TO someone or some organization or group – not to an action verb.

What you CAN say is this:

“Evidence provides compelling support to scientists for classifying..” (answer choice D)

In this case you are providing support TO SOMEONE.

But even if we left out “to scientists” assuming it is implied, we are still left with:

(D): “Evidence provides compelling support for classifying” (NOT “to classify”)

So it boils down to the fact that the word SUPPORT is an idiomatic exception that requires someone or some organization to be the recipient of that support as in:

“Evidence provides compelling support to scientists for X…”

“Nurses provide help/aid to patients for their illnesses…”

So the problem with (E) is that “provides compelling support to classify” – represents a unique idiomatic exception.

Another idiomatic example: PENCHANT

You have a penchant for learning. - idiomatically correct

You have a penchant to learn - not idiomatically correct

So besides this idiomatic exception, GMAC genearlly does not like answer choices involving “for + verb-ing”

We’ve supported this statement with the numerous examples above. That’s why:

When given the task to choose between “to do X” vs “doing X” -

you should choose the simpler form “to do X.”

Here's the RULE

In the specific idiomatic case of “to do X” vs “for/from doing X”

--> Always choose “to do X”

In the specific idiomatic case of “for doing X” vs “does X”

--> Always choose “does X”

Attachments

GMATPill-todo-vs-doing-gmatclub.pdf [577.04 KiB]

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Re: "To do X" vs "Doing X" - A Secret Idiomatic Best Practice [#permalink]

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15 May 2013, 07:48
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in "noun for doing", noun dose not cause the doing

in "noun doing/noun that do" noun causes the doing

we should know this point to see which one is logic.

"to do" is used to show the purpose of the previous clause. we do not used "for doing" to show the purpose of the previou clause.

for doing is a prepositional phrase which can modifiy a noun
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Re: "To do X" vs "Doing X" - A Secret Idiomatic Best Practice [#permalink]

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16 May 2013, 09:43
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vietmoi999 wrote:
in "noun for doing", noun dose not cause the doing

in "noun doing/noun that do" noun causes the doing

we should know this point to see which one is logic.

"to do" is used to show the purpose of the previous clause. we do not used "for doing" to show the purpose of the previou clause.

for doing is a prepositional phrase which can modifiy a noun

Not sure if that makes total sense. Let's look at an example:

"They use computer models to predict"

Your notes above seem to imply that the computer models cause the predicting - that doesn't quite make sense here. Just wanted to clarify so others don't get confused.
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Re: "To do X" vs "Doing X" - A Secret Idiomatic Best Practice [#permalink]

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16 May 2013, 10:53
Nicely put, but, as for the post, I would rather recommend it to advanced students. The rule of a thumb that you have drafted may be useful, although not necessarily on the GMAT. As shown, one is rarely left to such a critical choice on the exam. Moreover, taking into account multiple idioms that are tested on the GMAT, which not always follow the rule of a thumb, this rule may be misleading. I mean that one should not eliminate ACs by this rule. E.g. both the "method for doing sh" and "method of doing sh" are idiomatical and excluding an AC because of the "for"/"of" may lead to incorrect AC. There are numerous cases like this one (e.g. see Manhattan SC, Chapter 9). As for me, I wholeheartedly espouse a tested English ABC: Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity. Actually, I think that this is what your point can be boiled down to. However, idiomatic language can never be trimmed down to plug 'n chug like "sh vs sh".
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Re: "To do X" vs "Doing X" - A Secret Idiomatic Best Practice [#permalink]

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17 May 2013, 08:32
Note the GMAT rarely tests you only on idioms - they've been phasing out idioms over the past several years. So sure, there are exceptions - but as noted above, the only exception we could find was one from an older version of the OG. That question does not appear in the latest OG13 version. We suspect GMAT removed this particular question as part of their effort to move away from idioms. So the chances of this rule falling apart are quite slim without idioms in the way.

So sure, you can choose not to follow this rule of thumb - but as shown above, following this general rule of thumb can get you better results on a large number of questions than you might otherwise get.

