MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case : GMAT Verbal Section
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# MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case

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MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2013, 02:55
Pronoun CASE:

RULE:In particular, a pronoun in subject position in one clause may often be presumed to refer to the subject of a parallel
clause, even if that subject is relatively far away.

As you can see in RED, can we say that this rule is general or NOT?

Example:
Supernovas destroy their immediate environments in vast explosions,
BUT by synthesizing heavy chemical elements, THEY provide the universe
with the possibility of biochemistry-based life as we know it.

Explanation:Supernovas is the subject of the first clause. The they is also in subject position in the second
clause, which is parallel to the first clause. Even though there are at least two closer possible
antecedents (environments and explosions), we know that they clearly refers to supernovas.

Pronoun Ambiguity:

Researchers claim to have developed new "nano-papers" incorporating tiny
cellulose fibers, which THEY allege give THEM the strength of cast iron.

When we talk about pronoun ambiguity , I know this is not the sole criterion of eliminating a choice.
However, I need clarity on this.

When we so logical antecedent , we mean that what the author wants the reader to logically understand.

Here in the above example

(1). nano-papers cannot allege as they are not living beings.So, THEY should logically refer back to Researchers.
(2). THEM correctly refer backs to nano-papers as Researchers are not eating nano-papers in their diet so that it
would give researchers strength.

Please advise on the above.

Please clarify whether I my reasoning is correct when we apply the PRONOUN CASE Rule to this question.

THEY can refer back to "Researchers" , subject position of the previous clause.
THEM can refer back to "nano-papers", object position of the previous clause.

However, the both the clauses doesn't hold equal importance in the sentence as the clause which uses THEY and THEM is a dependent clause starting with which, thereby the RULE doesn't apply to this sentence.

Please advise

Rgds,
TGC !
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Rgds,
TGC!
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Director
Joined: 03 Aug 2012
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Re: MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2013, 04:50
Usage of Which As per MGMAT SC Guide:

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought
would complement our living room furniture.

The original sentence is incorrect because the pronoun which refers to store. Store is an illogical
antecedent for which, because the table, not the store, is what would complement someone's living
room furniture.

My query:

"coffee table towards the back of the store" is a phrase having ADJ NOUN+ prepositional phrase.

So table blah blah(PP) , which

Doesn't it clearly refers back to table?

Because in some explanation of Official question by RON, he mentioned that

X of Y, which ... if doesn't satisfy with Y can satisfy with X

Plz Advise

Rgds,
TGC!
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Rgds,
TGC!
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Re: MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2013, 21:43
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Researchers claim to have developed new "nano-papers" incorporating tiny cellulose fibers, which THEY allege give THEM the strength of cast iron.

In this sentence, as you say, "they" is unambiguous. However "them" IS ambiguous. "Them" could still logically refer to the researchers.

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought would complement our living room furniture.

"X of Y, which ... if doesn't satisfy with Y can satisfy with X." I haven't read the official explanation.

But what Ron probably meant by "doesn't satisy" - I think I can illustrate through this sentence itself. In the sentence as it is, the modifier modifies not "the store" but rather it modifies "the back of the store", which is still wrong. It does NOT by any means modify "the coffee table".
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Re: MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2013, 05:25
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Expert's post
TGC wrote:
Pronoun CASE:

RULE:In particular, a pronoun in subject position in one clause may often be presumed to refer to the subject of a parallel
clause, even if that subject is relatively far away.

As you can see in RED, can we say that this rule is general or NOT?

Example:
Supernovas destroy their immediate environments in vast explosions,
BUT by synthesizing heavy chemical elements, THEY provide the universe
with the possibility of biochemistry-based life as we know it.

Explanation:Supernovas is the subject of the first clause. The they is also in subject position in the second
clause, which is parallel to the first clause. Even though there are at least two closer possible
antecedents (environments and explosions), we know that they clearly refers to supernovas.

