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Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle

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Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2012, 00:17
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Question Stats:

31% (01:19) correct 69% (00:32) wrong based on 68 sessions
Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle was the stronghold of Gregory the Great which was the last one of the Pictish kings.
a) which was the last one of the Pictish kings
b) who was the last one of the Pictish kings
c) who was one of the last Pictish kings
d) who was a Pictish king being the last
e) which was one of the last Pictish kings


Source: GMAT Ultimate Grammar from GMAT Club (Question number 9 in intermediate test)

[Reveal] Spoiler:
In my opinion, correct choice is option B. My reasonings are as follows:
a) "which" should not be used with person
b) "who" is used correctly and meaning of the sentence is unchanged.
c) "who" is used correctly, but the meaning of the sentence is changed. Originally, Gregory the Great was mentioned as the last which is specific. But here Gregory the Great is one of the last Pictish kings.
d) Awkward construction
e) Incorrect usage of "which" and changed of meaning as in option C.

But, according to the book, B is not correct answer. I am curious about where am I wrong. If anybody has different viewpoint, let's discuss.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Grammatical construction: Sentence Correction [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2012, 09:43
This is the meaning issue. Gregory the Great is the name of a king.

b) who was the last one of the Pictish kings => This choice makes a sense that Gregory the Great is the last one of Pictish kings. Gregory the Great sounds like thing, not human being. If translate in the human sense, Gregory the Great was the last king of the Pictish kings, still sound like things or be redundant. In this case, the plural "kings" must be removed.
c) who was one of the last Pictish kings => sound more correct.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2012, 18:06
I could not understand why "kings" is wrong is the option B. What I interpret is that Pictish kings is a group or collection of many generations of kings and Gregory the Great was the last one of the series. In that case, option B is perfect.

Option C implies many Pictish kings can be called as last one. How that can be true? If we talk about individuals, there can be only one person as last one. If it was written as "one of the last four Pictish kings", it would have been correct. But, suppose there were only two Pictish kings; in that case, "one of the last Pictish kings" will bear no meaning!

I find option B is clear but option C is not so clear.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2012, 18:13
I too rejected C on the same grounds.

Can you please share the source of the Question. On one hand, you write That the question is from GMATCLUB tests and on the other hand this question is tagged under the source name GMATPREP test. Please confirm.

Also this Question has never been discussed anytime before this.

doe007 wrote:
Question number 9 in intermediate test from GMAT Ultimate Grammar from GMATClub:

Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle was the stronghold of Gregory the Great which was the last one of the Pictish kings.
a) which was the last one of the Pictish kings
b) who was the last one of the Pictish kings
c) who was one of the last Pictish kings
d) who was a Pictish king being the last
e) which was one of the last Pictish kings


In my opinion, correct choice is option B. My reasonings are as follows:
a) "which" should not be used with person
b) "who" is used correctly and meaning of the sentence is unchanged.
c) "who" is used correctly, but the meaning of the sentence is changed. Originally, Gregory the Great was mentioned as the last which is specific. But here Gregory the Great is one of the last Pictish kings.
d) Awkward construction
e) Incorrect usage of "which" and changed of meaning as in option C.

But, according to the book, B is not correct answer. I am curious about where am I wrong. If anybody has different viewpoint, let's discuss.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2012, 18:56
The question is from GMAT Ultimate Grammar book from GMATClub as I had mentioned in the beginning. The tag GMAT Prep was accidental.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2013, 07:16
Totally agree with you guys. I chose B for the same reasons.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2013, 13:25
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1.) X was one of the last Y
2.) X was last one of the Y

In this context, when you want to say that Gregory was among the last few kings, use 1. It is syntactically (idiomatically) correct.

For what you want to say (Gregory was the last and not one of the last) there would be no 'one' mentioned in the sentence. It would have been: .... who was the last xyz king.
With 'one' added, it creates a very awkward structure, having no meaning.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2013, 15:01
jumsumtak wrote:
1.) X was one of the last Y
2.) X was last one of the Y

In this context, when you want to say that Gregory was among the last few kings, use 1. It is syntactically (idiomatically) correct.

For what you want to say (Gregory was the last and not one of the last) there would be no 'one' mentioned in the sentence. It would have been: .... who was the last xyz king.
With 'one' added, it creates a very awkward structure, having no meaning.


Ok, thanks for the answer. Great explanation concerning the "one" that should not be employed to say that Gregory was the last and not one of the last.

