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# In the last few decades, physicists have identified the

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In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 03:47
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In the last few decades, physicists have identified the existence of different "flavors" of subatomic particles called quarks,most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display a property known as color charge.

most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display
most of them as small or smaller than the electron and displaying
mostly as small or smaller than the electron, displaying
mostly at least as small as the electron, which display
most of them at least as small as the electron, displaying

Also explain what "them" is referring to in some options.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 04:23
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B and E are the only real competitors. "As small or smaller than" in B is awkward. So going with E. "them" can unambiguously refer to quarks as it is a part of the modifier of "quarks".
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 04:49
Since physicists is the subject of the previous clause,cant "them" refer it physicists.
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 05:07
The noun modifier should always touch the noun. A corollary of this can be taken as "A modifier modifies the noun which it touches."

But true the sentence could be better framed as E here uses a series of modifiers to modify the same noun. However, of the given options, E is the best.
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 07:47
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Expert's post
Hi all,

In the last few decades, physicists have identified the existence of different "flavors" of subatomic particles called quarks, most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display a property known as color charge.

Error Analysis: 1. This sentence uses the incorrect idiom “as small or smaller than” which is actually the mix of two degrees of comparison. This is incorrect. We must one correct idiom to convey the intended meaning.
2. Understanding the sentence structure is very important here. Note that “which display…” is meant to modify “quarks”. However, “which” is closer to “electron” than to “quarks”. Hence, there is an ambiguity in the reference of “which”. Also “display” does not agree in number with “electron” if “which” has to refer to “electron”.

POE:
A) most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B) most of them as small or smaller than the electron and displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

C) mostly as small or smaller than the electron, displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

D) mostly at least as small as the electron, which display: Incorrect. “which” is closer to “electron” and hence refer to “electron”. However, “the verb “display” does not agree in number with “electron”.

E) most of them at least as small as the electron, displaying: Correct. Notice that the modifier “most of them at least as small as the electron” is placed between two commas that make this information non-essential for the sentence. In this case, “displaying” correctly modifies “quarks”. If we remove the non-essential information for the sentence, the comma before “displaying” will also be removed. Here, we do not have the case of comma + verb-ing that is modifying the preceding clause.

This sentence is like the following GMAT Prep question the correct answer of which is C:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circleother stars.
A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 08:37
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egmat wrote:
Hi all,

In the last few decades, physicists have identified the existence of different "flavors" of subatomic particles called quarks, most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display a property known as color charge.

Error Analysis: 1. This sentence uses the incorrect idiom “as small or smaller than” which is actually the mix of two degrees of comparison. This is incorrect. We must one correct idiom to convey the intended meaning.
2. Understanding the sentence structure is very important here. Note that “which display…” is meant to modify “quarks”. However, “which” is closer to “electron” than to “quarks”. Hence, there is an ambiguity in the reference of “which”. Also “display” does not agree in number with “electron” if “which” has to refer to “electron”.

POE:
A) most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B) most of them as small or smaller than the electron and displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

C) mostly as small or smaller than the electron, displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

D) mostly at least as small as the electron, which display: Incorrect. “which” is closer to “electron” and hence refer to “electron”. However, “the verb “display” does not agree in number with “electron”.

E) most of them at least as small as the electron, displaying: Correct. Notice that the modifier “most of them at least as small as the electron” is placed between two commas that make this information non-essential for the sentence. In this case, “displaying” correctly modifies “quarks”. If we remove the non-essential information for the sentence, the comma before “displaying” will also be removed. Here, we do not have the case of comma + verb-ing that is modifying the preceding clause.

This sentence is like the following GMAT Prep question the correct answer of which is C:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circleother stars.
A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha

Hope a kudos helps! :D
Top quality answer and follow-on example.
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2013, 00:02
egmat wrote:
Hi all,

In the last few decades, physicists have identified the existence of different "flavors" of subatomic particles called quarks, most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display a property known as color charge.

Error Analysis: 1. This sentence uses the incorrect idiom “as small or smaller than” which is actually the mix of two degrees of comparison. This is incorrect. We must one correct idiom to convey the intended meaning.
2. Understanding the sentence structure is very important here. Note that “which display…” is meant to modify “quarks”. However, “which” is closer to “electron” than to “quarks”. Hence, there is an ambiguity in the reference of “which”. Also “display” does not agree in number with “electron” if “which” has to refer to “electron”.

POE:
A) most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B) most of them as small or smaller than the electron and displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

C) mostly as small or smaller than the electron, displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

D) mostly at least as small as the electron, which display: Incorrect. “which” is closer to “electron” and hence refer to “electron”. However, “the verb “display” does not agree in number with “electron”.

E) most of them at least as small as the electron, displaying: Correct. Notice that the modifier “most of them at least as small as the electron” is placed between two commas that make this information non-essential for the sentence. In this case, “displaying” correctly modifies “quarks”. If we remove the non-essential information for the sentence, the comma before “displaying” will also be removed. Here, we do not have the case of comma + verb-ing that is modifying the preceding clause.

This sentence is like the following GMAT Prep question the correct answer of which is C:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circleother stars.
A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha

Thanks for your awesome posts.
Doesn't E change the meaning of the sentence?
The quark is small or smaller than the electron,whereas E states that the quark is at least as small as the electron.

Thanks in advance..
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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09 May 2014, 21:39
egmat wrote:
Hi all,

In the last few decades, physicists have identified the existence of different "flavors" of subatomic particles called quarks, most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display a property known as color charge.

