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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness

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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Guys one more full underline SC ,
my work is as below:

in B letters are said as only eyewitness accounts
C is wordy for using only eyewitness account.......an account
D also looks ackward for using nephew accounted for the great eruption

now for me (A) and (E) are same why to choose one over other???

Experts Explain
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2009, 11:57
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I don't think there is anything technically wrong with A. It has proper subject-verb agreement, there are not any issues with plural / singular nouns and verbs. The problem I have with A is that it is so wordy. Look at how many prepositional phrases are used. "of Pliny the Elder", "of the great eruption", "of Versuvius", "in two letters", "to the historian Tacitus." That's a lot of prep phrases. E has about the same number, but the phrases are better organized.

I like the way E uses the appositive in the beginning to "set the stage".

E seems like a more consice, clear sentence as opposed to A. Once you narrow it to A or E, it's not an easy choice.

sacmanitin wrote:
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

Guys one more full underline SC ,
my work is as below:

in B letters are said as only eyewitness accounts
C is wordy for using only eyewitness account.......an account
D also looks ackward for using nephew accounted for the great eruption

now for me (A) and (E) are same why to choose one over other???

Experts Explain

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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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jallenmorris , in terms of concisesness ,both are equally worded ,if you see you ll find an extra "," in E ,but as per my understanding the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus. ,is trying to sense it like the eruption occured in two letters !!,whereas in E it is clearly stated that it is the first object ,subject wrote ,make sense ??
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2009, 07:39
A looks like a run on sentence. Eruption in two letters or wrote in two letters?
E is answer IMO.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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If you ll see the option A it will look like eruption in two letter instead of wrote in two letter
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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius
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Last edited by scheol79 on 02 Nov 2010, 08:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Logical predication; Rhetorical construction [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2010, 00:59
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
This sentence makes it seem that The eruption occurred in two letters.

(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
The nephew was not the eyewitness account. The letters were. This sentence does not clearly point that out.

(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
Repetition of 'account'. The account wasn't in the letters, the letters were the eyewitness account.

(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
The tenses of 'writing' and 'accounted for' do not agree. Again repetition of 'account'

(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius
Best answer in my view.

We can reverse the order of the sentence and it still makes sense.
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius In two letters to the historian Tacitus.
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Re: Logical predication; Rhetorical construction [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2010, 02:04
The problem here is the awkward placement of the phrase - the eruption of Vesuvius in two letters, - giving the feeling that the eruption took place in two letters; on this count, the A and D can be eliminated.
B has the untouchable participle – being - ; in addition - the only eyewitness accounts - should be - the only eyewitness account-
C. - nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to – as if he is just now writing. Wrong diction

E is the best, bringing out in simple terms the intended meaning
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Re: Logical predication; Rhetorical construction [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2010, 01:28
E ... Only option that is clear and understandable.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 02 Oct 2011, 18:15
I do not understand.
Doesn't (E) changes the meaning of the sentence?

(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

In two letters to the historian Tacitus, - we do not know who gave these letters to Tacitus. Somehow Tacitus got two letters.
the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius. - In the letter, it is mentioned that Pliny wrote only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

So (E) is telling that Tacitus got two letters from someone, somehow, and in those letters, only the fact that Pliny wrote only what he saw about the great eruption is mentioned. But original sentence is supposed to mean that Pliny wrote 2 letters, which has description of the eruption, to Tacitus.
Isn't it?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2011, 09:04
Torn between A and E. Picked A. Can someone post the OA?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2011, 10:55
A has too many prepositions after one another... it becomes ambiguous. For instance, the eruption of V is followed with 'in two letters'. The eruption clearly did not take place in the letters.

It is better to have 'two letters' closer to the verb "wrote"...

E solves this.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2011, 08:28
Between E and A, I picked E.

E seems to give more clarity. No other reason.

OA with OE will be appreciated :)
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2011, 02:03
sacmanitin wrote:
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

Guys one more full underline SC ,
my work is as below:

in B letters are said as only eyewitness accounts
C is wordy for using only eyewitness account.......an account
D also looks ackward for using nephew accounted for the great eruption

now for me (A) and (E) are same why to choose one over other???

Experts Explain


A changes the meaning of the sentence. Almost sounds as if the great erruption is happening in the 2 letters. E corrects the issue.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2011, 03:41
I am confused between C & E.
The issue that i see with E the ",nephew of Pliny the Elder" seems to refer to historian Tacitus.
C on the other hand is wordy but clear.

Can someone please explain why is C incorrect?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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Since you have posted a doubt on C and E, lets consider choices A, C, and E only:

Meaning Analysis - (Choice A)


• The sentence talks about a person X - who is nephew of Pliny the Elder
• Person X wrote the only eyewitness account.
• This account is of the great eruption of Vesuvius
• He wrote the account in two letters
• The letters were written to the historian Tacitus

Errors Analysis of Choice A


The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

Logically the modifier in “red” should provide additional information about the action – wrote – where did he write this only eyewitness account. But its placement after “eruption of Vesuvius” implies that the “eruption took place in two letters”. This is illogical. This is the error in choice A.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice C


The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

First of all this choice only communicates partial meaning:
• It is not clear that the “only eyewitness account” is of the great eruption of Vesuvius”. This sentence seems to imply that the ONLY eyewitness account is in the letters that contain an account of the eruption of Vesuvius. This is clearly not what we want to communicate. We want to talk specifically about the ONLY eyewitness account of eruption of Vesuvius.

