Sentence splitting in SC : GMAT Verbal Section
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# Sentence splitting in SC

Author Message
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20 Aug 2013, 06:13
I generally find it very hard to split the scentence into IC's and DC's , as a result i falter on questions .

" Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991 , and dated at 34 million years old , made it the earliest known mammal of the greater Antilles Islands . "

Step 1 : Understand the meaning
a ) Fossils of the arm of a sloth were found in Peuto Rico in 1991 ,
--- 34 million years old .
As a results the sloth is now the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles Islands .

STEP 2 : Here is the problem with me breaking the sentences into clauses

1) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puetro Rico in 1991 ,

2) and dated at 34 million years old ,

3) made it the earliest known mammal of the greater Antilles Islands .

My Analysis :

S-V : Recognizing the subject/ verb is a herculean task for me
In the sentence the Subject is Fossils , but i guess we dont have any verb ?
Am i right on this since i guess dated is a verb -ed modifier and made is not a verb .

Pronoun error : "it " refers to the fossils which would not make sense in this context since fossils cannot be oldest mammals .

I guess there are the only two errors in this sentence , kindly let me know if i am correct in my above analysis also how can i improve my sentence split , i really find it hard to do so .
If you have any questions
New!
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2013, 11:14
shelrod007 wrote:
I generally find it very hard to split the scentence into IC's and DC's , as a result i falter on questions .

"Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991 , and dated at 34 million years old , made it the earliest known mammal of the greater Antilles Islands . "

My Analysis :

S-V : Recognizing the subject/ verb is a herculean task for me
In the sentence the Subject is Fossils , but i guess we dont have any verb ?
Am i right on this since i guess dated is a verb -ed modifier and made is not a verb .

Pronoun error : "it " refers to the fossils which would not make sense in this context since fossils cannot be oldest mammals .

I guess there are the only two errors in this sentence , kindly let me know if i am correct in my above analysis also how can i improve my sentence split , i really find it hard to do so .

Dear Shelrod007,
I'm happy to help.
This is a very tricky sentence. The subject has a couple prepositional phrase vital noun modifiers ----- "Fossils of the arm of a sloth" --- essentially, that whole "chunk" is the subject. See this blog for more on vital noun modifiers:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/

Then there are two participial phrase in parallel, modifying the subject.
// found in Puerto Rico in 1991
and

// dated at 34 million years old
See this blog for participial phrases:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/participle ... -the-gmat/
See this blog for parallelism:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/parallelis ... orrection/

Then we get to the main verb of the sentence --- "made". Since this is a past tense verb, S-V agreement is not an issue. S-V agreement is an issue in the present test (he makes, they make), but not in the past tense. See this blog for more on agreement:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/subject-ve ... orrection/

The pronoun "it" is correct --- it refers to the "sloth". Fossils are not mammals ---they are collections of dead bones. Sloths are mammals. See this blog on pronoun problems:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Finally, notice there's a sophisticated idiom in this sentence --- to make P Q. For example,
to make TR the youngest president
to make her novel a best seller
to make the walrus my new pet

You may find our free idiom ebook helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom-ebook/

This sentence has a boatload of modifying phrases, but there is not a single dependent clause in the entire sentence. The commas are a little funky, but other than that, I don't believe there's any grammatical flaw with the sentence.

Now, as to your more general question: you may have gotten the idea that the Magoosh free blog is dense with valuable articles about GMAT SC. I would highly recommend reading through the articles on this blog. The more you understand the various possible grammatical structures, the easier it becomes to dissect a long sentence.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2013, 12:01
shelrod007 wrote:
I generally find it very hard to split the scentence into IC's and DC's , as a result i falter on questions .

" Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991 , and dated at 34 million years old , made it the earliest known mammal of the greater Antilles Islands . "

Step 1 : Understand the meaning
a ) Fossils of the arm of a sloth were found in Peuto Rico in 1991 ,
--- 34 million years old .
As a results the sloth is now the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles Islands .

STEP 2 : Here is the problem with me breaking the sentences into clauses

1) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puetro Rico in 1991 ,

2) and dated at 34 million years old ,

3) made it the earliest known mammal of the greater Antilles Islands .

My Analysis :

S-V : Recognizing the subject/ verb is a herculean task for me
In the sentence the Subject is Fossils , but i guess we dont have any verb ?
Am i right on this since i guess dated is a verb -ed modifier and made is not a verb .

Pronoun error : "it " refers to the fossils which would not make sense in this context since fossils cannot be oldest mammals .

I guess there are the only two errors in this sentence , kindly let me know if i am correct in my above analysis also how can i improve my sentence split , i really find it hard to do so .

I think you should attend E-GMAT Sentence Correction Free Session. Your approach is in the same line as they teach. I appreciate your approach and, my suggestion is to go to this link fossils-of-the-arm-of-a-sloth-found-in-puerto-rico-in-80744.html for more details
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2013, 21:49
Dear Amit,

Thank you for recommend e-GMAT.

@Shelrod - we have a few sentence structure concepts in SC free trial. Take those. Use the free trial link from the signature.

-Rajat
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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21 Aug 2013, 07:49
Hi Rajat ,

I am already a customer of Verbal Live prep , as per the student policy on the forums i am supposed to post my doubts on gmat club and paste the links on the forum .
As a beginer i have difficulty to split sentences so i posted the query here first .
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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21 Aug 2013, 13:48
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
shelrod007 wrote:
Hi Rajat ,

I am already a customer of Verbal Live prep , as per the student policy on the forums i am supposed to post my doubts on gmat club and paste the links on the forum .
As a beginer i have difficulty to split sentences so i posted the query here first .