Pronoun Ambiguity:

Researchers claim to have developed new "nano-papers" incorporating tiny
cellulose fibers, which THEY allege give THEM the strength of cast iron.

When we talk about pronoun ambiguity , I know this is not the sole criterion of eliminating a choice.
However, I need clarity on this.

When we so logical antecedent , we mean that what the author wants the reader to logically understand.

Here in the above example

(1). nano-papers cannot allege as they are not living beings.So, THEY should logically refer back to Researchers.
(2). THEM correctly refer backs to nano-papers as Researchers are not eating nano-papers in their diet so that it
would give researchers strength.

Please advise on the above.

Please clarify whether I my reasoning is correct when we apply the PRONOUN CASE Rule to this question.

THEY can refer back to "Researchers" , subject position of the previous clause.
THEM can refer back to "nano-papers", object position of the previous clause.

However, the both the clauses doesn't hold equal importance in the sentence as the clause which uses THEY and THEM is a dependent clause starting with which, thereby the RULE doesn't apply to this sentence.

Please advise

Rgds,
TGC !

Talking about pronouns and ambiguity, the GMAT now appears to be ok with pronoun ambiguity. We used to think (and teach) that pronoun ambiguity was a reliable source of eliminations, but the GMAT breaks the ambiguity rule so often now that you should not use pronoun ambiguity anymore. With that in mind, the statement about a subject pronoun referring to the subject of an earlier, parallel clause is generally true but irrelevant.

Now, your example about pronoun ambiguity is interesting because it does break a rule that still seems to be important to the GMAT.

Researchers claim to have developed new "nano-papers" incorporating tiny
cellulose fibers, which THEY allege give THEM the strength of cast iron.

Here, "they" reasonably refers back to researchers (as the only noun that can allege) and "them" would reasonably refer back to nano-papers, but there is a problem. Once we have introduced a pronoun, the associated pronoun cases will refer back to the same antecedent. "They" has researchers as it's antecedent, so the associated pronouns, "them" and "their", will also refer back to antecedent. We can't use "them" to refer back to "nano-papers" because "them" is already assigned to researchers. We need to repeat either the noun "nano-papers" or "researchers".

Correct:
Researchers claim to have developed new "nano-papers" incorporating tiny
cellulose fibers, which THEY allege give the "nano-papers" the strength of cast iron.

Also Correct:
Researchers claim to have developed new "nano-papers" incorporating tiny
cellulose fibers, which researchers allege give THEM the strength of cast iron.

KW
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Manhattan GMAT Instructor
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Re: MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2013, 05:37
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Expert's post
TGC wrote:
Usage of Which As per MGMAT SC Guide:

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought
would complement our living room furniture.

The original sentence is incorrect because the pronoun which refers to store. Store is an illogical
antecedent for which, because the table, not the store, is what would complement someone's living
room furniture.

My query:

"coffee table towards the back of the store" is a phrase having ADJ NOUN+ prepositional phrase.

So table blah blah(PP) , which

Doesn't it clearly refers back to table?

Because in some explanation of Official question by RON, he mentioned that

X of Y, which ... if doesn't satisfy with Y can satisfy with X

Plz Advise

Rgds,
TGC!

The rule about X of Y is applicable with the preposition "of" but not really with prepositions generally. For example: "The painter's latests works of art, which hang in the city's art museum, are up for sale". In this sentence, "which" does not refer back to art, but we can skip over the "of" clause to "works" (the painter's works) and now the "which" clause makes sense.

Let's apply that logic to the original example:

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought
would complement our living room furniture.

The "which" clause doesn't logically modify "the store" so let's skip the noun before the "of" phrase - in this case that noun is "the back". However, the "which" clause also doesn't logically modify "the back", so the "which" clause is in error. We cannot skip back any further.

KW
_________________

Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Re: MGMAT SC:Pronoun Ambiguity and Pronoun Case   [#permalink] 31 Aug 2013, 05:37
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