Error Analysis: 1. This sentence uses the incorrect idiom “as small or smaller than” which is actually the mix of two degrees of comparison. This is incorrect. We must one correct idiom to convey the intended meaning.
2. Understanding the sentence structure is very important here. Note that “which display…” is meant to modify “quarks”. However, “which” is closer to “electron” than to “quarks”. Hence, there is an ambiguity in the reference of “which”. Also “display” does not agree in number with “electron” if “which” has to refer to “electron”.

POE:
A) most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B) most of them as small or smaller than the electron and displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

C) mostly as small or smaller than the electron, displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

D) mostly at least as small as the electron, which display: Incorrect. “which” is closer to “electron” and hence refer to “electron”. However, “the verb “display” does not agree in number with “electron”.

E) most of them at least as small as the electron, displaying: Correct. Notice that the modifier “most of them at least as small as the electron” is placed between two commas that make this information non-essential for the sentence. In this case, “displaying” correctly modifies “quarks”. If we remove the non-essential information for the sentence, the comma before “displaying” will also be removed. Here, we do not have the case of comma + verb-ing that is modifying the preceding clause.

This sentence is like the following GMAT Prep question the correct answer of which is C:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circleother stars.
A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha

Hi Shraddha,

I have a different understanding from what you explained. I thought that the term "as small or smaller than" is different from "as large or larger than" in your example.
- " most of them as large or larger than B" can be rewritten as " most of them at least as large as B", because B is the standard for the smallest.
- " most of them as small or smaller than B" actually points out that B is the standard for the largest rather than smallest, so rewritten as "most of them at least as small as B", this choice changes the meaning of what is expected in the sentence.

Anyways, if I have to choose, E is still the best choice though I'm not satisfied because even though the idiom is correct, the meaning of the sentence is disputable.
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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09 May 2014, 23:23
egmat wrote:
Hi all,

In the last few decades, physicists have identified the existence of different "flavors" of subatomic particles called quarks, most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display a property known as color charge.

Error Analysis: 1. This sentence uses the incorrect idiom “as small or smaller than” which is actually the mix of two degrees of comparison. This is incorrect. We must one correct idiom to convey the intended meaning.
2. Understanding the sentence structure is very important here. Note that “which display…” is meant to modify “quarks”. However, “which” is closer to “electron” than to “quarks”. Hence, there is an ambiguity in the reference of “which”. Also “display” does not agree in number with “electron” if “which” has to refer to “electron”.

POE:
A) most of them as small or smaller than the electron, which display: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B) most of them as small or smaller than the electron and displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

C) mostly as small or smaller than the electron, displaying: Incorrect. The idiom error persists.

D) mostly at least as small as the electron, which display: Incorrect. “which” is closer to “electron” and hence refer to “electron”. However, “the verb “display” does not agree in number with “electron”.

E) most of them at least as small as the electron, displaying: Correct. Notice that the modifier “most of them at least as small as the electron” is placed between two commas that make this information non-essential for the sentence. In this case, “displaying” correctly modifies “quarks”. If we remove the non-essential information for the sentence, the comma before “displaying” will also be removed. Here, we do not have the case of comma + verb-ing that is modifying the preceding clause.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha

Thanks Shraddha for such a detailed explanation..really appreciate that..

Though POE will help us to give the correct answer, just a quick clarification - any difference between 'most of them' & 'mostly' in this question?

Cheers
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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26 May 2015, 01:12
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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09 May 2016, 07:40
mhngo wrote:
Hi Shraddha,

I have a different understanding from what you explained. I thought that the term "as small or smaller than" is different from "as large or larger than" in your example.
- " most of them as large or larger than B" can be rewritten as " most of them at least as large as B", because B is the standard for the smallest.
- " most of them as small or smaller than B" actually points out that B is the standard for the largest rather than smallest, so rewritten as "most of them at least as small as B", this choice changes the meaning of what is expected in the sentence.

Anyways, if I have to choose, E is still the best choice though I'm not satisfied because even though the idiom is correct, the meaning of the sentence is disputable.

Exactly, I agree. Does not this change the meaning? Shraddha?
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Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the [#permalink]

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10 May 2016, 11:37
dina98 wrote:
mhngo wrote:
Hi Shraddha,

I have a different understanding from what you explained. I thought that the term "as small or smaller than" is different from "as large or larger than" in your example.
- " most of them as large or larger than B" can be rewritten as " most of them at least as large as B", because B is the standard for the smallest.
- " most of them as small or smaller than B" actually points out that B is the standard for the largest rather than smallest, so rewritten as "most of them at least as small as B", this choice changes the meaning of what is expected in the sentence.

Anyways, if I have to choose, E is still the best choice though I'm not satisfied because even though the idiom is correct, the meaning of the sentence is disputable.

Exactly, I agree. Does not this change the meaning? Shraddha?

If I understood you correctly, you mean to say that the correct wording would be " at most as small as...". If this is what you meant, following is my reasoning:

In "at least as as large as ", the phrase "at least" is a measure of largeness. {"more large" = larger}

In "at least as as small as ", the phrase "at least" is a measure of smallness. {"more small" = "smaller"}

Thus either way the phrase "at least" is applicable.
Re: In the last few decades, physicists have identified the   [#permalink] 10 May 2016, 11:37
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# In the last few decades, physicists have identified the

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