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# Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro

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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2013, 01:11
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Hi Krishna, i have a doubt regarding an example stated:

The peaks of a mountain range, acting like rocks in a streambed, produce ripples in the air flowing over them; the resulting flow pattern, with crests and troughs that remain stationary although the air that forms them is moving rapidly, is known as "standing waves."

In the above example you said that "them" has only one logical antecedent but am confused about "ripples". Isn't this a plausible option.

The one possible explanation i think of is :

Ripples are not produced by air. It is performed by peaks of mountain. Here them refers to an action air is doing which is forming of crests and troughs. Hence only one logical antecedent.

But am not 100% sure of this. I just want to confirm with the EXPERT here.

Yes. You're right

We need to make use of the context of the question to reduce the number of antecedents we need to consider and that is precisely what you did.

Hope this helps!

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Krishna
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2013, 03:25
egmat wrote:

Yes. You're right

We need to make use of the context of the question to reduce the number of antecedents we need to consider and that is precisely what you did.

Hope this helps!

Regards,
Krishna

Thanks for the confirmation Krishna.
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2013, 16:23
Hi Krishna:

Can you please review the exercise questions and provide your feedback? It would help us to identify if we made any mistakes?
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2013, 10:13
Hi Krishna!..plz post answers to the questions ..I rechecked my solutions but not very confident about the V th ans...
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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09 Nov 2013, 07:38
Hello Krishna,

I came across an OG question in which I couldn't apply this rule clearly. Kindly help me with the same:

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.
(A) Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.
(B) An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that worked well in the past, makes missing signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting ones likely when they do appear.
(C) An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.
(D) Executives’ being heavily committed to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes them likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting them when they do appear.
(E) Being heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that has worked well in the past, is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

I was stuck between C & E. However, since C was in an active voice I picked C.

The OG explaination states: C- The reference for the pronoun 'it' is unclear because many nouns have intervened between the appearance of the logical referent (course of action) and it.

As per my understanding: The only two nouns that "it" could refer to are 'action' and 'trouble'. But trouble can't be a logical referent since trouble could have not worked well in the past. So in that case only "course of action" is the logical antecedent.

Kindly help me understand how can one eliminate C on the basis of pronoun errors? (Or in that case any errors?)

FYI: I'm not sure of this but the only 2 problems with option C that I can think of are:

a) the modifier "especially if it has worked well in the past" may be a misplaced modifier. Is that correct?
b) The usage of 'if' may not be acceptable here (As per If... then constructions)

But I'm not sure of these reasons. Kindly help me clear this doubt? Also, it would be great if you could briefly explain how the OA: E uses the correct construction, since it is an unusual construction.

Thanks
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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10 Nov 2013, 11:45
Great Work. Pronoun mystery solved now.
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2013, 00:25
Hi egmat,
First, +1M Kudos for this excellent effort!

egmat wrote:
Banana corp., which is aware of the fact that it has a high likelihood of producing faults, continues to use the new Flexi Mixie Screen.

For the above sentence the correct antecedent for the pronoun 'it' is 'Flexi Mixie Screen'.

egmat wrote:
Every student must put more effort while studying it because if a student doesn’t have a good grasp on the concept of fractions, they will face difficulty in understanding Algebra.

This usage is NOT correct I think.
For the above sentence there is NO correct antecedent for the pronoun 'they'. BUT for the pronoun 'it' I'm not confident enough whether the correct logical antecedent is 'concept of fractions' or 'Algebra' or both...!! I'd look forward to the OA and your explanations.

egmat wrote:
i. Once they had seen the report from the medical examiner, the investigators had no doubt that the body recovered from the river was that of the man who had attempted to escape from the state prison.
ii. The gyrfalcon has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the 1970s
iii. The White Tiger of the Snow Capped Everest Mountain prefers to stay inside caves because it has inadequate fur to protect itself from the freezing climate of the Himalayan region.
iv. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.
v. The increase in the vulnerability of an average user to malicious attacks didn’t escape the notice of Computer Security Experts who say that it might be due to the onset of the much feared intelligent virus “AvaNova”, the IQ of which exceeds 170.

i. they --> investigators CORRECT
ii. its --> gyrfalcon CORRECT
iii. it --> The White Tiger CORRECT
iv. it --> The White Tiger or the Lightning AMBIGUOUS
v. it --> The increase CORRECT

Please confirm the OAs along with some explanations.
P.S: When the next article- a framework to evaluate the usage of pronouns in a sentence is scheduled to be launched ?
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2013, 06:31
Editing to include list of questions around pronouns. Please see attachment.

Hi Krishna,
Great writeup! I was very uncertain when it came to pronouns and your post completely clears all the questions and doubts.

I have few questions on Possessive Pronouns though..
Say in the question below,
Although Napoleon's army entered Russia with far more supplies than for any previous campaign, it had provisions for only twenty-four days.

We have "it" referring to Napoleon's army - perfectly fine. But "it" is a object pronoun referring to a possessive noun Napoleon's Army. Is the usage correct? Please see the table below for other possible references between subject/object noun/pronoun and Possessive noun/pronoun.

