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The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the

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The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2013, 20:58
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47% (02:07) correct 53% (01:06) wrong based on 137 sessions
The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the Springfield Public School district was a source of an overcrowded school system where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are above the state board of education's suggested limits.

A.where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are
B.where they have 70 percent of student enrollments
C.where 70 percent of student enrollments are
D.which has 70 percent of student enrollments
E.in which 70 percent of them have student enrollments
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2013, 21:05
I dont understand, What "them" or "they" refers to?

so it narrows down to C and D,
In D "which" should be preceded by a comma.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2013, 22:14
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bagdbmba wrote:
The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the Springfield Public School district was a source of an overcrowded school system where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are above the state board of education's suggested limits.

A.where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are
B.where they have 70 percent of student enrollments
C.where 70 percent of student enrollments are
D.which has 70 percent of student enrollments
E.in which 70 percent of them have student enrollments


Out of the given options, (C) is the best.
The underlined portion conveys the following: 70% of student enrollments are above the limit.

The use of pronouns 'they' and 'them' is incorrect. They have no appropriate antecedent. Use of 'student enrollments of 70%' is incorrect and unclear. You need to say '70% of student enrollments'

In (D), 'which has' is incorrect. You could say 'in which 70 percent of student enrollments are'.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2013, 10:21
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VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the Springfield Public School district was a source of an overcrowded school system where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are above the state board of education's suggested limits.

A.where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are
B.where they have 70 percent of student enrollments
C.where 70 percent of student enrollments are
D.which has 70 percent of student enrollments
E.in which 70 percent of them have student enrollments


Out of the given options, (C) is the best.
The underlined portion conveys the following: 70% of student enrollments are above the limit.

The use of pronouns 'they' and 'them' is incorrect. They have no appropriate antecedent. Use of 'student enrollments of 70%' is incorrect and unclear. You need to say '70% of student enrollments'

In (D), 'which has' is incorrect. You could say 'in which 70 percent of student enrollments are'.


Thanks Karishma for your reply.
My confusion is with D. Would you please clarify why 'which has' is incorrect here?

I chose D over C as I thought 'where' is applicable for place and system is not a place here...!
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2013, 14:13
I also Chose D.
Although I wasn't 100% sure ,but school system is not a place so I chose sentence starting with Which. D starts with which but which should follow a comma in case it is referring to the noun preceding it.
Is my reasoning correct here?

Karishma, would you please clear my doubt.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2013, 14:58
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the Springfield Public School district was a source of an overcrowded school system where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are above the state board of education's suggested limits.

A.where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are
B.where they have 70 percent of student enrollments
C.where 70 percent of student enrollments are
D.which has 70 percent of student enrollments
E.in which 70 percent of them have student enrollments


Out of the given options, (C) is the best.
The underlined portion conveys the following: 70% of student enrollments are above the limit.

The use of pronouns 'they' and 'them' is incorrect. They have no appropriate antecedent. Use of 'student enrollments of 70%' is incorrect and unclear. You need to say '70% of student enrollments'

In (D), 'which has' is incorrect. You could say 'in which 70 percent of student enrollments are'.



Still I don't understand why (D) is incorrect :( .. Does which always demands a comma here ?
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2013, 21:08
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bagdbmba wrote:
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the Springfield Public School district was a source of an overcrowded school system where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are above the state board of education's suggested limits.

A.where the student enrollments of 70 percent of them are
B.where they have 70 percent of student enrollments
C.where 70 percent of student enrollments are
D.which has 70 percent of student enrollments
E.in which 70 percent of them have student enrollments


Out of the given options, (C) is the best.
The underlined portion conveys the following: 70% of student enrollments are above the limit.

The use of pronouns 'they' and 'them' is incorrect. They have no appropriate antecedent. Use of 'student enrollments of 70%' is incorrect and unclear. You need to say '70% of student enrollments'

In (D), 'which has' is incorrect. You could say 'in which 70 percent of student enrollments are'.


Thanks Karishma for your reply.
My confusion is with D. Would you please clarify why 'which has' is incorrect here?

I chose D over C as I thought 'where' is applicable for place and system is not a place here...!


We need to get into grammar to understand these issues. There are small details which can be used to point out the error but in the actual exam, you cannot rely on them. You will not have the time and will predominantly need to use your ear. Try to practice enough so that you don't need to get into the nitty gritty of grammar in the test.