But do you think the GMAT could give a question like that on the exam? Wouldn't it be too confusing for exam takers?
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2013, 15:11
alexol wrote:
Ok, thanks for the answer. Great explanation concerning the "one" that should not be employed to say that Gregory was the last and not one of the last.
But do you think the GMAT could give a question like that on the exam? Wouldn't it be too confusing for exam takers?


Absolutely. There are men and women, sitting in the GMAC chambers, who earn their wages for confusing us.

This question has nothing that the GMAC does not like - I'd give it a thumbs up.

When you practice a few more problems, you will get to know what is a 'badly' or 'awkwardly' worded problem. Don't try too hard to recognize the pattern, the intuition comes with practice. If you are starting your prep, concentrate on the grammatical errors and the meaning of the sentence.

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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2013, 21:36
Not yet convinced with (C). I go with(B).

"the last one of the Pictish kings" - there may be better way of telling this, but I don't believe option is grammatically incorrect.

I believe when you fall in the dilemma to choose an option between :

1) Wordy but grammatically correct, but keeps the meaning of the original sentence intact
2) Grammatically correct, not wordy , but changes the meaning


Then I choose (1). Because to me ,retaining the meaning of the sentence is more important than a wordy sentence ( provided that the wordy sentence is grammatically correct)

Please post our suggestions on my explanation
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2013, 02:22
Practicegmat wrote:
I believe when you fall in the dilemma to choose an option between :
1) Wordy but grammatically correct, but keeps the meaning of the original sentence intact
2) Grammatically correct, not wordy , but changes the meaning
Then I choose (1). Because to me ,retaining the meaning of the sentence is more important than a wordy sentence ( provided that the wordy sentence is grammatically correct)


This is true.

But adding 'one' makes the statement grammatically (idiomatically) incorrect and obscures the meaning. I'd say try finding out a similar structure on the internet; that should make things a little more clearer.
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Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle [#permalink] New post 16 May 2013, 19:15
jumsumtak wrote:
1.) X was one of the last Y
2.) X was last one of the Y

In this context, when you want to say that Gregory was among the last few kings, use 1. It is syntactically (idiomatically) correct.

For what you want to say (Gregory was the last and not one of the last) there would be no 'one' mentioned in the sentence. It would have been: .... who was the last xyz king.
With 'one' added, it creates a very awkward structure, having no meaning.

Thank you, jumsumtak, for the response. I apologize as I am replying after a few months of dormancy.
As I see, your second example makes sense if Y is plural.

Here, Pictish Kings means one particular dynasty of rulers. There were many successive rulers who fall under the category "Pictish Kings". It is ok to say "Gregory was last one of the Pictish Kings" (which is intended to convey that "Gregory was the last Pictish King").

There is little difference between meaning of option B and meaning of option C. Option B means Gregory was the last Pictish King and option C means Gregory was one of the last Pictish kings. Following 2 scenarios will clarify the concept.

********************************************
Scenario 1: Assuming chronological order of the Pictish Kings was -
Bridei, Ciniod, Alpín, Talorgan, Dubhtolargg, Drest, Conall, Caustantín, Óengus, Drest, Gregory, Eógan

Here Gregory was not the last Pictish King, but he was among the last two Pictish Kings. In this case, it would be wrong to say "Gregory was the last one of the Pictish kings" (option B), but it would be right to say "Gregory was one of the last Pictish kings" (option C).

Scenario 2: Assuming chronological order of the Pictish Kings was -
Bridei, Ciniod, Alpín, Talorgan, Dubhtolargg, Drest, Conall, Caustantín, Óengus, Drest, Eógan, Gregory

Here Gregory was the last Pictish King and thus he was among the last two Pictish Kings. In this case, it would be right to say "Gregory was the last one of the Pictish kings" as well "Gregory was one of the last Pictish kings".
********************************************

Original sentence meant Gregory was the last Pictish King and same thing is conveyed in option B. Option C has a little change of meaning as we cannot get any information on whether Gregory was the last Pictish King or he was last but one Pictish King.

Problem with option B is that the construction "Gregory was the last one of the Pictish kings" is wordy. Economic expression would have been "Gregory was the last Pictish king".

To compare:
Option B: retains meaning (+ point) but wordy (- point)
Option C: changes meaning (- point) though concise (+ point)

IMHO, B wins over C as B retains the meaning and C twists the meaning subtly.
However, considering the OA, it seems style is more important than meaning.
Re: Located on the North Sea coast of Scotland, Lauriston Castle   [#permalink] 16 May 2013, 19:15
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