Look forward to your response. Thanks.
Attachments

Snip20131214_5.png [ 45.14 KiB | Viewed 3287 times ]

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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2013, 11:13
For iv) I suspect if it's ambiguous because of the emphasis to Lightning in quotes. Granted both can move fast. But even without the quotes, I'm tempted to say Lightning *strikes* fast not moves fast. So, I'm thinking this may be correct

For v). I marked this as incorrect because of the ambiguity of what "it" refers to (increase or attacks?)

Quote:
i. Once they had seen the report from the medical examiner, the investigators had no doubt that the body recovered from the river was that of the man who had attempted to escape from the state prison.
ii. The gyrfalcon has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the 1970s
iii. The White Tiger of the Snow Capped Everest Mountain prefers to stay inside caves because it has inadequate fur to protect itself from the freezing climate of the Himalayan region.
iv. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.
v. The increase in the vulnerability of an average user to malicious attacks didn’t escape the notice of Computer Security Experts who say that it might be due to the onset of the much feared intelligent virus “AvaNova”, the IQ of which exceeds 170.

Quote:
i. they --> investigators CORRECT
ii. its --> gyrfalcon CORRECT
iii. it --> The White Tiger CORRECT
iv. it --> The White Tiger or the Lightning AMBIGUOUS
v. it --> The increase CORRECT

Please confirm the OAs along with some explanations.
P.S: When the next article- a framework to evaluate the usage of pronouns in a sentence is scheduled to be launched ?
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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03 Feb 2014, 19:40
i. Once they had seen the report from the medical examiner, the investigators had no doubt that the body recovered from the river was that of the man who had attempted to escape from the state prison.
"They " refers to "investigators" - and the pronoun usage is correct.

ii. The gyrfalcon has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the 1970s
"its " refers to "gyrfalcon" - and the pronoun usage is correct.

iii. The White Tiger of the Snow Capped Everest Mountain prefers to stay inside caves because it has inadequate fur to protect itself from the freezing climate of the Himalayan region.
"It" and "Itself" refers to "White Tiger" - and the pronoun usage for both is correct.

iv. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.
"It" refers to "White Tiger" - and the pronoun usage is correct.

v. The increase in the vulnerability of an average user to malicious attacks didn’t escape the notice of Computer Security Experts who say that it might be due to the onset of the much feared intelligent virus “AvaNova”, the IQ of which exceeds 170.
"It" refers to "increase" - and the pronoun usage is correct.
"who" refers to "Computer Security Experts" - and the pronoun usage is correct.
"which" refers to " virus “AvaNova”" - and the pronoun usage is correct.

Krishna (e-gmat) can you please confirm if my thinking is correct.

thanks
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2014, 01:54
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Hello everyone,

We are sorry for the delay in posting the OA. Please find the OA for the provided exercises below.

Banana Corp., which is aware of the fact that it has a high likelihood of producing faults, continues to use the new Flexi Mixie Screen.

The usage of “it” is ambiguous here. It isn’t clear whether Banana Corp has a high likelihood of producing faults or if it is the Screen that has a high likelihood of producing faults.
Both the antecedents make sense. (Hint: Try replacing the pronoun with the possible antecedents and see if the sentence makes sense in each case).

Every student must put more effort while studying it because if a student doesn’t have a good grasp on the concept of fractions, they will face difficulty in understanding Algebra.

The pronoun “it” is ambiguous in its reference. Both the antecedents “concept of fractions” and “Algebra” make sense when “it” is replaced by them (one after another).

Also observe that the plural pronoun “they” cannot refer to “Every student”. “Every student” is a singular noun. (Eg: Every student is supposed to read this article.)

i. Once they had seen the report from the medical examiner, the investigators had no doubt that the body recovered from the river was that of the man who had attempted to escape from the state prison.

The pronoun “they” unambiguously refers to “investigators”. Also, the pronoun “who” makes sense only with the antecedent “man”. So there is no pronoun error in this sentence.

ii. The gyrfalcon has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the 1970s.

No pronoun error in this sentence too.

iii. The White Tiger of the Snow Capped Everest Mountain prefers to stay inside caves because it has inadequate fur to protect itself from the freezing climate of the Himalayan region.

Although the pronoun “it” has two antecedents (White Tiger and Everest Mountain), only “White Tiger” makes sense with the pronoun (a mountain cannot have fur).
So there is no pronoun error in this sentence.

iv. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.

The pronoun “it” is ambiguous in its usage. It is not clear if “it” refers to “White Tiger” or “Lightning”. Observe that both the following sentences make perfect sense.

a. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because the white tiger moves very quickly.
b. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because lightning moves very quickly.

So there is a pronoun usage error in this sentence.

v. The increase in the vulnerability of an average user to malicious attacks didn’t escape the notice of Computer Security Experts who say that it might be due to the onset of the much feared intelligent virus “AvaNova”, the IQ of which exceeds 170.

