"plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X

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"plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2012, 22:29
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Sunspots, vortices of gas associated with strong electromagnetic activity, are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on the Sun's poles or equator.
(A) are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on
(B) are visible as dark spots that never have been sighted on the surface of the Sun
(C) appear on the surface of the Sun as dark spots although never sighted at
(D) appear as dark spots on the surface of the Sun, although never having been sighted at
(E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on

Hi,

I have one confusion here about the option E. I'm not able to rule out E out of E & A.
Here's my reasoning:

spots on sun's surface, which have .. --> "which have" clearly refers to spots (plural) rather than sun's surface (singular). Also, grammar says:
In "x preposition y, which ..", "which" would refer to the most logically connecting & grammatically correct noun of X & Y. So, E shd be right. Please help me understand why it is not so.

"plural X + preposition + singular Y, which have"- which refers X, NO?

Thanks
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2012, 23:39
divineacclivity wrote:

Sunspots, vortices of gas associated with strong electromagnetic activity, are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on the Sun's poles or equator.
(A) are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on
(B) are visible as dark spots that never have been sighted on the surface of the Sun
(C) appear on the surface of the Sun as dark spots although never sighted at
(D) appear as dark spots on the surface of the Sun, although never having been sighted at
(E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on

Hi,

I have one confusion here about the option E. I'm not able to rule out E out of E & A.
Here's my reasoning:

spots on sun's surface, which have .. --> "which have" clearly refers to spots (plural) rather than sun's surface (singular). Also, grammar says:
In "x preposition y, which ..", "which" would refer to the most logically connecting & grammatically correct noun of X & Y. So, E shd be right. Please help me understand why it is not so.

"plural X + preposition + singular Y, which have"- which refers X, NO?

Thanks
Divine

Hi Divine,

Here option E is cancelled out because here '"which" refers to "Sun's Surface" & not to spots.
Whenever "which" is preceded by a comma, it will always refer to the word immediately before the comma.
Also, "which" is only explanatory & is not necessary to identify the subject of the sentence.
Therefore, in E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on, "which" refers to
"Sun's Surface" & not to spots.

I hope it will clarify your doubt.

Thanks
goelanu
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2012, 05:31
goelanu wrote:
divineacclivity wrote:

Sunspots, vortices of gas associated with strong electromagnetic activity, are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on the Sun's poles or equator.
(A) are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on
(B) are visible as dark spots that never have been sighted on the surface of the Sun
(C) appear on the surface of the Sun as dark spots although never sighted at
(D) appear as dark spots on the surface of the Sun, although never having been sighted at
(E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on

Hi,

I have one confusion here about the option E. I'm not able to rule out E out of E & A.
Here's my reasoning:

spots on sun's surface, which have .. --> "which have" clearly refers to spots (plural) rather than sun's surface (singular). Also, grammar says:
In "x preposition y, which ..", "which" would refer to the most logically connecting & grammatically correct noun of X & Y. So, E shd be right. Please help me understand why it is not so.

"plural X + preposition + singular Y, which have"- which refers X, NO?

Thanks
Divine

Hi Divine,

Here option E is cancelled out because here '"which" refers to "Sun's Surface" & not to spots.
Whenever "which" is preceded by a comma, it will always refer to the word immediately before the comma.
Also, "which" is only explanatory & is not necessary to identify the subject of the sentence.
Therefore, in E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on, "which" refers to
"Sun's Surface" & not to spots.

I hope it will clarify your doubt.

Thanks
goelanu

Thanks goe!
I wish I could find that link where "X preposition Y, which.." is clearly mentioned to refer to either of X and Y depending on the grammatical & logical connection.
http://www.beatthegmat.com/x-prepositio ... tml#502909
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2012, 10:37
My understanding : E is put in the bins for the reason that it fails to give the desired CONTRAST flavour that the intent demands.

1. X is found in New York, 2. X is not found in India : To bind the 2 cohesively , a word of Contrast such as BUT/ALTHOUGH/THOUGH....... is reqd.

X is found in New York, which is not found in India ( Does it brings out the contrast flavour ?...,.. KEEPING aside the which nuance ) : Guess No

E suffers from the same prob and thus ruled out ---my understanding.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2012, 21:26
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divineacclivity, I have read the article you are referring to about the use of x preposition y, which. and you are right. which can refer to either sunspots or surface.

I think we can rule out E because it changes the meaning. appear as does not mean visible as. Visible as simply means you can see the sunspots and that's it. It mentions nothing about the shape/appearance of the sunspots. Just the visibility. Appear as, on the other hand, puts more emphasis on the appear of the sun spots. It's more than whether or not the sun spots are visible. It's very nit picky but that's how I see it.

Also, in A, the original sentence wants to say sunspots have never been spotted; whereas in E, it says dark spots have never been spotted.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2012, 02:50
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I think the above post explains it. +1 for you.
The issue with E is that "which" refers to dark spots while the sentence is talking about Sunposts.

