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# The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of

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The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2011, 11:07
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5% (low)

Question Stats:

83% (01:42) correct 17% (00:32) wrong based on 160 sessions

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The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of innumerable tiny polyps living in a symbiotic relationship with brilliantly colored algae, are being threatened, experts say, not only by pollutants like agricultural runoff, oil sticks, and trash, but also by dropped anchors, probing drivers, and global warming.
A. are being threatened, experts say, not only by pollutants like
B. are being threatened, experts say, by not only pollutants such as
C. is not only being threatened, experts say, by pollutants such as
D. is not only being threatened, experts say, by pollutants like
E. is being threatened, experts say, not only by pollutants such as
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2011, 11:36
This is an idiom q testing "not only...,but also." You have to sandwich those two phrases in between the list ONLY. In general, keeping modifiers as close as possible to the word/phrase they are modifying is correct.

Answer D makes it sound like they are not only being threatened, but also being [something else].
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2011, 11:40
Here's the explanation:

The subject is 'The survival of the coral colonies' which is singular. Hence the verb 'are' is incorrect and should be replaced by 'is'.
Next, we can clearly see the idiomatic usage 'not only X .... but also Y ....'. Here, both X and Y should be parallel in structure.

Option D has the structure 'not only being threatened ... by .... but also by dropped ....'. We can clearly see that 'being threatened' and 'by dropped' are not parallel structures. Hence this option is incorrect.

Option E has the correct parallel structure with the correct meaning. The structure 'not only by pollutants .... ' is parallel to 'but also by dropped ... ' and 'is being generated' is used correctly before the idiom, thus giving the sentence a correct meaning.

Hope this helps

Cheers!
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2011, 16:12
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first kill anything with "like"...you need such as

which gives you B,C,E

B has "are" which doesn't match "The survival" in number

Now you're down to C and E

Not only...but also is an idiom that signifies parallelism

So which is more parallel

not only being threatened...but also by

or

not only by...but also by...

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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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12 Nov 2011, 16:30
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Expert's post
ruturajp wrote:
The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of innumerable tiny polyps living in a symbiotic relationship with brilliantly colored algae, are being threatened, experts say, not only by pollutants like agricultural runoff, oil sticks, and trash, but also by dropped anchors, probing drivers, and global warming.
A. are being threatened, experts say, not only by pollutants like
B. are being threatened, experts say, by not only pollutants such as
C. is not only being threatened, experts say, by pollutants such as
D. is not only being threatened, experts say, by pollutants like
E. is being threatened, experts say, not only by pollutants such as

Here's how to answer this question in <30 seconds.

Step 1) Recognize that the beginning of the underlined stuff says "are" - immediately you know this is testing you on subject-verb agreement. What's the subject?

Go back and realize the subject is: "the survival of X" - so it's SINGULAR - which means we need IS instead of ARE.

That narrows the question down to (C), (D), and (E).

Step 2) What are the differences between (C), (D), and (E)?
Well, you recognize the common sentence structure "not only..but also" - and the difference lies in the positioning of where "not only" belongs.

Does it belong in the beginning like in (C) and (D) or does it belong towards the end as in (E)?

Well, in order to know what you're comparing in "not only X but also Y" - you need to know what X and Y are.

Is the sentence trying to say the survival is not only being THREATENED but it's also being [verb]?

Or is the sentence trying to say that the survival is being threatened not only by X, but it's also being threatened by Y?

Clearly, the sentence is trying to say that the survival is being threatened not only by X, but it's also being threatened by Y.

So we need the word "not only" to be positioned AFTER the word "being threatened" - not before as in (C) and (D).

Step 3) As long as you understand that in this case X is pollutants, and Y is a list of more pollutants, then you know that the phrase "not only" belongs immediately before the list of pollutants but AFTER the word threatened.

That way, we are able to quickly read the sentence and narrow it down to (C), (D), and (E).
We recognized the differences between these answer choices and found that the position of the "not only" phrase needs to be in the way that (E) has it.

So we choose (E) as our final answer and move on.

Hope that helps!
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2011, 10:16
We should eliminate all stuff after 'like' if the items after 'like' is the example of preceding noun.
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2011, 16:03
tuanquang269 wrote:
We should eliminate all stuff after 'like' if the items after 'like' is the example of preceding noun.

Interesting. Actually we answered the question without even getting to the "such as" vs "like" part. Simply recognizing the placement of the "not only" phrase, we were able to get to the right answer.

But as a side note, "like" is used when showing a comparison. "Such as" is used to list examples of.

When you're listing examples of pollutants, you're going to need to use SUCH AS. So that leaves you with (C) or (E).

You'd still need to decide on the placement of "not only" to choose between these two. Hope that helps!
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2011, 22:49
+1 for E.

A classic Parallelism SC question.

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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2011, 02:02
+ 1 for E. The subject here is the survival, singular, hence A and B are out.
As per GMAT, like cannot introduce examples hence D is out.
Between C and E, E uses not only .... but also ... hence correct
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2011, 08:51
IMO E.

Eliminate A, B - usage of 'are' is wrong, singular subject 'the survival'
Eliminate D - usage of like to indicate examples.
Eliminate C - placement of not only is wrong.
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2011, 09:04
not only x but also Y,
A,B out S-V agreement survival => is
C&D contains not only X and there is presence of but also Y,
E is good: threatened, , not only by X but also by Y
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Re: why ans D is wrong [#permalink]

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15 Nov 2011, 07:14
gmatpill wrote:
tuanquang269 wrote:
We should eliminate all stuff after 'like' if the items after 'like' is the example of preceding noun.

Interesting. Actually we answered the question without even getting to the "such as" vs "like" part. Simply recognizing the placement of the "not only" phrase, we were able to get to the right answer.

But as a side note, "like" is used when showing a comparison. "Such as" is used to list examples of.

When you're listing examples of pollutants, you're going to need to use SUCH AS. So that leaves you with (C) or (E).

You'd still need to decide on the placement of "not only" to choose between these two. Hope that helps!

I went the same route as tuanquang269. I think most of us typically shoot for the rule we feel the most confident thus choosing like vs such as over the not only...but also idiom
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Re: The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of [#permalink]

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04 Apr 2014, 11:28
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Re: The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2016, 23:25
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: The survival of coral colonies, which are composed of   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2016, 23:25
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