Secondly, the expression “nephew …writing to the historian Tacitus..” non-sensically describes the nephew and somehow gives the sense that the nephew is still writing the letters. This should instead express a one- time action done by the nephew.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice E


In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
This sentence correctly communicates the meaning.

Your statement that "nephew of Pliny the Elder" seems to refer to historian Tacitus.” is not correct. Note that the modifier is not “historian Tacitus”. The complete modifier is “in two letters to the historian Tacitus”. Now this prepositional modifier provides more information about the action – wrote. Where did the nephew write? In the 2 letters to historian Tacitus.

I hope this answers your questions.

Take-away

– Focus on the meaning of the sentence and pay close attention to how the sentence structure of the sentences.:)

Payal
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2011, 01:48
A looks like a run on sentence

I will go with E
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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egmat wrote:
Since you have posted a doubt on C and E, lets consider choices A, C, and E only:

Meaning Analysis - (Choice A)


• The sentence talks about a person X - who is nephew of Pliny the Elder
• Person X wrote the only eyewitness account.
• This account is of the great eruption of Vesuvius
• He wrote the account in two letters
• The letters were written to the historian Tacitus

Errors Analysis of Choice A


The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

Logically the modifier in “red” should provide additional information about the action – wrote – where did he write this only eyewitness account. But its placement after “eruption of Vesuvius” implies that the “eruption took place in two letters”. This is illogical. This is the error in choice A.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice C


The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

First of all this choice only communicates partial meaning:
• It is not clear that the “only eyewitness account” is of the great eruption of Vesuvius”. This sentence seems to imply that the ONLY eyewitness account is in the letters that contain an account of the eruption of Vesuvius. This is clearly not what we want to communicate. We want to talk specifically about the ONLY eyewitness account of eruption of Vesuvius.

Secondly, the expression “nephew …writing to the historian Tacitus..” non-sensically describes the nephew and somehow gives the sense that the nephew is still writing the letters. This should instead express a one- time action done by the nephew.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice E


In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
This sentence correctly communicates the meaning.

Your statement that "nephew of Pliny the Elder" seems to refer to historian Tacitus.” is not correct. Note that the modifier is not “historian Tacitus”. The complete modifier is “in two letters to the historian Tacitus”. Now this prepositional modifier provides more information about the action – wrote. Where did the nephew write? In the 2 letters to historian Tacitus.

I hope this answers your questions.

Take-away

– Focus on the meaning of the sentence and pay close attention to how the sentence structure of the sentences.:)

Payal


Hey egmat
In Choice E, I came to conclusion that the phrase "In two letters to the historian Tacitus" is modifying "the nephew of Pliny the Elder", which is the subject of next clause as well. I scratched the choice E while answering this and now I am scratching my head wondering the principle behind prepositional Modifier logic used here. MGMAT explicit says that a modifying phrase should pair up with the closest noun it is associated with. WIth that in mind, I visualized that "the nephew is in two letters" and selected A upon E. What am I missing here?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2012, 01:11
(A) Vs (E)
+1 for (E) - concision
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness [#permalink]

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joshnsit wrote:
Hey egmat
In Choice E, I came to conclusion that the phrase "In two letters to the historian Tacitus" is modifying "the nephew of Pliny the Elder", which is the subject of next clause as well. I scratched the choice E while answering this and now I am scratching my head wondering the principle behind prepositional Modifier logic used here. MGMAT explicit says that a modifying phrase should pair up with the closest noun it is associated with. WIth that in mind, I visualized that "the nephew is in two letters" and selected A upon E. What am I missing here?


Hi @joshnsit,

Prepositional phrases are very versatile modifiers. They can modify nouns as well as verbs. When a prepositional phrase modifies a noun, then it must be placed as close to the noun it modifies as possible. This is important to avoid any ambiguity in modification and to keep the intended meaning of the sentence clear.

So whenever we come across a prepositional phrase, we must first ascertain whether it is modifying a noun or a verb. So let’s bring in the OG question here and identify the entity the prepositional phrase should modify.

The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The sentence says that the nephew of Pliny the elder was the only eyewitness to the great eruption of Vesuvius. So he wrote this eyewitness account in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The meaning of the sentence helps us determine which identity the prepositional phrase should modify. Here the prepositional phrase “in two letters” should modify the verb “wrote”. Where did the nephew of Pliny the Elder write his eyewitness account? He wrote it in two letters. So this prepositional phrase is modifying the verb “wrote”.

Now notice that “in two letters” is placed close to “the great eruption of Vesuvius”. Since prepositional phrases can also modify nouns, in choice A it seems that this modifier is actually modifying “eruption”. The modification seems to suggest that the eruption actually took place in two letters. Hence, the placement of “in two letters” is not correct in choice A.

Now let’s analyze choice E:

In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

The opening modifier in this choice is correctly modifying the following main clause. It is correctly modifying that what happened in tow letters. In two letters, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote what he saw. Hence, choice E is the correct answer.

Take Away:
1. Prepositional phrases can modify both nouns and verbs.
2. First ascertain the entity the prepositional phrase should modify and then see if their placement is correct.
3. If the prepositional phrase should modify a noun entity then place it after that noun entity.

Hope this helps.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness   [#permalink] 17 Jul 2012, 11:19

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