Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous

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18 Feb 2009, 15:40
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Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are more flavorful.

(A) cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are
(B) cousins, often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
(C) cousins, often green and striped, or they have plenty of bumps and bruises, although they are
(D) cousins; they are often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
(E) cousins; they are often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but they are

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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22 Mar 2009, 21:10
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Sanjay I think you mean subject of the first sentence.

I think Heirloom tomatoes in the first half of the sentence is the subject.

I think the they/it refers to the subject of the first part of the sentence.

And am I correct in thinking that:

D. cousins; they are often green and striped (verb clause), or with plenty of bumps and bruises (prepositional phrase) although ---Hence NOT CORRECT
E. cousins; they are often green and striped (verb clause), or have plenty of bumps and bruises (verb clause), but they are ----Hence CORRECT

So it doesnt have anything to do with the usage of Although? D is not wrong coz of although?
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19 Feb 2009, 10:51
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A, B and C clearly are wrong, because they take the information about heirloom tomatoes and put it into a grammatical structure which makes it a postmodifier of the SUPERMARKET tomatoes. (The grammatical structure used, if anyone cares, is a non-restrictive postmodifying adjective phrase. Actually, it is a sequence of two such phrases.)

The difference between D and E is also fairly obvious. In D, the two postmodifying phrases are not parallel in structure (clause with verb and prepositional phrase), while in E, they are both clauses with verbs. So only E can be correct.

The problem, as icandy says, is that "they" in E is still grammatically ambiguous. Maybe this indicates that the question is not an official GMAC question. But from what I have seen, even the GMAC itself is not perfectly consistent about pronoun ambiguity. I think (not quite sure) that sometimes they accept a pronoun ambiguity such as this one in one question, while treating the same thing as wrong in another question.
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Re: Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2014, 09:46
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icandy wrote:
Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are more flavorful.

(A) cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are
(B) cousins, often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
(C) cousins, often green and striped, or they have plenty of bumps and bruises, although they are
(D) cousins; they are often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
(E) cousins; they are often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but they are.

kinjiGC wrote:
Hi Mike,
I would like to have your inputs on the question. I prefer option E) to A) but I am not sure. Can you please explain once.
Thanks, Kinjal

Dear Kinjal,
I am happy to respond. This questions is quite curious, because it's almost identical in topic to OG13, SC #132, and uses many of the same phrases, though in a different order. I would think that GMAC might be a position to sue a company for having a question so blatantly similar to its own. That does give me a bit of concern about the question and its authors.

In (A) - (C), among other problems, there's modifier ambiguity. We know logically that "often green and striped" should apply to heirloom tomatoes, but it touches "their round and red supermarket cousins." That's less than ideal.

Also, in (A), if we remove the modifying detail, the logic is wonky: "Heirloom tomatoes ... only look less appetizing ... or have plenty of bumps and bruises" ??? Why is that a choice, to "look less appetizing" vs. "to have bumps and bruises"? Joining these two verbs with "or" makes no sense. That's why (A) is definitively wrong.

The semicolon divide is a very clean, clear way to delineate the logic of the sentence. The parallelism removes any ambiguity about the pronoun: the pronoun "they" is subject of the second clause, so it is obviously in parallel to the subject of the first clause, and that first subject, "Heirloom tomatoes," is the antecedent. This is why (E) is the best answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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13 Mar 2010, 17:24
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A, B and C all have ambiguous pronoun "they". Between D and E, E is correct because subject is missing after although in D.
Ans is E.
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05 Jan 2017, 10:54
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oldest wrote:
Hi Mike,
In the first clause of this sentence, "their" was used to refer to "Heirloom tomatoes". is that the reason why "they" in the latter clause ambiguity-free?

Dear oldest,
I'm happy to respond.

My friend, many factors contribute to establishing the relationship of a pronoun to its antecedent. Here's the OA, version (E):
Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins; they are often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but they are more flavorful.
What contributes to our understanding that the highlighted pronoun "they" refers back to "heirloom tomatoes"?
1) As you suggest, just a single pronoun is used, with consistent antecedent, throughout the sentence
2) Parallelism. When we have two independent clauses in parallel, and a pronoun is the subject of the second, the parallelism strongly suggests that the subject of the first should be the antecedent.
3) Rhetoric. Think about it: what is the subject and focus of the entire sentence? Of course, "heirloom tomatoes." The fact that the entire sentence focuses on this single topic strongly suggests that any pronoun would be referring back to this focus.
In this well-crafted sentence, all three of these elements work in concert to reinforce one another. This makes 100% clear the antecedent of the pronoun.

