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Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT

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Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2011, 18:49
The Achaemenid empire of Persia reached the Indus Valley in the fifth century B.C., bringing the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and southern Indian alphabets.

a. the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and

b. the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the

c. with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the

d. with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and

e. with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both northern and
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Re: Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2011, 22:40
stringworm wrote:
The Achaemenid empire of Persia reached the Indus Valley in the fifth century B.C., bringing the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and southern Indian alphabets.

a. the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and ---> not sure why this is incorrect...:(

b. the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the --> which must be describing the script and not the empire... so incorrect.

c. with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the --> proper use of which and idiom (both x and y)

d. with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and --> plural verb must be used instead of singular (derives)

e. with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both northern and --> wordy
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Re: Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2011, 22:49
The key to this question is the verb 'derive' whose subject lies after it - northern and southern Indian alphabets! Hence C!
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Re: Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2011, 11:26
Expert's post
The part in each choice about deriving ("from which derive," etc.) is a modifier. So what is it modifying? What were the Indian alphabets derived from? They were derived from the Aramaic script. Our modifier therefore needs to touch this noun. Therefore, we can eliminate A & B, which put "it" (the empire) next to the modifier.

Now, we can eliminate D as soon as we see "from which derives both." Two things=plural=derive

E uses "and," which adds a parallel clause. Now we are saying "The empire reached the I. Valley in the 5th century, bringing the script and deriving from it the alphabets."
This meaning is all wrong! According to E, the Achaemenid empire was responsible for deriving the Indian alphabets from the Aramaic script. This is an entirely different meaning from the other four choices, which do not specify *who* derived the script. The derivation is described in the passive voice, and this is appropriate since we are describing a historical development, rather than something a particular person or group did. This is a great example of how meaning can make a big difference in SC.
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Re: Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2011, 13:45
I went for C...."derives" confused me. I understand why D is correct. Thank you for the explanations.
Re: Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT   [#permalink] 01 Oct 2011, 13:45
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Great 600-700 level question from a retired CAT

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