More generally, "to do x" is considered simpler/clearer than "doing x" - so in that sense it matches the brevity/clarity you are referring to. It's the same idea.
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2013, 01:18
I was eliminating the "for doing" answer cauz it just a gerund and my rule of thumb was "Inf." is always better than "Gerund"
Can I still rely on this or what?
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2013, 08:25
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sinchicodo wrote:
I was eliminating the "for doing" answer cauz it just a gerund and my rule of thumb was "Inf." is always better than "Gerund"
Can I still rely on this or what?

Hi sinchicodo,

This is the same idea.

In our teachings, we try to avoid using phrases such as "gerund" or "participial phrase" or "subjunctive clause" - that's why we just call it "doing" vs "to do"--so that students who do not understand complex grammar terminology can still ace the GMAT.

What you mention as gerund vs infinitive - is the same idea. The infinitive "to do" is generally viewed as simpler according to GMAC folks - and therefore preferred/correct.
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 00:40
I am not clear of FOR DOING/TO DO

but I think that TO DO is used when the subject of the previous verb is agent of TO DO
DOING is used when the agent of DOING is not the subject of the previous verb. DOING refers to a general action.

I want to follow this posting.
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2013, 07:33
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vietmoi999 wrote:
I am not clear of FOR DOING/TO DO

but I think that TO DO is used when the subject of the previous verb is agent of TO DO
DOING is used when the agent of DOING is not the subject of the previous verb. DOING refers to a general action.

I want to follow this posting.

You may not fully understand it right away - but I encourage you to pay attention to the so many GMAT questions that have answer choices with these 2 options.

Oftentimes, students tell us they are stuck between 2 answer choices and don't know which one to pick.

Well, many times---if you stick to this rule - you'll choose the right answer. The other one may technically be error-free, but since the GMAT folks want you to pick the BEST one--then that's your job.

You don't want to spend all the effort to eliminate 3 of the 5 answer choices--and then end up picking the wrong answer--not because there is something wrong with it--but rather because it is not the PREFERRED form on the GMAT.

For further practice, please see: http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-practice-t ... questions/
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2013, 10:05
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gmatpill experts, pls note my idea

to do is use after subject+verb, a clause to show the intent of the main clause.
when "to do" is used after noun or adjective, the pattern is idiomatic

I will re study this topic. Thank you for gmatpill experts for posting this topic
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2013, 02:56
thank you gmatpill experts for posting the problem.

honestly, I read the article but do not fully understand. I will reread it one time more.

for now, I want to make some ideas. I wish you will consider my idea to write more for us. there are 3 standard/aspect on which we decide to use "to do" or "for doing"

1.
"to do" is used to show purpose of the subject and main verb in the previous clause. "for doing" is not used in this case.
2.
after noun or adjective, the use of "to do" or "for doing" is dependent on the idioms
3.
normally, "doing" can be a participle which refer to a specific action of a specific noun in the main clause. there are only a few patterns in which doing is used as participle. the following patterns

- noun+doing phrase
-doing+noun
- doing phrase+comma+main clause
- main clause+comma+doing phrase.

in other patterns, "doing" is used as gerund, which refer to general action and refer to no specific noun in the main clause. in this case, action noun is prefered over "doing"; "attempt" is prefered over "trying" . the different fuctions of "doing" makes grammarians give them 2 names : participle and gerund.

evidence is used for classifying the genes. (here "evidence" dose not do "classifying" )

so we have one more standard ,with which to decide "to do" of "for doing" is used.

using 3 standards above, we decide to use "to do" or "for doing"

this is hard, I am confuse many times
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2013, 03:31
the lesion to learn

is correct

the lesion for learning

is not correct.

