Pronoun and antecedent : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Pronoun and antecedent

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20 Feb 2013, 05:27
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Hi all,

While going through MGMAT SC material, I got some problem in my understanding of pronouns in below question:

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought would complement our living room furniture. - which incorrectly refers to store. It is not the store that would complement the living room furniture.

In above question( we finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store)
: Subject - We
Verb - chose
Object-Coffee table
So which should modify Object that is coffee table.

Then why above sentence is wrong.
If you have any questions
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20 Feb 2013, 08:40
We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought would complement our living room furniture.

Hi will split above sentence
We - Subject
chose- verb
the coffee table - object (noun)
towards the back of the store - prepositional phrase (modifing coffee table)

which - relative pronoun (refers back to coffee table)

we thought would complement our living room furniture - subordinate clause with proper SV
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20 Feb 2013, 09:34
GC14 wrote:
Hi all,

While going through MGMAT SC material, I got some problem in my understanding of pronouns in below question:

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought would complement our living room furniture. - which incorrectly refers to store. It is not the store that would complement the living room furniture.

In above question( we finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store)
: Subject - We
Verb - chose
Object-Coffee table
So which should modify Object that is coffee table.

Then why above sentence is wrong.

Hi GC14,

Which does not modify the object, but the noun just before it. In the given sentence "which" modifies the preceding noun, the "store". The usage of which can be tricky at times.

The rule for which(or any other noun modifier) is as under:

The noun modifier should touch the modifying noun. Exception: A critical modifier can come in between the noun modifier and the noun if the the modifier can not be placed elsewhere in the sentence without changing the intended meaning.

For example the correct version of the above sentence would be:

We finally chose the coffee table, which we thought would complement our living room furniture, towards the back of the store. --> Here which correctly refers to the coffee table.

The usage of which would be correct in this sentence:

Doctors suggest drinking warm cold water and to applying Argan oil on the face, which acts as a blocking agent for the ultraviolet rays.[/color] --> The usage of which is correct because we can not place the prepositional phrase "on the face" elsewhere in the sentence without changing the intended meaning of the original sentence. Here which would modify the noun "Argan oil"

I hope it clears your doubt,

Vercules
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20 Feb 2013, 10:07
GC14 wrote:
Hi all,

While going through MGMAT SC material, I got some problem in my understanding of pronouns in below question:

We finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store, which we thought would complement our living room furniture. - which incorrectly refers to store. It is not the store that would complement the living room furniture.

In above question( we finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store)
: Subject - We
Verb - chose
Object-Coffee table
So which should modify Object that is coffee table.

Then why above sentence is wrong.

I agree to what you are saying .. the only other way I could think of, to convey this idea would be:
Thinking it would complement our living room, we finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store.
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20 Feb 2013, 10:13
@Vercules:

Which one do you think conveys the idea more strongly:
We finally chose the coffee table, which we thought would complement our living room furniture, towards the back of the store.
or
Thinking it would complement our living room, we finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store.

I don't know whether its a style issue or something else but I would not like to leave my prepositional phrase hanging out for the end. Just like which modifier, prepositional phrases also have equal priority to the touch rule. I may be wrong but I would prefer the one in blue.
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20 Feb 2013, 10:29
gmatprepab wrote:
@Vercules:

Which one do you think conveys the idea more strongly:
We finally chose the coffee table, which we thought would complement our living room furniture, towards the back of the store.
or
Thinking it would complement our living room, we finally chose the coffee table towards the back of the store.

I don't know whether its a style issue or something else but I would not like to leave my prepositional phrase hanging out for the end. Just like which modifier, prepositional phrases also have equal priority to the touch rule. I may be wrong but I would prefer the one in blue.

Hi gmatprepab,

Both the sentences are correct but differ slightly in terms of meaning.

In the first one sentence the thinking is happening in the past, the thinking did not result in you choosing the table. "we" just thought in the past that the table would complement.The second one suggests that thinking resulted in you choosing the table. Either one is good, based on what you want to express.

Vercules
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20 Feb 2013, 10:48
Vercules wrote:

In the first one sentence the thinking is happening in the past, the thinking did not result in you choosing the table. "we" just thought in the past that the table would complement.The second one suggests that thinking resulted in you choosing the table. Either one is good, based on what you want to express.

Vercules

I agree. That was a constructive debate. I remember this prepositional phrase shift in one of Ron's video's, where in he illustrates this point through somewhat similar sentence structure:
In Florida, Hurricanes are considered to be the act of God.
Hurricanes in Florida are considered to be the act of God.
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20 Feb 2013, 11:45
Hi
which is relative pronoun and refers to the nearest noun. in the above case it is "store"....read the argument by substituting store in place of which.....you yourself will feel that meaning is not conveyed morever it is nonsensical..

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Re: Pronoun and antecedent   [#permalink] 20 Feb 2013, 11:45
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