Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor

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12 Jan 2010, 20:57
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Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins sought
recognition by the press, and both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for.
A. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for
B. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible
C. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible
D. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security that were in large measure what they were responsible for
E. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security which were largely their responsibility

Can anybody explain why B wins over A ? What is the role 'for which' is playing?
If you have any questions
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Re: Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins [#permalink]

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12 Jan 2010, 23:48
There is 2:3 split with choices 'allowed others to take credit' vs 'allowed others taking credit'. I've marked them according to what IMO is the correct choice. C, D, E are out, (A) and (B) are left

A. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for

B. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible

From these 2 statements I prefer (B). (A) is wrong because pronoun 'they' has no clear antecedent: are we talking about two women or about others (persons that were allowed to take credit)? (B) clears this ambiguity by changing sentence structure and employing "for which'
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06 May 2013, 00:12
msand wrote:
Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins sought
recognition by the press, and both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for.
A. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for
B. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible
C. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible
D. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security that were in large measure what they were responsible for
E. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief,
and social security which were largely their responsibility

Can anybody explain why B wins over A ? What is the role 'for which' is playing?

Ok, lets break.

Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins sought recognition by the press (clause 1 with neither X nor Y isthe subject and sought recognition is the verb
Clause 2: and both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what thev had been responsible for. This sounds like an independent clause as this can stand by itself, it is thus joined by using ", and" and allowed is the verb
Now this is where I get confused, if "both" are the subject than the pronoun "They" can correctly refer to "both" so how is they causing pronoun error?
Can experts, please tell me if I am analyzing this in an incorrect manner.?
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09 May 2013, 22:32
nikhil007 wrote:
Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins sought recognition by the press (clause 1 with neither X nor Y isthe subject and sought recognition is the verb
Clause 2: and both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what thev had been responsible for.

Now this is where I get confused, if "both" are the subject than the pronoun "They" can correctly refer to "both" so how is they causing pronoun error?
Can experts, please tell me if I am analyzing this in an incorrect manner.?

Hi Nikhil,
Good job breaking the sentence down.
Now coming to your doubt - "they" is ambiguous since it could refer to "others" as well.
Furthermore, compare the second clause of choices A and B

Choice A - Both allowed others to take credit for the genesis of programs that were in large measure what they had been responsible for.
Choice B - Both allowed others to take credit for the genesis of programs for which the two women were in large measure responsible.

Choice B is written in a more precise manner than choice A.

BTW - what is the source of this question. Is it an official question?

Thanks,

Payal
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09 May 2013, 22:40
Payal- The Source is this document by Souvik containing all official questions
the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-sc-140372.html
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09 May 2013, 23:07
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This is a matter of stylistic preference in GMAT. Clauses should not be ending in a preposition.

A says: what they had been responsible for
- This clause ends in preposition “for”, something not preferred on GMAT.

B gets away with this by stating: for which the two women were in large measure responsible

Just so you get used to this, following would fall out of preference on GMAT:
a) She is the person I am in love with.
b) This is the truck he met an accident with.
c) That is the program he is responsible for.

Correct sentences would be:
a) She is the person whom I love.
b) This is the truck with which he met an accident.
c) That is the program for which he is responsible.
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09 May 2013, 23:45
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I am just looking at A and B;
The most important reason that A is not as good as B is the wrong choice of the past perfect verb tense-in A.

both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what ‘they had been responsible for’.-- this means that both the ladies had stopped being responsible for those programs at the time of writing this note. On the contrary, they still continued to be responsible for generating those programs and for their willingness to let others take credit for their brain-children. Both of these phenomena were happening concurrently and therefore, the right tense should be simple past- namely -were responsible for -
Meaning wise, I feel nothing much to feel different between A and B, except for this tense glitch
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10 May 2013, 01:21
EducationAisle wrote:
This is a matter of stylistic preference in GMAT. Clauses should not be ending in a preposition.

A says: what they had been responsible for
- This clause ends in preposition “for”, something not preferred on GMAT.

Thought an "official" example would help..#83, OG-13:

Incorrect option (notice the clause ending in preposition: North Americans are exposed to):
A report by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science has concluded that many of the dioxins that are currently uncontrolled and North Americans are exposed to come from the incineration of wastes.

Correct option (notice the clause now no longer ends in preposition: to which North Americans are exposed):
A report by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science has concluded that many of the currently uncontrolled dioxins to which North Americans are exposed come from the incineration of wastes.

As is often the case, OE conceals more than it reveals.
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10 May 2013, 02:25
Some more thoughts about ending clauses with prepositions.

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011 ... positions/
http://www.merriam-webster.com/video/00 ... sition.htm

But it will be interesting to note what the OG’s OE is about the tense aspect in the Eleonor thread. Anyone has it?
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10 May 2013, 03:19
daagh wrote:

Perhaps my earlier post was not very clear. I did not say that there was anything grammatically incorrect with using preoposition at the end of the clause; I said it is a matter of stylistic preference on GMAT.

