Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, the : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, the

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08 Oct 2008, 09:38
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Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, the value of the copper in a penny will soon be greater than the face value of the coin.

(A) Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise,
(B) If present metal prices are continuing their sharp rise,
(C) If present metal prices continue to sharply rise,
(D) Continuation of sharply rising metal prices should mean that
(E) Metal prices’ sharp rise continuing should mean that
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
If you have any questions
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18 Nov 2014, 17:17
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bigtreezl wrote:
Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, the value of the copper in a penny will soon be greater than the face value of the coin.

(A) Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise,
(B) If present metal prices are continuing their sharp rise,
(C) If present metal prices continue to sharply rise,
(D) Continuation of sharply rising metal prices should mean that
(E) Metal prices’ sharp rise continuing should mean that

I am responding to a request from kinjiGC.

First of all, let me say: this is NOT a high quality GMAT-like SC question!! If I were going to give this question a grade, I would give it a grade of a C. It's not the worst it could be, but it is far from stellar.

Choices (D) & (E) are ridiculous incorrect: they are take-them-out-back-and-shoot-them wrong. Incorrect answer choices on the real GMAT are typically a little more tempting than these.

Choice (B) is wrong, because the use of the present progressive is unjustified. This is a legitimate and GMAT-like incorrect answer choice.

Choice (C) is considered incorrect purely because of the split infinitive. This is tricky. On the one hand, it appears that the GMAT disapproves of the split infinitive, as many sophisticated writers do, present writer included. On GMAT SC, split infinitives only appear in incorrect answer choices. I have never seen an official question with a split infinitive in the correct answer choice. On the other hand, the GMAT never uses a split infinitive as the sole deciding split that eliminates an answer choice. Wherever a split infinitive appears, there is always some other, more obvious grammatical mistake that eliminates the answer choice: the split infinitive itself is never the only deciding factor. Thus, choice (C) is a particularly un-GMAT-like wrong answer.

This leaves us with the OA of (A). Is (A) correct? Yes, 100% correct. This is a particularly sophisticated structure, a hyper-fancy way to state a conditional. I don't know that I have ever seen this sophisticated structure used on an official question, but it is common in very high quality writing. The use of "should" is a very fancy way to frame a conditional.

Ordinary: If you get home before I do, light the stove.
Fancy: Should you get home before I do, light the stove.

Factual: If you a fan of opera, you will enjoy this novel.
Hypothetical: Should you be a fan of opera, you would enjoy this novel.

You will notice: the construction is not the factual "if-then" construction of a general rule. This construction, like many in the subjunctive, carries the connotation of something contrary to expectation. In the second statement, I am not at all sure that my addressee is a fan of opera, and I am speaking more hypothetically. Much in the same way, the speaker in the practice sentence above is not sure whether metal prices will continue their sharp rise: the speaker is speculating, speaking hypothetically about an unknown future.

Once again, you will see this construction in sophisticated writing, but I do not remember a single question in which "should" is used this way.

My guess is that this particular SC question was written by somebody particularly well-spoken who was more or less clueless about the standards the GMAT maintains. Obviously, this does not produce a high quality question. A high quality GMAT practice question can only be produced by someone who is well-spoken and who knows the standards of the GMAT intimately.

Here is a high quality GMAT SC practice question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3273

Mike
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09 Oct 2008, 03:08
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I'm in doubt now with C because i realised that sharply is between to and rise, and these is a mistake.
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13 Oct 2008, 13:55
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a. Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise,
b. If present metal prices are continuing their sharp rise,
'are continuing' is wrong usage
c. If present metal prices continue to sharply rise,
to sharply rise - split infinitive - wrong
d. Continuation of sharply rising metal prices should mean that
e. Metal prices’ sharp rise continuing should mean that
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09 Oct 2008, 01:14
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C for me. It is a if...than clause, so the verbs must be present- future. In C we have continue - will be.
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10 Oct 2008, 08:28
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I got suckered into C, even know I knew there was something iffy about the last part of sentence.

It's good to learn though that Should can replace If.
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26 Oct 2009, 07:27
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I got C at first as continue to is often a correct idiom.

But GMAT is really strict at a specific rule such as the split infinitive.
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08 Oct 2010, 12:13
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A..

in B and C, doesnt the presence of the word 'present' alter the meaning? ideally, should have been if metal prices continue to rise, [then] ....
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09 Oct 2010, 12:37
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vaibhavtripathi wrote:
Do we not use "Should" for a "moral obligation" and not for a "likelihood of an event"? In addition, I remember reading somewhere that "VERB-ing" (gerund) should be avoided as much as possible.

That leaves us only with option C.

I think C it is.

I fell for C too, but the guys mentioned "to sharply rise" is a split infinitive, frm what i recall in mgmat sc, that is a big no no... unless you can prove otherwise?
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07 Sep 2016, 12:24
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javykhan wrote:
i also picked C.. but then i went and studied split infinitve which is nothing but the to+verb (simple verb) form. Now the rule is that you never split the infinitive that is to+verb so to+modifier+verb is incorrect and to+verb+modifier is the always correct.
After you apply this rule you eliminate C.