There is a pronoun usage error in this sentence. It is not clear whether “it” refers to “vulnerability” or “increase in vulnerability”.

We are very happy to see all of your responses. Keep the discussions coming!

Cheers,
Krishna
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2014, 04:06
Hi Krishna,
When are you launching " a framework to evaluate the usage of pronouns in a sentence"
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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02 Jun 2014, 19:05
Could we get answers to the exercise at the end of the post?
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2014, 06:03
Hi e-gmat,

Every student must put more effort while studying it because if a student doesn’t have a good grasp on the concept of fractions, they will face difficulty in understanding Algebra.

So meaning wise:

Every student put effort in studying IT.

Because X,Y

X=not good in Concept of fractions
Y=difficulty in Algebra.

Because X,Y

If more effort in Algebra then the sentence would have had below construction:

Because Y,X
Because not good in algebra, face difficulty in concept of fractions.

So why 'IT' is ambiguous when it should clearly refer to 'Concept of fractions'.?
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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22 Jul 2014, 23:14
amanthapar wrote:
Could we get answers to the exercise at the end of the post?

Hi amanthapar,

I hope you have already found the answers as they are available on this very thread. However, if you haven't, then you just need to scroll up a little or refer to the following link:

pronouns-debunking-popular-myths-intro-160811-20.html#p1328171

Regards,
Deepak
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Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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03 Oct 2014, 15:00
Hi eGmat,
Thanks for the pronoun myth buster article. +1 kudos!

I've a doubt about 'white tiger' excercise question.

egmat wrote:

iv. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.

The pronoun “it” is ambiguous in its usage. It is not clear if “it” refers to “White Tiger” or “Lightning”. Observe that both the following sentences make perfect sense.

a. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because the white tiger moves very quickly.
b. The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because lightning moves very quickly.

So there is a pronoun usage error in this sentence.

The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.

I thought this sentence is unambiguous because 'white tiger' is the only logical antecedent of 'it'.

As sentence clearly mentions, 'the lightning' is a nickname given to white tiger.
So how can a nickname be a possible antecedent of the pronoun 'it'?

You mentioned that the sentence - 'the lightning' moves quickly - is fine. But it is not the actual lightning, but rather a nickname. How can a nickname move quickly?

I searched through GMATPrep SC document to find similar sentences, but didn't find any.
I would appreciate if you could clarify the doubt and share some official sentences in which a pronoun is refering to the meaning of a nickname rather than to the nickname itself.

- Santy.
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2015, 20:26
Once they had seen the report from the medical examiner, the investigators had no doubt that the body recovered from the river was that of the man who had attempted to escape from the state prison.
------- they referes to investigators , there is no other plural noun present - hence this statement is correct as it is.

The gyrfalcon has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the 1970s
-------------- Its corectly refers to the gyrfalcon - this is corrrect too.

The White Tiger of the Snow Capped Everest Mountain prefers to stay inside caves because it has inadequate fur to protect itself from the freezing climate of the Himalayan region. -
---------- It refers to the white tiger - this is correct .

The White Tiger is nicknamed “the Lightning” because it moves very quickly.

--------------- here , it can refer to white tiger and also can refer to the lightning - hence there is pronoun ambiguity here.

The increase in the vulnerability of an average user to malicious attacks didn’t escape the notice of Computer Security Experts who say that it might be due to the onset of the much feared intelligent virus “AvaNova”, the IQ of which exceeds 170
-------------------- who refers to experts , it refers to increase in vulnerability , which can refer to "avanova" or average user.

Can some expert please verify my answers and correct me if i m wrong ?
carcass, souvik101990 , mikemcgarry
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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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09 Oct 2015, 01:43
Hi egmat,

Although swimming can cause cramps in a swimmer's legs or feet, they can usually be avoided if the swimmer avoids overexertion and performs stretching exercises before entering the pool.

Although swimming can cause cramps in a swimmer's legs or feet, they
Cramps in a swimmer's legs or feet caused by swimming
Swimming can cause cramps in a swimmer's legs or feet, which
The fact that swimming can cause cramps in a swimmer's legs or feet
Swimming can cause cramps in a swimmer's legs or feet, although they

In this sentence, 'they' can refer to only one logical antecedent 'cramps' since legs or feet will not make sense. So shouldn't the answer be A instead of B?

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Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2016, 06:31
Banana Corp., which is aware of the fact that it has a high likelihood of producing faults, continues to use the new Flexi Mixie Screen.

The usage of “it” is ambiguous here. It isn’t clear whether Banana Corp has a high likelihood of producing faults or if it is the Screen that has a high likelihood of producing faults.
Both the antecedents make sense. (Hint: Try replacing the pronoun with the possible antecedents and see if the sentence makes sense in each case).

--
Hi egmat,

I understand the explanation above in which a pronoun confusion exists. Could you answer a question for me though? Can the pronoun "it" be used if the antecedent appears after the pronoun -- referring to "Flexi Mixie Screen" as a possible pronoun.
Re: Pronouns: Debunking Popular Myths: Intro   [#permalink] 17 Mar 2016, 06:31

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