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Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has

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Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2014, 23:26
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75% (01:45) correct 25% (01:10) wrong based on 49 sessions
Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has been the sudden and unexpected failure of the liquid helium cooling system, the engineering squad supervising the Large Hadron Collider requested additional funding to develop better maintenance systems.

A their more crippling malfunctions has been the sudden
B their more crippling malfunctions has been the suddenly
C its more crippling malfunctions is the sudden
D its more crippling malfunctions had been the sudden
E its more crippling malfunctions had been the suddenly

How do we know 'their' refers to engineering squad and not maintenance systems ?

Please somebody provide an explanation
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2014, 23:57
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Quote:
How do we know 'their' refers to engineering squad and not maintenance systems ?


unfortunately you are asking a wrong question . the initial modifier in this sentence has to refer to the subject of the main clause .so "their" by default must refer to "the engineering squad" ,which is wrong because "their" cannot refer to "the engineering squad" .you need "its" .

i picked up D . best out of worst but i am still wary about this question.

the best answer would have been: Reporting that one of its most crippling malfunctions had been the sudden and unexpected failure of the liquid helium cooling system, the engineering squad supervising the Large Hadron Collider requested additional funding to develop better maintenance systems.

"more" here gives a wrong intended meaning ,after all a question arises "more" than what? ---->not a good question,presuming that you have copied the question correctly !!
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Re: Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 11:13
Expert's post
I can see why "most" would seem to make more sense here, but this use of "more" is actually quite common (and correct). Think of it as an idiom. If I were going to rewrite this sentence without regard to the answer choices, what I'd ditch would be the pronoun. It's just there to test us, but it is awkward and confusing in all 5 versions.

Anyway, D is definitely the answer here. "Its" refers to the Large Hadron Collider. It can't be the squad, because we don't use the word "malfunction" to talk about people, especially when the malfunction clearly occurred in a machine. "Its" can't refer to "cooling system," because the sentence tells us that the cooling system malfunction was one of several things that occurred in a larger object/system (the collider). We can't use "their" to connect to "systems" at the end, either. I suppose the easiest explanation is just that there is too much material between pronoun and antecedent, but there's also some additional confusion because in real life we might use the word "their" to refer to the people on the squad. That won't fly on the GMAT, but it adds confusion to an already confused sentence.

Once we settle on "its" to stand in for the collider, we can get to D. The malfunction isn't happening now, so C is out, and "suddenly" is an adverb, and therefore not parallel with "unexpected," so E is out.
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Re: Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 11:49
Good day Dmitry
regarding this "more", i get a feeling, while reading, that the sentence might be talking of some comparison but then as i proceed further i find none . do u really feel that gmac will leave this "more" without "than"? in fact in one of the post of RON, i read that he eliminated one answer choice on this basis. please tell me if this were GMAC question and there was a split between "more" and "most" then which one would have been better?

thanks
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Re: Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 12:17
Expert's post
A real GMAT problem wouldn't split between more & most here, because neither would be definitively correct. Again, this is an expression, and I can't say for sure that it would appear on an actual GMAT question (they might not choose to test this), but it is certainly correct usage.

Below are a few collected uses of this from various sources. Note that in all of them, the "than" is implied--whatever we're talking about is "more" of something than others in the same group.

"One of her more unusual roles was as Kaa the python in a 1994 BBC Radio adaptation of The Jungle Book."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eartha_Kitt

It was one of my more brilliant ideas, and between you and me, that's saying something."
--Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"He replied by asking me a question instead, one of his more annoying habits."
--from Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber

Now if you can understand this next sentence, you don't need any more help from me!

“I should like to suggest that this convention-dependence is precisely what gives the ‘coordination’ of syntax with semiotic-semantics in computers one of its more useful features, and that we should not expect syntax—or, more exactly, functional role and syntactic interpretability-in-principle—to be ‘coordinated’ with non-semiotic-semantic properties in the same sort of way.”
--from Symbols, Computation, and Intentionality by Steven Horst
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Re: Reporting that one of their more crippling malfunctions has   [#permalink] 30 Aug 2014, 12:17
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