I think there is idiom here . there is no previous clause before "the lession"

used to attract

is idiom.

this is very hard. I hope gmat dose not test un this point.
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2013, 09:45
vietmoi999 wrote:
thank you gmatpill experts for posting the problem.

honestly, I read the article but do not fully understand. I will reread it one time more.

for now, I want to make some ideas. I wish you will consider my idea to write more for us. there are 3 standard/aspect on which we decide to use "to do" or "for doing"

1.
"to do" is used to show purpose of the subject and main verb in the previous clause. "for doing" is not used in this case.
2.
after noun or adjective, the use of "to do" or "for doing" is dependent on the idioms
3.
normally, "doing" can be a participle which refer to a specific action of a specific noun in the main clause. there are only a few patterns in which doing is used as participle. the following patterns

- noun+doing phrase
-doing+noun
- doing phrase+comma+main clause
- main clause+comma+doing phrase.

in other patterns, "doing" is used as gerund, which refer to general action and refer to no specific noun in the main clause. in this case, action noun is prefered over "doing"; "attempt" is prefered over "trying" . the different fuctions of "doing" makes grammarians give them 2 names : participle and gerund.

evidence is used for classifying the genes. (here "evidence" dose not do "classifying" )

so we have one more standard ,with which to decide "to do" of "for doing" is used.

using 3 standards above, we decide to use "to do" or "for doing"

this is hard, I am confuse many times

vietmoi,

I think you're overthinking it. You may be technically right in some ways - but with so much analysis and fancy verbal terminology, you'll just experience paralysis on the exam!

- doing phrase+comma+main clause
- main clause+comma+doing phrase.

---these 2 are not relevant at all to this topic. Sure you'll see the -ING words in these cases:

"Doing X, this person blah blah blah.."
or the flipped version "This person blah blah blah, doing X"

---BUT both of these are NOT examples of "to do" vs "doing" (the topic of this post)

The example usage we are addressing looks more like this:

"The main reason the government created program X was for helping"
"The main reason the government created program X was to help"

---choose "to help"

Does this necessarily mean "for helping" is wrong? No!

You see, the key takeaway here is not to look at these "to do" vs "doing" situations as black and white.

It's NOT black and white.

Both can be technically correct.

But again--IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE...and oftentimes on the GMAT when you eliminate down to 2 answer choices, you will be asked to choose between 2 seemingly good answers---then you should choose the "to do" version. Unless there is some idiomatic exception, 9 out of 10 times, the answer will be the "to do" version.

So really, this is more of a smart guessing strategy that can also help you quickly pick an answer that will have a high probability of being correct before moving on.
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2014, 18:09
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2015, 01:28
GMATPill wrote:
vietmoi999 wrote:
in "noun for doing", noun dose not cause the doing

in "noun doing/noun that do" noun causes the doing

we should know this point to see which one is logic.

"to do" is used to show the purpose of the previous clause. we do not used "for doing" to show the purpose of the previou clause.

for doing is a prepositional phrase which can modifiy a noun

Not sure if that makes total sense. Let's look at an example:

"They use computer models to predict"

Your notes above seem to imply that the computer models cause the predicting - that doesn't quite make sense here. Just wanted to clarify so others don't get confused.

if the idiom "model to do" is correct , the above sentence offer ambiguity that two meaning can be understood, "to predict modifying "use" and "to predict" modifying "model"
but if the idiom is "model of doing " , the above sentence means "to predict" is modifying "use"

in sumary. the two following rules govern the use of "todo" or "for doing"

"to do" or "for doing' depend on idioms. these idioms compose of verb, noun, adjective and "to do" or "for doing"

when diciding between "to do" and "for doing" , we need to know what "todo/for doing" modify. this knowledge help us to choose "to do"/ "for doing"
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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2015, 02:15
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Most conspicuously, all above chosen examples are those in which using "to do" is appropriate. I wonder what about those few official cases in which "doing x" is right.

I believe the difference lies in the meaning.

Tom was received with acclaim to write a book. WRONG : Tom was never received with acclaim so that he can write a book.
Tom was received with acclaim for writing a book. RIGHT

Believe me, often GMAT plays on these supposed rigid rules.

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Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic [#permalink]

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03 Nov 2015, 02:59
A very informative post. However, I would like to discuss some more points in your statements:

[1] Difference between To-Inf and Ving: You say that "Always choose "to do X"" from the example:

"Warning that computers in the United States are not secure, the National Academy of Sciences has urged the nation to revamp computer security procedures, institute new emergency response teams, creating a special nongovernment organization to take charge of computer security planning.
- You reason that "Some grammar experts will argue that both are OK – but on the GMAT, we at GMAT Pill know that answer choice (E) is the one to pick".
- Well, you should understand the underlying cause. That is, GMAT test American English rather than British English. In American English, there is a trend (I say a trend because in TOEFL Test, they have a similar motive) that to express clearly the purpose, "To-Inf" is straightforward and correct. The term "For + Ving" is considered WRONG.