In fact in one of the links that you have posted, it does say that not using preposition at the end of the clause makes the sentence very formal; since GMAT tests formal writing, this is perhaps the reason why prepositions at the end of the clause are not preferred on GMAT.

However, if you have come across any official question that does use preposition at the end of the clause, do post it.
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10 May 2013, 05:15
@EducationAisle

Yes; certainly; Just as I may ask you to get me the OE for Eleanor thread as soon as can. But my gut feeling is that the Official question that you have cited ( Dioxins) may be some kind if a special case, , possibly like - this is a modifier sentence, which is not supposed to end in prepositions; Whether this applies as well for the Eleanor example, which has a different clause structure, is rather a hazy point. So, I will wait until you give me the OE for the Eleanor just as you may wait until
I can lay hands on an official example that ends with a preposition.
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10 May 2013, 06:09
I don't have OE for this (I did not post this question and don't even know the source); but even if someone were to post OE, I am very sure "preposition thing" would not be mentioned in OE; as I had earlier mentioned..

OE conceals more than it reveals

These stylistic preferences of GMAT at best get articulated as "wordy and awkward" in OE.

So yeah..best bet would be if someone can actually find a sentence to the contrary.
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10 May 2013, 07:45
best would be to know what the OE says about the verb tense between the two. Without the original OE , we we will be simply grinding the same old flour.
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10 May 2013, 08:40
daagh wrote:
best would be to know what the OE says about the verb tense between the two. Without the original OE , we we will be simply grinding the same old flour.

Well, as I said, OE would actually not add too much value here.

daagh wrote:
both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what ‘they had been responsible for’.-- this means that both the ladies had stopped being responsible for those programs at the time of writing this note.

Couple of things:

1. Time of writing this note seems inconsequential. Two things of relevance are (a) When they allowed others to take credit (b) what they were/had been responsible for.

2. Whether the two ladies had stopped being responsible for those programs again seems inconsequential. What is being debated here is the "genesis" of the programs (and not the "programs" themselves; so the fate of the programs or who was responsible for executing those programs etc. doesn't matter).

What do you think?
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10 May 2013, 09:23
Interesting discussion.
Quote:
both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for

IMHO the use of past perfect tense is correct. In fact in this case either past perfect or simple past will work. As Ashish correctly stated, the sentence states that both the women were responsible for the genesis i.e. the origination of the programs. So in essence the action of "allowed" would have happened only after there of something to take credit for i.e. the genesis of the program. So in that sense use of past perfect tense is not wrong.

That being said, apart from the pronoun ambiguity issue and the preciseness issue indicated above, there seems to be an issue with the placement of "in large measure". This modifier should modify the degree of "being responsible". But that is not what it indicates in choice A. Here is the simplified version of choice A:

The genesis of programs were in large measure what they had been responsible for.
As you can see this modifier modifies the genesis of the programs instead of modifying the "had been responsible".

This has been very effectively corrected in the correct choice B. Again a simplified version of choice B:
The genesis of historic programs for which the two women were in large measure responsible

So in nutshell, choice B is a much more concise representation of the sentence. All said and done, I am curious to see a screenshot of this question. It bothers me a bit that I have not come across this question so far , so would certainly help if a screenshot of this question could be posted.

Thanks,

Payal
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10 May 2013, 09:41
egmat wrote:
IMHO the use of past perfect tense is correct.

Yes, this aspect about the question is puzzling me as well.

Would you say:

a) X took credit for something that Y had invented.

Or

b) X took credit for something that Y invented.

I would think past perfect (had invented) would be more appropriate. Nevertheless the creators (if this is an official question) seem to have taken a position that past perfect is not needed in this sentence to establish the chronological sequence (as it is pretty clear even when simple past is used instead).
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10 May 2013, 18:36
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EducationAisle:
Sorry to say that you mistook my calling the programs as the programs per se, rather than the genesis of those programs. Conduct of the programs was neither in context nor in contention. The programs themselves are no more than middlemen in this case. Leaders only originate the programs and others execute them. However, the point is what the past perfect is trying to signify in choice A? In other words, why was the perfect tense dropped in the correct choice B like hot potato? Put in different way, is the use of the past perfect in A , a part of the error log or not. If it is not, any valid reason for dropping it in the correct choice? May be , we can look forward to e-GMAT for an answer. I also liked e-GMAT’s diplomatic stand on the past perfect issue; both here and there. Incidentally, can you please cite an example, in which GMAT allowed an error in the right choice, however trivial the error was?

But that is not all

- to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for –

Genesis is what we are discussing, and the programs themselves are just addenda to the genesis. Genesis is singular. After removing the middlemen, it reads- to take credit for the genesis, that were in large measure what they had been responsible for. This is flagrant SV error. Some might say that after all stands for the programs, and therefore the verb is the plural –were-. Or some may say, the restrictive pronoun, ‘that’ represents only the social security which is singular and there the use of- were - is wrong. All in all, a relative pronoun muddle.
to take credit for the genesis (of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security) for which the two women were in large measure responsible
Choice B dodges the issue it by introducing a ‘for which’ phrase, thereby skirting the relative pronoun touch rule and the consequent SV mis-match.
Add to these unmistakable errors, e-GMAT’s point on ‘wrong word order issue’, and you will be wondering whether the difference between A and B is just about prepositional ending.
EducationAisle: I will be glad to clear your further doubts on this
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10 May 2013, 19:10
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daagh wrote:
Incidentally, can you please cite an example, in which GMAT allowed an error in the right choice, however trivial the error was?