1. Comma before which
Usually, 'which' introduces a non-restrictive clause (that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence). Non-restrictive clauses are surrounded by commas. Usually, while introducing a restrictive clause (one that is essential to the meaning of the sentence), we use 'that' and do not use a comma. Sometimes 'which' is also used to introduce restrictive clauses and it will not take a comma in that situation. GMAT does not test commas. So if you see which without a comma, do not ignore the option. To summarize, 'which' will usually come with a comma in GMAT questions but it could appear without one if it is introducing a restrictive clause. Anyway, ignore the commas as far as GMAT is concerned.

2. Where/which
They are not interchangeable. Often, 'where' and 'in which' are interchangeable. In this sentence, I would have preferred "in which" but of the given options, I will take 'where'.
'Where' is a relative adverb which can replace 'preposition + which' (in which or at which)

e.g. This is the city in which I live.
This is the city where I live.

When you use "which has..." which here acts as a relative pronoun. The sentence structure doesn't support this.

Look at two sentences:
Canada, where people are very kind, is very cold.
Canada, which has a small population, is very cold.

The structure of the two sentences is different.

Canada is very cold. People are very kind in Canada. - Canada is used as an adverb here. It is replaced by 'where'
Canada is very cold. Canada has a small population. - Canada is the subject here. It is replaced by 'which'

In our original sentence, the structure is: "70 percent of student enrollments are above the limit in the system".
Here the system is acting as an adverb and hence needs "in which"/"where".

"The system" is not the subject and hence cannot be replaced by "which has".
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2013, 21:58
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
So if you see which without a comma, do not ignore the option. To summarize, 'which' will usually come with a comma in GMAT questions but it could appear without one if it is introducing a restrictive clause. Anyway, ignore the commas as far as GMAT is concerned.


Hello Karishma, I actually read that we "must" just ignore a choice, which does not have a comma before "which" (when "which" is used as a relative pronoun).

However, since your recommendation is different, can you please any official example, where there is no comma before "which" and still that option is correct.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2013, 23:00
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Hi Karishma,
Thanks for the detail explanation.

Few quick clarifications-
"Canada is very cold. People are very kind in Canada. - Canada is used as an adverb here. It is replaced by 'where'" ----> Here what does Canada modify as an Adverb? the adjective 'kind' ??

Also in the given sentence what does 'an overcrowded school system' modify as an Adverb ?

Look forward to hear from you.

P.S: It's very confusing that some GMAT verbal experts out in the club say that 'which' preceded by a comma, is always used in non-restrictive use and 'that' NOT preceded by a comma, is always used in restrictive use in GMAT and there are no exceptions...but you say that there could be some exceptions...!!!
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2013, 00:29
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bagdbmba wrote:
Hi Karishma,
Thanks for the detail explanation.

Few quick clarifications-
"Canada is very cold. People are very kind in Canada. - Canada is used as an adverb here. It is replaced by 'where'" ----> Here what does Canada modify as an Adverb? the adjective 'kind' ??

Also in the given sentence what does 'an overcrowded school system' modify as an Adverb ?

Look forward to hear from you.

P.S: It's very confusing that some GMAT verbal experts out in the club say that 'which' preceded by a comma, is always used in non-restrictive use and 'that' NOT preceded by a comma, is always used in restrictive use in GMAT and there are no exceptions...but you say that there could be some exceptions...!!!



Canada is the adverb of place. People are kind where? In Canada
Similarly, 70% enrollments are above the limit where/in what? In the system

And as for Grammar rules, there are very few 'no exception' rules (of course you have the 'I am', 'you are' etc "rules"). Why? Because grammar is fluid. What was incorrect a decade back might be acceptable today in spoken English and it might be acceptable in formal English a decade down the line. Also, what is unacceptable in one culture in English might be fine in another. So GMAC does not test minute grammar differentiation. What you have to focus on is reasoning and logic. Does the sentence make sense?

As for which/that, you have to figure out whether the clause is defining or non-defining i.e. you have to focus on the meaning of the sentence and the role the clause plays.

If it is defining, it will not have a comma. It could use which/who/that etc. Mind you, you could write a defining clause with 'which'. That is not necessary for a defining clause. A source which explains this is http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/ ... ve-clauses
You can find many other.

If it is non-defining, it will use commas. It could use which/who/whose but it will not use 'that'.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2013, 00:34
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bagdbmba wrote:

P.S: It's very confusing that some GMAT verbal experts out in the club say that 'which' preceded by a comma, is always used in non-restrictive use and 'that' NOT preceded by a comma, is always used in restrictive use in GMAT and there are no exceptions...but you say that there could be some exceptions...!!!