With such awareness, look back at all problems, you see there is a problem between "To + Inf" and "For + Ving" (rather than "To-Inf" and "Ving", and most of the cases, "To-Inf" is used)

[2] You should pay particular attention to the following examples that you raise:

"A new study suggests that the conversational pace of everyday life may be so brisk it hampers the ability of some children for distinguishing discrete sounds and words and, the result is to make sense of speech."

The point to remember here is NOT the difference between To-Inf and V-ing, RATHER, it is the idiom phrase "an ability TO DO sth". With such, test takers do not have to pay too much concern in this case because the word "ability" in ALL cases should be accompanied by "to-inf". Every dictionary guarantees that, check it yourself.

Takeaway: DO NOT just pay attention to "To-Inf" or "V-ing". Look at what noun/ phrase/ clause it modifies.

[3] You say that when "To-inf" is absent, “that does X” should be chosen over “for doing X”, and you give the following example:

"In a blow to those who still harbored the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments that a recipient had added as the message is forwarded to others or sent back and forth."

And by your reason, choice [D]: "still harboring the illusion that E-mail exchange are private , a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick that enables an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments that a recipient might add"
is CHOSEN OVER
choice "who had still been harboring the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person was privy to any comments that a recipient might have added."

I am afraid this is not the REAL point and it just makes difficult for others to understand.

The structure "To-Inf" is always used to reflect how sb/sth achieve sth. There are two cases:
A. "To-Inf" is accompanied by the noun/ noun phrase to reflect that that noun/ noun phrase is a means to obtain something.
Ex: He has the ability to sing.
Mary did not have any motive to do that.
OR
B. "To-Inf" reflects the purpose of the whole action of a clause.
Ex: I come to university to broaden my knowledge.
John drives slowly to avoid accident (= John drives slowly SO THAT he can avoid accident = John drives slowly IN ORDER TO avoid accident).
OR
C. There is a mixed circumstances when either understanding is reasonable:
Ex: She uses the knife to cut food. [Knife is a tools (A), or how the result of "cutting food" is obtained? It is due to the fact that "she uses the knife" (B)]

There is a clear DIFFERENCE between A and B:
In A, "To-Inf" directly modifies the noun and noun phrase, NOT the whole clause. You can clearly see such literal meaning.
In B, "To-Inf" modifies the entirely clause (in this aspect, it is equivalent to "so that" clause). You can see that if you attach "To-Inf" to the noun "university", it is meaningless because the result that I want to achieve, namely "broadening knowledge", does not stem from "university" but roots directly from the fact that "I come to university". Literally, "broadening my knowledge" results from the fact that I come to university RATHER than from the university itself. (I can come to college to broaden my knowledge, so the place does not result in the benefit but rather, what I mean is, the action of my coming to that place).

With such differences in mind, look back at the example:

"In a blow to those who still harbored the illusion that E-mail exchanges are private, a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments that a recipient had added as the message is forwarded to others or sent back and forth."

We just clarify the sentence: "a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick for enabling an interloper to rig an E-mail message so that this person will be privy to any comments"
- Coincidentally, if we apply "To-Inf" here, we will have "a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick TO ENABLE..." and the circumstance lies in C, meaning that we can understand "a trick" is a means to enable an interloper to rig an email message OR the activity of uncovering a trick by a watchdog group enables an interloper to rig an email message.
- However, when we you "that", you clearly see that in the defining clause (with NO commas) in the option [D]: "a watchdog group recently uncovered a trick that enables an interloper to rig an E-mail message", the meaning is that the whole phrase "enable an interloper..." modifies directly for the word "trick". Thus, the sentence's TRUE meaning is that if we use "To-Inf", the meaning will fall into circumstance A (modifying the noun/noun phrase), neither B nor C.
- So be careful: it is NOT the absence of "To-Inf" and you choose "That" over "V-ing", but it ALL rests on the meaning. However, the outcome is coincidental with what you claim because all in all, "V-ing" is least preferred, and because there is no "To-Inf", people have a tendency to look for something DIFFERENT from "V-ing".

