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Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important

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Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important [#permalink] New post 18 May 2014, 11:04
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I'd like to walk you through a question I have, and my initial conclusion. Let me know if the analysis or the conclusions are not sound:
Take a look at the Manhattan GMAT advanced section on parallelism to read about the background to this topic.
I think this is worth explaining on this forum because wordy and long sentence correction problems SUCK. These questions kill your time.

Question
Simple and Complex Gerund Phrases look very similar but you need to easily spot the differences between them on the GMAT. How do you do that?

Situation
I saw an actual problem in the OG that read:
"New data from United States Forest Service ecologists show that for every dollar spent on controlled small scale burning, forest thinning, and the training of fire management personnel, it saves seven dollars that would not be spent on having to extinguish big fires." (OG 13, p. 40, question D36).

I initially read this question and thought "wait, are the parallel elements right?" I burned too much time thinking about that, instead of the other parts of the sentence.
"Small scale burning" and "Forest thinning" are action nouns, but "the training of fire management" is very different. How would I know that's correct?

Analysis
It is very easy to mix up Simple Gerund Phrases and Complex Gerund Phrases. The Manhattan GMAT uses this example to illustrate the difference between the two:
(1) Simple gerund phrases -- e.g. Tracking satellites accurately is important for the space agency.
(2)Complex Gerund phrases- eg. The accurate tracking of satellites is important for the space agency.
The difference in words between the two are extremely subtle (especially if you ignore the adjective!).

Conclusions
Since Complex Gerund Phrases can be parallel with Action Nouns (e.g. Detection, Nomination, Pollution, Eruption, etc.), you have to be on extra-high alert when you spot a gerund phrase used in parallelism. Since time is of the essence on the GMAT, you need to spot the difference between a simple and complex gerund EXTREMELY quickly.
--> I think the best way to do this is to look for an article (a/an/the) or an adjective (both of which accompany complex gerunds).
--> If you see "the" and a verb-ing participle, you have a complex gerund phrases and it fits in with any action nouns.
--> If you just see a verb-ing participle without an article (a/an/the) or an adjective, then you probably have a simple gerund phrase, and it can't go with any action nouns.

Does this make sense? Please let me know.

Sincerely,
A bro who is trying to conquer parallelism
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Re: Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important [#permalink] New post 18 May 2014, 17:40
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nm855 wrote:
Mike
This is something new and would appreciate if you could comment..
Thanks

Dear warriorsquared & nm855,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

The essence of what warriorsquared concluded is correct. I would just add: what MGMAT formulated, in rule form, about this topic encapsulates what is intuitive for folks who have an "ear" for correct grammar. How do you get that if you don't have it? READ. In preparing for the GMAT Verbal section, there is no substitute for developing a habit of reading, reading in English every day. For more on what to read, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-reading-list/
Folks studying for the GMAT want quick rules that they can apply, and rules will be fine in some ways, but the intuition one develops from a habit of reading is invaluable.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Mike :-)
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Re: Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2014, 05:38
mikemcgarry wrote:
nm855 wrote:
Mike
This is something new and would appreciate if you could comment..
Thanks

Dear warriorsquared & nm855,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

The essence of what warriorsquared concluded is correct. I would just add: what MGMAT formulated, in rule form, about this topic encapsulates what is intuitive for folks who have an "ear" for correct grammar. How do you get that if you don't have it? READ. In preparing for the GMAT Verbal section, there is no substitute for developing a habit of reading, reading in English every day. For more on what to read, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-reading-list/
Folks studying for the GMAT want quick rules that they can apply, and rules will be fine in some ways, but the intuition one develops from a habit of reading is invaluable.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Mike :-)


I am not able to understand the complex theories behind a couple of SC topics and relying on the above highlighted approach to tide me through.

Are there any questions in this forum around this aspect of parallelism ?
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Re: Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2014, 11:59
Just want to highlight " "Small scale burning" and "Forest thinning" are action nouns " these are complex gerunds not action nouns.
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Re: Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2014, 12:10
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PiyushK wrote:
Just want to highlight " "Small scale burning" and "Forest thinning" are action nouns " these are complex gerunds not action nouns.

Dear PiyushK,
Yes, and unlike simple gerunds, complex gerunds can be parallel to action nouns. Complex gerunds are the "parallelism equivalents" of action nouns, if that makes any sense.
Mike :-)
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Re: Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2014, 12:30
mikemcgarry wrote:
PiyushK wrote:
Just want to highlight " "Small scale burning" and "Forest thinning" are action nouns " these are complex gerunds not action nouns.

Dear PiyushK,
Yes, and unlike simple gerunds, complex gerunds can be parallel to action nouns. Complex gerunds are the "parallelism equivalents" of action nouns, if that makes any sense.
Mike :-)



Thanks Mike, Yes, I do understand this concept. Actually I was highlighting that in the article above "Small scale burning" and "Forest thinning" are suggested as action noun, but as per my understanding they are complex gerund noun.

Action nouns are such as eruption, construction, change and growth etc.
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Don't forget to press--> Kudos :)
My Articles: 1. WOULD: when to use? | 2. All GMATPrep RCs (New)
Tip: Before exam a week earlier don't forget to exhaust all gmatprep problems specially for "sentence correction".

Re: Parallelism subtlety that is sort of important   [#permalink] 12 Jun 2014, 12:30
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