Do not take the pronoun-antecedent relationship for granted. There are always many different elements of the sentence, at many different levels, contributing this relationship.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous [#permalink]

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12 Jan 2017, 10:20
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sleepynut wrote:
Hi expert,
In my 2 cents,option D could be a good contender of this question.
Option A,B,and C are gone as "often green and stripe" wrongly modifies cousins.
"they" in option E is not ambiguous;"they",as the subject" all refer to Heirloom tomatoes.
However,I find it difficult to eliminate option D.

Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins; they are often green and striped, or (they are)with plenty of bumps and bruises, although more flavorful.
or it is only acceptable only the 2nd independent clause reads ", although more flavorful,they are often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises.

Please shed some light on this
Thanks

"Although" ideally introduces a clause. However there are official questions, in which the phrase "Although+ adjective" is constructed to be used as a modifier - in such case the modifier should touch the noun it modifies. Here "although more flavorful" should touch "they".
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12 Jan 2017, 10:32
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sleepynut wrote:
Hi expert,
In my 2 cents,option D could be a good contender of this question.
Option A,B,and C are gone as "often green and stripe" wrongly modifies cousins.
"they" in option E is not ambiguous;"they",as the subject" all refer to Heirloom tomatoes.
However,I find it difficult to eliminate option D.

Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins; they are often green and striped, or (they are)with plenty of bumps and bruises, although more flavorful.
or it is only acceptable only the 2nd independent clause reads ", although more flavorful,they are often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises.

Please shed some light on this
Thanks

Dear sleepynut,

I'm happy to respond.

Here's (D):
Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins; they are often green and striped, or (they are) with plenty of bumps and bruises, although (they are) more flavorful.
A few things to notice about (D).
1) It demands the implied subject-verb "they are" twice, two clauses in a row. Not grammatically wrong, but not exactly the most elegant and compelling structure.
2) Think about the phrasing: "they are with plenty of bumps and bruises." That's 100% grammatically correct, but extremely awkward. The natural thing to say would be "they [color=#00a651]have plenty of bumps and bruises[/color]." That is what a native speaker would say. Consider similar examples:
My friend is with a new car. = awkward
My friend has a new car. = natural
Company X is with 5000 employees. = awkward
Company X has 5000 employees. = natural
Again, the "with" examples here are 100% grammatically correct, but they are terribly "off" in a way that would sound jarring to a native ear. By contrast, the "has" construction sounds direct and clear: despite the simplicity, it has a kind of no-nonsense power that the "with" version dismally lacks.

Notice that (E) gets both of these things correct: (E) looks stellar where (D) falls in the mud. (E) is the best answer.

Mike
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18 Feb 2009, 20:38
Tough question but flipping the question makes it a bit easier

Will go with D
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18 Feb 2009, 21:28
IMO B
to create contrast we need although at the end
they has wrong referrent in C&E
icandy wrote:
Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are more flavorful.
A. cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are
B. cousins, often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
C. cousins, often green and striped, or they have plenty of bumps and bruises, although they are
D. cousins; they are often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
E. cousins; they are often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but they are

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18 Feb 2009, 22:20
Between D and E, i will go for E.

In D, although introduces a subordinate clause, which needs a subject. The construction 'although more flavorful' does not have a subject

In E, conjunction 'but' joins two parallel and independent sentences.

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18 Feb 2009, 23:37
icandy wrote:
Heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds saved from the previous year, only look less appetizing than their round and red supermarket cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are more flavorful.
A. cousins, often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but are
B. cousins, often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
C. cousins, often green and striped, or they have plenty of bumps and bruises, although they are
D. cousins; they are often green and striped, or with plenty of bumps and bruises, although
E. cousins; they are often green and striped, or have plenty of bumps and bruises, but they are

Aren't A,B and C runon sentences?

Among D and E, D is the best choice.
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19 Feb 2009, 07:46
Given OA is E.

How ever. I am wondering why "they" is not ambiguous. I understand that the semicolon is in between the two sentences. But how can one confidently say "they" is referring to one type of the tomatoes and not the other.
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19 Feb 2009, 14:23
grumpyoldman wrote:
A, B and C clearly are wrong, because they take the information about heirloom tomatoes and put it into a grammatical structure which makes it a postmodifier of the SUPERMARKET tomatoes. (The grammatical structure used, if anyone cares, is a non-restrictive postmodifying adjective phrase. Actually, it is a sequence of two such phrases.)

The difference between D and E is also fairly obvious. In D, the two postmodifying phrases are not parallel in structure (clause with verb and prepositional phrase), while in E, they are both clauses with verbs. So only E can be correct.