It would be great if an expert can confirm what we are thinking.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2012, 21:58
It could not be “E” because we have a modifier error here. The modifier clause “which has never been sighted on” modifies “Sun’s surface”.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 00:11
E can be thrown out immediately for using "which", which incorrectly refers to the sun's surface rather than to the vortices of gas.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 07:14
Hi @divineacclivity,

Sunspots, vortices of gas associated with strong electromagnetic activity, are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on the Sun's poles or equator.

(A) are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on
(E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on

Let us first start with the modifier doubt regarding “which”. Generally, “which” refers to the immediate preceding noun. However, that is not the case always. It can also refer to a little far away noun as well. Following is the link to the article that explains in detail when “which” can refer to a slightly far away noun:

noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html

In choice E, “which” can only refer to the immediate preceding noun “Sun’s surface” because “on the Sun’s surface” modifies the verb “appear”. Where do the dark spots appear? On Sun’s surface.

Hence, “Sun’s surface” can also be placed right after “appear”. That is the reason why “which” cannot jump over “Sun’s surface” to refer to “dark spots”.

I will suggest that you go through the article first and then read my explanation again. Then it will be absolutely clear to you, why “which” in option E only refers to “Sun’s surface”. This incorrect modification leads to incorrect meaning, making choice E incorrect.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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06 Dec 2012, 23:27
why in C "although verver sighted " is wrong. ? we can not use ellipsis here?
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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06 Dec 2012, 23:28
although never sighted

is wrong in C. why

we can not use ellipsis here
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2012, 12:02
thangvietnam wrote:
although never sighted

is wrong in C. why

we can not use ellipsis here

Hi @thangvietnam,

Let’s analyze Choice C: appear on the surface of the Sun as dark spots although never sighted at: Incorrect.

1. Generally, “although” marks the presence of a dependent clause. This choice does not contain any clause after “although”. If we say that ellipsis is at work here, The SV pair that is understood is “Sunspots appear”. Notice that “sighted” is a verb-ed modifier and not verb. So we will have to say that the SV pair is understood. In this case, we have SV do not make sense issue. If we say that only “Sunspots” is understood, then the understood subject will be missing a verb. If we assume that “sighted” is the verb, then it renders the meaning illogical. So there is no possibility of ellipsis in this choice.

2. There is a meaning issue also with this choice. “although” seems to modify “Sunspots”. So now the choice suggests that Sunspots are seen on Sun’s surface but are never sighted on Sun’s pole. This is certainly changes the meaning of the sentence. Hence, this choice is incorrect.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2013, 03:03
egmat wrote:
Hi @divineacclivity,

Sunspots, vortices of gas associated with strong electromagnetic activity, are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on the Sun's poles or equator.

(A) are visible as dark spots on the surface of the Sun but have never been sighted on
(E) appear as dark spots on the Sun's surface, which have never been sighted on

Let us first start with the modifier doubt regarding “which”. Generally, “which” refers to the immediate preceding noun. However, that is not the case always. It can also refer to a little far away noun as well. Following is the link to the article that explains in detail when “which” can refer to a slightly far away noun:

noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html

In choice E, “which” can only refer to the immediate preceding noun “Sun’s surface” because “on the Sun’s surface” modifies the verb “appear”. Where do the dark spots appear? On Sun’s surface.

Hence, “Sun’s surface” can also be placed right after “appear”. That is the reason why “which” cannot jump over “Sun’s surface” to refer to “dark spots”.

I will suggest that you go through the article first and then read my explanation again. Then it will be absolutely clear to you, why “which” in option E only refers to “Sun’s surface”. This incorrect modification leads to incorrect meaning, making choice E incorrect.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

it is clear that in some og questions, "which" can modify slightly far noun but I think this modification is considerered inferiror and can be eliminated if we can do so. consider the following question 48, og13.

It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earthf whichcovers more
than four times the surface area of its closest rival in
size, North America's Lake Superior.
(A) It is called a sea, but the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, which covers
(B) Although it is called a sea, actually the
landlocked Caspian is the largest lake on Earth,
which covers
(C) Though called a sea, the landlocked Caspian is
actually the largest lake on Earth, covering
(D) Though called a sea but it actually is the largest
lake on Earth, the landlocked Caspian covers
(E) Despite being called a sea, the largest lake on
Earth is actually the landlocked Caspian, covering

so, "which" modifying slightly far noun is not consider absolute error. Some times this error can be acceptable but it is still an error.

in og questions, pronoun ambiguity is a similar cases. some times pronoun ambiguity appear in all 5 choices and other times the ambiguity is not acceptable in other questions. How do we deal with this problem. NOT ABSOLUTE ERROR, INFERIOR EXPRESSION. this is the correct thinking. Ron use to say that pronoun ambiguity is not absolute error.

so we have to accept that pronoun ambiguity and which modifying slightly far noun are inferior expression. sometimes they are acceptable some times not .

pls comment/correct my thinking. I am hightly interested in discussing the og questions. pls, remember Ron'saying: we continuously learn the new thing from og questions

yes, we need to understand the og questions better before we do practice.

pls discuss now because we have only 2 minutes per question on the test.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2013, 03:34
I had been through the SC course in which I was told that unless there is some quantity word, the subject cannot reside inside a prepositional phrase.
So as per that, I feel why shouldn't the "which" modifies the dark spots and not "Sun's surface".
Consider the example:
Most of the Indians, who are generally good at quant, prefer taking CAT.
IMO, I am talking about Indians in general and not about 80% of the Indians.

