In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs

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In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs needed to growfull size beef stock, many ranchers substitute cornmeal and ground bones for their cattle's regular diet, branded by them to become generic-grade beef.

a) for their cattle's regular diet, branded by them
b) for the regular diet of their cattle which have been branded
c) for the regular diet of their cattle, having been branded
d) in place of their cattle's regular diet, for those of them branded
e) in place of the regular diet of their cattle to have been branded by them

What is "which" referring to in (b) ??
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New post 01 Aug 2012, 01:21
"Which" referes to immediately preceding noun. Here Cattle.

a. Diet is not branded
b. Fine
c. Changes meaning: necessary for cattles to be branded first, for following the diet
d. Substitute+for , for those of them incorrect pronoun reference
e. Substitute+for , in place -redundant, wordy and imprecise.


20 seconds. Is this really a 700 level ??
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I have an issue with this question. While we can clearly eliminate (D) and (E) because they violate the idiom 'substitute for', (B) is not technically correct. In American English, the use of 'which' as a relative pronoun modifying a preceding noun must always be preceded by a comma, as in 'noun, which.' Here there is no comma before the 'which.' My theory, which could be totally off, is that the person who wrote this was following British English, which does not require a comma before the 'which.' Perhaps a more likely explanation, if I invoke Ockham's razor, is that the person simply forgot to put the comma before 'which' when they entered this question into the thread.

Either way, we need a comma before 'which' for this to be a valid question.

Hope that helps :).
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2012, 19:24
ChrisLele wrote:
I have an issue with this question. While we can clearly eliminate (D) and (E) because they violate the idiom 'substitute for', (B) is not technically correct. In American English, the use of 'which' as a relative pronoun modifying a preceding noun must always be preceded by a comma, as in 'noun, which.' Here there is no comma before the 'which.' My theory, which could be totally off, is that the person who wrote this was following British English, which does not require a comma before the 'which.' Perhaps a more likely explanation, if I invoke Ockham's razor, is that the person simply forgot to put the comma before 'which' when they entered this question into the thread.

Either way, we need a comma before 'which' for this to be a valid question.

Hope that helps :).


i like the explanation

here another thing needs to be noted down
that cattle VS have DOES NOT agree

so this should be CATTLE HAS....BCZ it's a collective noun.
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@ChrisLele

I do not think there is any difference in usage of "Which" in American and British style.
And the option is completely fine.

1. If "Which" is used for a restrictive clause, we don't need any comma. i.e. qualifies the noun
2. If "Which" is used for a non-restrictive clause, we need a comma. i.e. provides additional information about the noun

Cattle which have been branded -> This means: Of all, the ones which are branded, excluding the non-branded ones
Cattle, which have been branded -> This means: All the individuals in the group are branded, there are none non-branded

@ HeyGMAT:
Cattle is not a collective noun, It is a plural noun.
For collection we use: Herd of Cattle, Drove of Cattle etc.

When we refer to individual of a collective noun we use singular verb.
The Jury were in his favor -> Entire group was in favor
The Jury was divided in opinion. -> Individuals

Though, here you might observe differences in British and American English.
The British use the plural form and the Americans use the singular, in all cases.
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New post 05 Aug 2012, 02:59
I chose B, but can someone explain why A & C are wrong?
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2013, 10:30
Hi e-GMAT,
Can you please share your views on this qs? What should be the OA and why?

Is it truly a GMAT like one?
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2013, 21:13
ConnectTheDots wrote:
@ChrisLele

I do not think there is any difference in usage of "Which" in American and British style.
And the option is completely fine.

1. If "Which" is used for a restrictive clause, we don't need any comma. i.e. qualifies the noun
2. If "Which" is used for a non-restrictive clause, we need a comma. i.e. provides additional information about the noun

Cattle which have been branded -> This means: Of all, the ones which are branded, excluding the non-branded ones
Cattle, which have been branded -> This means: All the individuals in the group are branded, .


As I know, "WHICH" is not used in a restrictive clause and must be replaced by "THAT". Therefore, a comma is needed or "which" must be changed on "that".
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2013, 03:27
Dmitriy wrote:
ConnectTheDots wrote:
@ChrisLele

I do not think there is any difference in usage of "Which" in American and British style.
And the option is completely fine.

1. If "Which" is used for a restrictive clause, we don't need any comma. i.e. qualifies the noun
2. If "Which" is used for a non-restrictive clause, we need a comma. i.e. provides additional information about the noun

Cattle which have been branded -> This means: Of all, the ones which are branded, excluding the non-branded ones
Cattle, which have been branded -> This means: All the individuals in the group are branded, .


As I know, "WHICH" is not used in a restrictive clause and must be replaced by "THAT". Therefore, a comma is needed or "which" must be changed on "that".


No this conception is incorrect which can be used for restrictive clauses as in the scenario mentioned
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2015, 02:12
So what is the consensus? I am still confused whether this question is accurate!
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2016, 06:57
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2016, 06:57
The answer would have been correct only if there would be comma before which

b) for the regular diet of their cattle , which have been branded

Therefore poorly typed question
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Re: In an effort to shorten the time span and cut the costs   [#permalink] 27 Sep 2016, 06:57
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