Well, this is a circuitous point, because we instructors believe that whatever comes from official sources is gospel truth; so, if something in official sources "seems" incorrect, we modify our understanding.

daagh wrote:
Genesis is what we are discussing, and the programs themselves are just addenda to the genesis. Genesis is singular. After removing the middlemen, it reads- to take credit for the genesis, that were in large measure what they had been responsible for. This is flagrant SV error.

Phenomenal point! Totally agree.

daagh wrote:
you will be wondering whether the difference between A and B is just about prepositional ending.

When did I ever suggest that prepositional ending was the only issue? Most of the incorrect answer choices on GMAT have multiple errors, and GMAT's stylistic preference is one of the things that is going against it.
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10 May 2013, 19:15
Thanks for the understanding. Good luck
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10 May 2013, 22:20
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Thanks Daagh for pointing out the BLATANT SV error. In the process of arguing about all the other stuff, we all totally missed the SV agreement error that is so evident in the original choice.

In reality, had I followed my usual process (the e-GMAT 3 step process), I would have caught this error in the first place...See this is what happens when one takes short cuts or when one is looking for a smoking gun. Now since I did not follow the process myself, I will take this upon myself to give a detailed analysis of this question.

Meaning Analysis

The two ladies (ER and FP) did not seek recognition by the press for something.
They allowed other people to take credit for something.
Something = genesis of specific historic programs.
These two ladies were in fact largely responsible for the genesis of these programs.

Error Analysis

Clause 1 - Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins sought recognition by the press, and
Clause 2 - both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security
Clause 3 - that were in large measure
Clause 4 - what they had been responsible for.

SV - SV pairs are marked as shown. Subject "that" in clause 3 refers to "genesis" and hence the verb "were" does not agree in number with the singular "genesis". SV Agreement Error

Verb - The sentence is established in past time frame. All verbs except verb in clause 4 are in simple past tense. Past perfect tense in clause 4 appears correct. The context of the sentence clearly indicates that the action of creation of the programs happened before anyone took credit for their creation. So in that sense past perfect tense seems ok.

Pronoun - Pronoun "they" should logically refer to the two ladies. Even the context indicates this reference. Why? because it would not make sense to first state that the ladies allowed others to take credit and then say that these other people were indeed responsible for the genesis of the programs. If the others were indeed responsible for this task, then why would the sentence say that the ladies ALLOWED then to take the credit. But that being said, if there is a choice that clarifies this reference i.e. a choice that does not use a pronoun, then we should consider that one if that choice does not have any other errors. Pronoun ambiguity is not something based on which you should eliminate a choice right away.

Modifier - Relative pronoun modifier "that" refers to singular "genesis". There is a large prepositional phrase describes genesis. So in that sense "that" refers to "genesis of programs in public employment, relief, and social security".

Parallelism - The list of programs is parallel.

So SV error is the primary error in this sentence. Other than that, the original choice is not very precisely written sentence. There may be a slight chance of pronoun ambiguity as well.

Based on this, now we find the correct answer from the 5 given choices.

Process of Elimination

Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins sought recognition by the press, and both cautiously allowed others of the Roosevelt brain trust to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for.

A. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they had been responsible for
SV Error

B. to take credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible
Correct

C. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security for which the two women were in large measure responsible
Modifier error - Verb-ing modifier modifies the preceding noun, non-sensically implying that the programs took credit.

D. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security that were in large measure what they were responsible for
SV error as in Choice A, Modifier Error as in Choice C

E. taking credit for the genesis of historic programs in public employment, relief, and social security which were largely their responsibility
SV error as in Choice A, Punctuation issue - which is always preceded by a comma.

Thus choice B is the correct answer.

Take Away

The biggest TAKE AWAY from this question is that do not lose sight of a step by step process. Thoroughly analyze the original sentence. Don't just find one thing that too something that is not as deterministic, e.g. pronoun ambiguity, stylists issues, word order issues. This entire exercise was a great case in point. Knowing the grammar rules is not sufficient - we all discussed pretty heavy grammatical rules here. But ultimately the main difference among several choices was SV error. So please please please follow a step by step method to solve any SC question. Do not take short cuts...

I would like to thank daagh and Ashish for a wonderful discussion here. This discussion was a pleasure.

-Regards,
Payal

(PS: I hope I did not ramble too much here, its almost midnight here so I am not in my brightest of modes right now , but this question was intriguing enough that I could not keep myself from writing this. )
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Re: Neither First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt nor Secretary of Labor   [#permalink] 10 May 2013, 22:20

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