Thanks for posting your query Shelrod.
I have reviewed your analysis and here is my assessment

You are right in your meaning analysis.

You are also right that “found” is not a verb and is a “verb-ed modifier”. (It gives information about the fossils. i.e. the fossils are found in Puerto Rico)

But you faltered when you could not recognize that “made” is a verb. Let's assume for a moment that “made” is a verb-ed modifier. Now ask yourself “How is it modifying fossils?” Can you say that "fossils were made it the earliest known mammal"? No we cannot say that.

So as you can see it isn’t a verb-ed modifier. It is indeed a verb.
But the problem here in this sentence is that the Subject-Verb Pair do not make sense.
“Fossils made Sloth the earliest known mammal…” isn’t logical!
Fossils cannot make Sloth the earliest known mammal. (But something like “The discovery of fossils made the sloth the earliest known mammal…” will definitely make sense.)

Next we come to the pronoun -
Actually there isn’t any problem with “it”. “it” can logically refer to only one antecedent “sloth”. Nothing else.

When in doubt, always replace the pronoun with the possible nouns (one by one) and see which one makes sense.
Here only “… sloth the earliest known mammal…” makes sense. “… arm the earliest known mammal…” is illogical and so “it” cannot refer to “arm”.
Also “it” cannot refer to “fossils” for the reason mentioned by you. So “it” logically refers to only one noun (sloth) and so there isn’t any pronoun error.

(Always remember that the only rule governing the usage of pronouns is “There should be only one logical antecedent to a pronoun. The antecedent need not necessarily be near to the pronoun” If there is no logical antecedent or more than one logical antecedents, then the sentence has a pronoun error)

I hope this helps.
Regards,
Krishna.
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2013, 00:24
egmat wrote:
shelrod007 wrote:
Hi Rajat ,

I am already a customer of Verbal Live prep , as per the student policy on the forums i am supposed to post my doubts on gmat club and paste the links on the forum .
As a beginer i have difficulty to split sentences so i posted the query here first .

Thanks for posting your query Shelrod.
I have reviewed your analysis and here is my assessment

You are right in your meaning analysis.

You are also right that “found” is not a verb and is a “verb-ed modifier”. (It gives information about the fossils. i.e. the fossils are found in Puerto Rico)

But you faltered when you could not recognize that “made” is a verb. Let's assume for a moment that “made” is a verb-ed modifier. Now ask yourself “How is it modifying fossils?” Can you say that "fossils were made it the earliest known mammal"? No we cannot say that.

So as you can see it isn’t a verb-ed modifier. It is indeed a verb.
But the problem here in this sentence is that the Subject-Verb Pair do not make sense.
“Fossils made Sloth the earliest known mammal…” isn’t logical!
Fossils cannot make Sloth the earliest known mammal. (But something like “The discovery of fossils made the sloth the earliest known mammal…” will definitely make sense.)

Next we come to the pronoun -
Actually there isn’t any problem with “it”. “it” can logically refer to only one antecedent “sloth”. Nothing else.

When in doubt, always replace the pronoun with the possible nouns (one by one) and see which one makes sense.
Here only “… sloth the earliest known mammal…” makes sense. “… arm the earliest known mammal…” is illogical and so “it” cannot refer to “arm”.
Also “it” cannot refer to “fossils” for the reason mentioned by you. So “it” logically refers to only one noun (sloth) and so there isn’t any pronoun error.

(Always remember that the only rule governing the usage of pronouns is “There should be only one logical antecedent to a pronoun. The antecedent need not necessarily be near to the pronoun” If there is no logical antecedent or more than one logical antecedents, then the sentence has a pronoun error)

I hope this helps.
Regards,
Krishna.

Krishna,

So all that we learnt that subject cannot reside in prepositional phrase is not 100% true ? The meaning of the sentence should also make sense ?

Regards,
Abhinav
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2013, 10:41
ygdrasil24 wrote:
Krishna,

So all that we learnt that subject cannot reside in prepositional phrase is not 100% true ? The meaning of the sentence should also make sense ?

Regards, Abhinav

Dear Abhinav,
I'm happy to respond to this.

The two noun roles:
(a) Subject of a sentence
(b) Object of a prepositional phrase
are 100% mutually exclusive, and at no time can any noun or any structure simultaneously play both of those roles. You can rely on that. It's unclear what made you think otherwise.

Also, it's very important to appreciate. Folks think the GMAT SC questions are only about grammar. The GMAT SC tests meaning, and ultimately, meaning is more important topic than grammar alone. You can never afford to neglect meaning in a GMAT SC problem.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Sentence splitting in SC [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2013, 10:50
mikemcgarry wrote:
ygdrasil24 wrote:
Krishna,

So all that we learnt that subject cannot reside in prepositional phrase is not 100% true ? The meaning of the sentence should also make sense ?

Regards, Abhinav

Dear Abhinav,
I'm happy to respond to this.

The two noun roles:
(a) Subject of a sentence
(b) Object of a prepositional phrase
are 100% mutually exclusive, and at no time can any noun or any structure simultaneously play both of those roles. You can rely on that. It's unclear what made you think otherwise.

Also, it's very important to appreciate. Folks think the GMAT SC questions are only about grammar. The GMAT SC tests meaning, and ultimately, meaning is more important topic than grammar alone. You can never afford to neglect meaning in a GMAT SC problem.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

i second that, realised I mixed the two.
Re: Sentence splitting in SC   [#permalink] 02 Dec 2013, 10:50
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