Also, I did not say that 'which' used with non-restrictive clause may come without a comma.
A non-restrictive clause always comes with commas.
A restrictive clause always comes without commas.

The point is that focus on the meaning of the sentence - whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive. Not whether you have the comma with which or not.
'which' does not always demand a comma. It depends on whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2013, 21:51
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Thanks for your detail explanation Karishma but my point of confusion was that some experts say that GMAT always uses 'which' as a non-restrictive/Non-defining Relative Clause and hence must have a comma before it.

Is it explicitly clarified in any OG regrading the scope of use of 'which' in GMAT ?

Can you please share some OG/GMAT Prep instances where we have 'which' as a restrictive/defining Relative Clause without a comma before it ?
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2013, 08:19
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bagdbmba wrote:
Thanks for your detail explanation Karishma but my point of confusion was that some experts say that GMAT always uses 'which' as a non-restrictive/Non-defining Relative Clause and hence must have a comma before it.

Is it explicitly clarified in any OG regrading the scope of use of 'which' in GMAT ?

Can you please share some OG/GMAT Prep instances where we have 'which' as a restrictive/defining Relative Clause without a comma before it ?


GMAT 'usually' uses which in non-restrictive sense and 'that' in restrictive sense. But nowadays the use of commas with which is related to whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive (Check http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/ ... or_not.htm - different sources will tell you differently of course). GMAT considers the topic to be controversial and hence does not test it. For example, look at question 12 of OG 13 - they did not give you an option which says 'which keeps' since they do not test you on this.
Hence, do not ignore an option just because it doesn't have a comma before which. Figure out whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive and then take a call.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2013, 11:04
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VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Thanks for your detail explanation Karishma but my point of confusion was that some experts say that GMAT always uses 'which' as a non-restrictive/Non-defining Relative Clause and hence must have a comma before it.

Is it explicitly clarified in any OG regrading the scope of use of 'which' in GMAT ?

Can you please share some OG/GMAT Prep instances where we have 'which' as a restrictive/defining Relative Clause without a comma before it ?


GMAT 'usually' uses which in non-restrictive sense and 'that' in restrictive sense. But nowadays the use of commas with which is related to whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive (Check http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/ ... or_not.htm - different sources will tell you differently of course). GMAT considers the topic to be controversial and hence does not test it. For example, look at question 12 of OG 13 - they did not give you an option which says 'which keeps' since they do not test you on this.
Hence, do not ignore an option just because it doesn't have a comma before which. Figure out whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive and then take a call.


Karishma - Thanks again for further clarification.

So what I understand from your post and question 12 of OG 13 is that although GMAT mostly (say 90%-95% of the cases) doesn't use 'which' in restrictive usage BUT there can be a very few instances that a SC question may come up with 'which' in restrictive use. Right?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2013, 19:44
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bagdbmba wrote:
Karishma - Thanks again for further clarification.

So what I understand from your post and question 12 of OG 13 is that although GMAT mostly (say 90%-95% of the cases) doesn't use 'which' in restrictive usage BUT there can be a very few instances that a SC question may come up with 'which' in restrictive use. Right?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


Yes, keep in mind that it is controversial. GMAT will never *test* you on it since different grammarians have a different take on it. So you have to focus only on whether it is restrictive or non-restrictive and how everything fits together. Don't freak out if some options use 'which' in restrictive sense. The GMAT is testing you on some other concept there so ignore 'no comma before which'.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the [#permalink] New post 21 Nov 2013, 11:45
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VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Karishma - Thanks again for further clarification.

So what I understand from your post and question 12 of OG 13 is that although GMAT mostly (say 90%-95% of the cases) doesn't use 'which' in restrictive usage BUT there can be a very few instances that a SC question may come up with 'which' in restrictive use. Right?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


Yes, keep in mind that it is controversial. GMAT will never *test* you on it since different grammarians have a different take on it. So you have to focus only on whether it is restrictive or non-restrictive and how everything fits together. Don't freak out if some options use 'which' in restrictive sense. The GMAT is testing you on some other concept there so ignore 'no comma before which'.


Thanks for confirming the same.

I saw your article on 'Which' vs 'That' Debate - nice one. Look forward to few more OG question reference over there!Thank you.
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Re: The rapid population growth within the boundaries of the   [#permalink] 21 Nov 2013, 11:45
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