In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish

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In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish [#permalink]

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14 May 2004, 04:19
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In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish troops who, led by Atilla the Hun, demostrated his millitary superiority over the weakened, recently conquered city.

A...
B.which, led by Atilla the hun, demostrated their military superiority
C.that atilla the hun led, who demonstrated his military superiority
D.that atilla the hun led in demonstration of their military superiority
E.that were led by Atilla the Hun, who demonstrated his military superiority
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14 May 2004, 12:13
I will go with B. E is ambiguous as to what "who" refers to. It could refer to "attila the Hun" as well as it could refer to "hunnish troops"; who demonstrated his military strength?

Also, I'm not too sure about the usage of past progressive tense in this sentence. Past progressive "were led" means that the leading was a continuous action happening in the past. The usage of past progressive can be simplified by the intruduction of a dependent clause "led by Atilla the Hun" to make the answer less wordy
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14 May 2004, 12:22
I am not sure if troops can be refered to by pronoun "which"
Also why is there a no comma between the troops and which

It will be useful to have the official explanation.

Now I am begining to feel C is OK too.
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14 May 2004, 12:33
B is most certainly wrong.

Once you use which it becomes a non restrictive clause and can therefor be omitted. If you omit the non restrictive clause then you get the following construction.

In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish troops demostrated their military superiority over the weakened, recently conquered city.

For me C and E make sense

C qualifies which specific troops threatened Rome by adding a restrictive clase after that
Well I am using which here in contradiction to what I said in my previous post.
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14 May 2004, 12:46
aonie wrote:
In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish troops who, led by Atilla the Hun, demostrated his millitary superiority over the weakened, recently conquered city.

A...
B.which, led by Atilla the hun, demostrated their military superiority
C.that atilla the hun led, who demonstrated his military superiority
D.that atilla the hun led in demonstration of their military superiority
E.that were led by Atilla the Hun, who demonstrated his military superiority

I agree ... its either C or E
I will go with E. "Who" in C is ambiguous
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14 May 2004, 12:54
I see Anandnk. I just read the explanation about the usage of "which" to introduce non-restrictive clauses and yes, the comma should have been between "troops" and "which". E should be it as "that" introduces a restrictive clause which is essential for the sentence. These are tricky SC. In the case of E, "who" would refer to "hunnish troops" because "Attila the hun" is only part of the restrictive clause and not part of the independent clause.
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14 May 2004, 13:02
Hi Paul,

Let us wait for the OA. These are tricky SCs. Sometimes punctuation is not a problem but in case of non restrictive clause it is. I read explanation for "that" at http://www.bartleby.com ( Supposed to be a guide to standard American English )
In case of E there is no ambiguity because his is singular and can only refer to Atila (the Hun - is adjective ). I have seen SCs which test this concept of ambiguity. If E) is right then C) may very well be right.

Anand.
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14 May 2004, 17:07
Hi everyone....

I thought this question will cause some fun and indeed it did. I think this questions is too ambiguous. I'm quite upset with "this advanced book for advanced student prep book" when I saw the Q stem again.

The sentence can emphasise either on TROOPS or ATILLA Hun, so if what they meant to emphasise is troops we will need THEIR SUPERIORITY (which will lead us to B to modify troops) but if it is Atilla that they meant, we will need WHO-HIS SUPERIORITY (which will lead us to E because it has the correct modifier - atilla the hun, who...).

"Which", if used as a correct non-restrictive modifier is fine - as in B, and
"Who" to modifiy Atilla immediately is also correct- as in E. So B and E are correct. (and "the book" agrees with this - it all depends on who you want to showcase)
_____________________________________________________________

Then, how the hell I am supposed to know that they meant to showcase TROOPS' superiority instead of Atilla's....when the original underlined portion "totally" conveys the other way around and there are 2 possible correct answers with different meaning.... see below...
___________________________________________________________
In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish troops who, led by Atilla the Hun, demostrated his millitary superiority over the weakened, recently conquered city.

A...
B.which, led by Atilla the hun, demostrated their military superiority
E.that were led by Atilla the Hun, who demonstrated his military superiority
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
so painfully you know the answer is B...not because we're wrong but because that's not what THEY meant to say.
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14 May 2004, 17:27
also...

Which in this sentence is RESTRICTIVE, and led by atilla is non-retrictive. Remember which can be used as retrictive clause (esply without any comma preceeding it), this is very tricky. But my problem is, the other answer is also correct and this is like 2 big traps.

Anyway the sentence will go like this with B:

In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish troops which, led by Atilla the hun, demostrated their military superiority over the weakened, recently conquered city.

and E : I must admit that this Sentence is too compact and complicated

In the mid-fifth century, Rome was threatened by hunnish troops that were led by Atilla the Hun, who demonstrated his military superiority over the weakened, recently conquered city.
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14 May 2004, 18:04
I then agree GMAT type questions are not this ambiguous. It is true though that although "which" is mainly used as a non-restrictive clause, it can also be used as a restrictive clause. It is the case here.
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09 Jul 2004, 13:23
Paul wrote:
I will go with B. E is ambiguous as to what "who" refers to. It could refer to "attila the Hun" as well as it could refer to "hunnish troops"; who demonstrated his military strength?

Also, I'm not too sure about the usage of past progressive tense in this sentence. Past progressive "were led" means that the leading was a continuous action happening in the past. The usage of past progressive can be simplified by the intruduction of a dependent clause "led by Atilla the Hun" to make the answer less wordy

By chosing 'B' don't you end up distorting the original sentence in that it is no longer Atilla's military superiority that's demonstrated, but that of Hunnish' troops?
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09 Jul 2004, 21:26
B and E seem good. It depends on who you want "military superiority" to refer to. After a bit more practice with SC, I prefer B for 2 reasons:
1- It is more concise
2- I believe when you are talking about military superiority, you are refering to that of an army, not of an individual.
Ex: The French army had a great military superiority over that of the Russian city.
Ex: Napoleon had a military superiority over the Russian city.

See the difference here? I would prefer the military superiority of an entire army over that of another rather than one single person's military superiority over a city's one.
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09 Jul 2004, 21:26
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