Now consider this"
The box of nails, which is black in color, is kept upon the table.
IMO, here which refers to "the box" and not "nails".

Regards.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2013, 03:44
C is wrong because

(C) appear on the surface of the Sun as dark spots although never sighted at
(D) appear as dark spots on the surface of the Sun, although never having been sighted at

because
"on the surface of the sun" should be after "dark spots.

pls confirm, am I correct

why D is wrong? pls explain.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2013, 03:53
Ron said

X of Y, which

if Y works to be modified by which, which refer to Y
if Y dose works, and X works, which refers to X

this mean, if Y works to be modified by Which, regardless of X, which must refer to Y.

I this that is correct.

B and E are wrong because "which clause" modifies "dark spots", not "sun spot". Meaning in B and E is quite different from the intended meaning

but why C and D are wrong, Pls explain. og explanation is not full
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2013, 04:02
d wrong because

never having been sighted

shows an action happening before the action in preceding clause.

this change the intended meaning.

the elipsis in C and D are correct.

I am confused. is my thinking correct ?
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2013, 08:30
Ron said that
if we want to use elipsis, use only conjuction and adjective, the adjective phrase must come before main verb

that is why C and D are wrong

if the second parts of C and D appear at the begining, C and D are correct

although never sighted in A, X appears in B

is correct

X appears in B although never sighted in A'

is incorrect (of course , by gmat rule)

you can find the Ron's saying as following on the internet

* if you're going to use "while" with an adjective phrase (while willing to...), then that adjective phrase should precede the main verb.
i.e., many people, while willing to... , are disinclined to...

I think Ron is right. I used to see , in gmatprep problem, the elipsis, in which conjuction+adjective appears at the begining of sentence. if I see one I will post here.

pls, comment.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2013, 14:06
Marcab wrote:
I had been through the SC course in which I was told that unless there is some quantity word, the subject cannot reside inside a prepositional phrase.
So as per that, I feel why shouldn't the "which" modifies the dark spots and not "Sun's surface".
Consider the example:
Most of the Indians, who are generally good at quant, prefer taking CAT.
IMO, I am talking about Indians in general and not about 80% of the Indians.

Now consider this"
The box of nails, which is black in color, is kept upon the table.
IMO, here which refers to "the box" and not "nails".

Regards.

Hi Marcab,

Let’s begin from the basic, relative pronoun modifiers, or for that matter any noun modifier, modifies the immediate preceding noun entity. This noun entity can be a single word or a noun phrase. If the modified entity is a noun phrase, then the number of the head of the noun entity decides the number of the verb. Let’s take a set of examples here:
1. The box of nails that are rusted is kept on the table.
2. The box of nails, which is black in color, is kept on the table.

In sentence 1, relative pronoun “that” refers to “nails”. The verb after “that” is plural that makes it clear that the DC is talking about the “nails”.

In sentence 2, “which” refers to “the box”. Here again the verb “is” tells us what “which” stands for.

Now, this is a very common confusion that a subject cannot lie in the prepositional phrase. Here I would like to elaborate a bit. This rule that subject cannot be in the prepositional phrase only applies to the SV number agreement.
In both above mentioned examples, the verb of the IC is “is” because the subject of the sentence is “the box”. In such constructions, “nails” or the noun entity that lies in the prepositional phrase cannot be the subject. Hence the number of the subject decides the number of the verb.

However, this rule does not apply to the modification of the relative pronouns. Relative pronouns can refer to any noun in the noun phrase preceding it, even if that noun lies in the prepositional phrase as is evident form the above mentioned examples.

Now intheofficial question of Sun SPots, I have already explained in my earlier post, why "which" cannot refer to "dark spots". You can understand the reasoning by reading the article "Noun Modifiers can refer to far away nouns" the link to which has been provided in that post.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2013, 14:24
thangvietnam wrote:
d wrong because

never having been sighted

shows an action happening before the action in preceding clause.

this change the intended meaning.
is my thinking correct ?

Hi @thangvietnam,
Yes, you are correct. Choice D is incorec because of the incorrect use of "never having been sighted".

Thanks.
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Re: "plural X+preposition+singular Y, which have"-which refers X   [#permalink] 11 Jan 2013, 14:24

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