Nice discussion guys.. thank.. i learned something new today
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siddharthharsh wrote:
I got suckered into C, even know I knew there was something iffy about the last part of sentence.

It's good to learn though that Should can replace If.

Exactly my thoughts. A sounds better and there was something off about C.
I didn't knew that should can replace if. So chose C - makes me think should I be trusting familiarity/intuition/sound more than rules when down to two options?

Dear javykhan and siddharthharsh,
I'm happy to respond.

I just want to make clear: the split infinitive is not a B/W issue. It's definitely very gray, with a spectrum of opinions.

Grammatical liberals would say that the split infinitive in English is 100% correct. According to this view, it's never a problem. In fact, some of those folks are completely dismissive of this entire debate about it.

Grammatical moderates would say that while the split infinitive usually should be avoided, putting an adverb between "to" and the verb is a way to highlight the importance of the verb. According to this view, in the phrase "to boldly go where no man has gone before," the adverb "boldly" is proper. Most better newspapers and most modern writers hold this view, so don't be surprised to see split infinitives used this way in, say, the New York Times.

Grammatical conservatives always disapprove of the split infinitive. According to this view, it's automatically 100% wrong all the time. This is my personal view (in terms of grammar, I am actually an arch-conservative, much more conservative than the GMAT, more conservative that just about anyone else alive!)

The GMAT, on this position and on many others, is careful to take an extremely conservative position. On the one hand, a split infinitive never appears in the correct answer of a SC problem. On the other hand, they readily acknowledge that many intelligent people don't have a problem with this structure, so a split infinitive never could be the defining split that makes a choice wrong. Thus, the GMAT appropriate acknowledges its "gray" status in this way.

On the larger question siddharthharsh asked, rules vs. familiarity & intuition, it's extremely important, especially if English is not your native language, to develop strong intuition for well-spoken English. Toward this end, I would commend the habit of reading. Only by reading sophisticated writing every day can you develop the intuition that will guide you in these choices. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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09 Oct 2008, 02:28
a for me . Should can replace IF in IF .... then clause.

bigtreezl wrote:
Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, the value of the copper in a penny will soon be greater than the face value of the coin.

a. Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise,
b. If present metal prices are continuing their sharp rise,
c. If present metal prices continue to sharply rise,
d. Continuation of sharply rising metal prices should mean that
e. Metal prices’ sharp rise continuing should mean that
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09 Oct 2008, 03:43
vbalex wrote:
I'm in doubt now with C because i realised that sharply is between to and rise, and these is a mistake.

Why is this a mistake? I just listened to a podcast by Grammar Girl regarding splitting infinitives. The full infinitive "to rise" can be split using "sharply" and is acceptable grammar. Please correct me if I'm wrong...

The link to the podcast is below.
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/split-infinitives.aspx
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09 Oct 2008, 04:11
Between A and C, I choose A. But still unsure.

I am not very sure of the usage -- "to sharply rise"
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09 Oct 2008, 19:38
OA is A on this one
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13 Oct 2008, 12:08
bigtreezl - ok... but what does that mean? does that mean it's right/wrong, neither?

bigtreezl wrote:
spriya wrote:
bigtreezl wrote:
Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, the value of the copper in a penny will soon be greater than the face value of the coin.

a. Should present metal prices continue their sharp rise, -> their shar rise is wrong
b. If present metal prices are continuing their sharp rise, -> same as above
c. If present metal prices continue to sharply rise, -> PERFECT sharply rise is reqd here
d. Continuation of sharply rising metal prices should mean that -> this is awkward
e. Metal prices’ sharp rise continuing should mean that -> this is out

"to sharply rise" is a split infinitive
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13 Oct 2008, 12:30
split infinitive is wrong...instead of "to quickly eat" you would say "to eat quickly"
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13 Oct 2008, 13:35

split infinitive :- to ,adverb or any other word and then base verb
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14 Oct 2008, 05:08
Ahh I see now.

Did you get to check out this link in regards to split infinitives? It says it's correct.

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/sp ... tives.aspx

bigtreezl wrote:
split infinitive is wrong...instead of "to quickly eat" you would say "to eat quickly"
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23 Sep 2009, 19:50
Ahh I see now.

Did you get to check out this link in regards to split infinitives? It says it's correct.

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/sp ... tives.aspx

bigtreezl wrote:
split infinitive is wrong...instead of "to quickly eat" you would say "to eat quickly"

It may be correct in general usage and so does lot of other words but at the end of the day the only answer that matters is of GMAT. GMAT loves split infinitives. Actually, if you think of it keeping it, GMAT's take on this, make life little easier. Otherwise you will always ponder on the answer from different sources.

To go boldly where no one has gone before. Get it;)
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25 Sep 2009, 07:37
C is the only correct one that stands out.
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Re: SC: metal prices   [#permalink] 25 Sep 2009, 07:37

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