The problem, as icandy says, is that "they" in E is still grammatically ambiguous. Maybe this indicates that the question is not an official GMAC question. But from what I have seen, even the GMAC itself is not perfectly consistent about pronoun ambiguity. I think (not quite sure) that sometimes they accept a pronoun ambiguity such as this one in one question, while treating the same thing as wrong in another question.

This has really been a pain point for me. How the hell am I supposed to know what GMAT is testing me on? Pronoun ambiguity or the other stuff. I have seen this on GMAT questions and I hate that there is a problem with every answer choice.

SC questions such as this consume more time than needed and impact all the available time. I am trying to hard to reduce SC time to about a minute so that I can have more time for RC and questions like these just kill my time.
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19 Feb 2009, 15:46
This is one of many places where test-taking strategies are important. At Kaplan, we teach you that if a question is taking too much time and you can't see a reasonable way to find the answer -- you should eliminate the clearly wrong ones, pick one of the rest, and MOVE ON.

You will get much more value out of your time if you use it on other questions than if you devote it on a question on which you are going nowhere. This particular situation -- NO answer choice that is error-free -- is one of those which could make you go nowhere, but not the only one. Even if the problem is that you forgot something that you ought to know and that is critical for the question, moving on is better than thinking in circles.
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19 Feb 2009, 16:05
grumpyoldman wrote:
This is one of many places where test-taking strategies are important. At Kaplan, we teach you that if a question is taking too much time and you can't see a reasonable way to find the answer -- you should eliminate the clearly wrong ones, pick one of the rest, and MOVE ON.

You will get much more value out of your time if you use it on other questions than if you devote it on a question on which you are going nowhere. This particular situation -- NO answer choice that is error-free -- is one of those which could make you go nowhere, but not the only one. Even if the problem is that you forgot something that you ought to know and that is critical for the question, moving on is better than thinking in circles.

Well said. I guess Some how I am finding it hard to let a Q go. Probably I am unconsciously concerned that if I start letting Q's go, I will end up letting too many go. I understand that if I dont have an snwer in 2 min 15-20 sec that Q is most probably a bust.

I used to take close to 120 sec for sc questions as well but made great strides and I am picking up CR pretty well too lately. RC has been one of the pain points from GRE days and I am picking up good pace there too. I guess I need more discipline in letting a Q or two go. Its better than having 6 questions in the last minute or two.
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19 Feb 2009, 18:19
grumpyoldman wrote:
A, B and C clearly are wrong, because they take the information about heirloom tomatoes and put it into a grammatical structure which makes it a postmodifier of the SUPERMARKET tomatoes. (The grammatical structure used, if anyone cares, is a non-restrictive postmodifying adjective phrase. Actually, it is a sequence of two such phrases.)

The difference between D and E is also fairly obvious. In D, the two postmodifying phrases are not parallel in structure (clause with verb and prepositional phrase), while in E, they are both clauses with verbs. So only E can be correct.

The problem, as icandy says, is that "they" in E is still grammatically ambiguous. Maybe this indicates that the question is not an official GMAC question. But from what I have seen, even the GMAC itself is not perfectly consistent about pronoun ambiguity. I think (not quite sure) that sometimes they accept a pronoun ambiguity such as this one in one question, while treating the same thing as wrong in another question.

"They" may sound ambigous, but I have noticed this usage many a times. Usually, "they/it/them" refers to the object of the first sentence, the sentence that ends with semicolon. Here that object is heirloom tomatoes.
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24 Mar 2009, 12:32
shkusira wrote:
Sanjay I think you mean subject of the first sentence.

I think Heirloom tomatoes in the first half of the sentence is the subject.

I think the they/it refers to the subject of the first part of the sentence.

And am I correct in thinking that:

D. cousins; they are often green and striped (verb clause), or with plenty of bumps and bruises (prepositional phrase) although ---Hence NOT CORRECT
E. cousins; they are often green and striped (verb clause), or have plenty of bumps and bruises (verb clause), but they are ----Hence CORRECT

So it doesnt have anything to do with the usage of Although? D is not wrong coz of although?

D is definitely not out because of although but because of the reasons mentioned by grumpy... You can rewrite D as :

although more flavorful, they are ......

This is a perfect construction.
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01 Mar 2010, 05:35

Second part of statement underlined "often green and striped," is incomplete and should be "they are often green and striped,". Hence only D & E possible.

Last part of statement underlined "although" does not fit the flow of sentence and it should be "but, they are" hence E.
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03 Mar 2010, 06:12
can anyone explain why exactly A is wrong..

I ignored E thinking that they doesn't have clear referent.

as I didn't saw anything wrong with A I chose it
Re: SC: Heirloom tomatoes   [#permalink] 03 Mar 2010, 06:12

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