The explanations above are clear in your many examples.

[4] You also push its to the extent that GMAC also accepts "V-ing" instead of "To-Inf" by citing the examples:

1) “Stressing the arts is a method for achieving greater economic development” is OK
2) “Stressing the arts is a method to achieve greater economic development” can also be OK.

And you claim that "The fact that GMAC uses (1) instead of (2) does not necessarily mean (2) is wrong. Quite the contrary, in fact – as we have noted in all the previous examples above"

- I'm afraid I TOTALLY disagree with this point because you are making it more difficult for people to understand.
- If you reason that "For-Ving" is preferred although "To-inf" is perfect in meaning and thus my explanation in [3] is faulty. You will make a specious claim.

This case are NOT contrary to the point I have made because it does not lie in the difference between "To-Inf" and "V-ing" any more but rather, the word "method". More specifically, this case is the [2] that I have presented.

Checking in all available dictionaries and you will find the following idioms:
- A method OF doing sth
- A method FOR doing sth.

However, "FOR" is considered RIGHT and frequently used and "OF" appears much less often. The safest way is to use "a method FOR doing sth"
You can also look up at Manhattan The Sentence Correction Guide, 4th edition, page 141 (page 135 in file pdf). There is an exact sentence clarifying the right use of "a method FOR doing sth".

[5] Because you miss that point, the following explanation in the example is, to me, UNREASONABLE:

"New genetic evidence-together with recent studies of elephants' skeletons, tusks, and other anatomical features-//provide compelling support for classifying//Africa's forest elephants and its savanna elephants as separate species."

You CLAIM that : "Idiomatically, you provide support TO someone or some group or organization. You can’t provide support to a verb."

I am afraid that you miss the whole point. From all your available dictionaries, you may find the structures for provide:
- Provide somebody WITH something (The object "somebody" receives "something")
- Provide something FOR Noun/ Gerund Phrase:
a) Provide something FOR somebody (The object "something" is given to "somebody")
b) Provide something FOR doing something (The object "something" is given to facilitate the performing of the second "something")

With such look up, it is completely clear that even if there is a sentence: "provide support TO someone or some group or organization", that sentence is WRONG!

Similar explanations for the example of PENCHAT:

"You have a penchant for learning" - idiomatically correct because it is GRAMMATICALLY correct. A penchant FOR (doing) sth = A liking FOR (doing) sth

You have a penchant to learn - not idiomatically correct because it is UNGRAMMATICALLY correct. No need to discuss such STRANGE structure. If you cannot see how strange it is, then I assume that you haven't checked the dictionaries.

1) It is NOT the solely difference between "To-Inf" and "V-ing" that you have spent invaluable time to accumulate examples for us that is important, it is the whole IDIOMATIC expression.
2) There is a clear ORDER to consider when one see "To-Inf" and "V-ing"
- First, look for the noun/noun phrase to know what "To-Inf" or "V-ing" modifies. This method relies HEAVILY on your vocabulary and grammar to identify the correct choice. Most of the cases rest on this ability.
- Second, if you cannot see any term, or you vocabulary cannot help because it seems strange, then you should consider "To-Inf" in terms of the reflection of the purpose of the whole clause. However, be careful and look at all connectors and conjunctions for fear of redundancy, especially the case of Gerund (it is said that "BEING" seems to be redundant in MOST cases. However, they (experts) also raise the concern that it is not only because of this point that you erase the choice because there have been already official answers which contain "being". The point of "being" is not discussed here, just the issue of "erasing or not" is important!)
- Third, when you have looked carefully enough and still CANNOT know how to choose because "To-Inf" and "V-ing" are, to you, equally reasonable, then it is your luck to prefer "To-Inf". I say LUCK because you may skip a certain sign (an idiomatic usage) that you don't know.

Again, thank you very much for you post. Hope my points are clear.
Re: GMAT Pill presents... vs Which to choose? A Secret Idiomatic   [#permalink] 03 Nov 2015, 02:59
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