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# This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of

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This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of [#permalink]

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15 Mar 2010, 13:24
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This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.

A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by lionslion on 15 Mar 2010, 19:24, edited 1 time in total.
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15 Mar 2010, 13:47
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"a close friend of his" feels a little casual to me (esp. for the GMAT) compared to "his close friend," and of course it's wordier. Strike against ACE.

(C) totally changes the meaning. Was the picture of "Beethoven on his death bed" or of Beethoven, just living his life? The GMAT would never expect you to make that judgement call (without seeing the picture--ha ha ). But (C) also has a punctuation error: the comma before the verb.

"sketched" has several modifiers: "by a close friend" and "by/from memory" and "a few weeks after..." The modifiers can't all touch "sketched," but they shouldn't be so far away that the placement creates ambiguity. In (E), "by a close friend" following "death" could be misinterpreted (he died next to his friend? or worse, at the hand of his friend?). In (D), "by memory" following "death" could be misinterpreted (he died of memory problems?).

There's an idiom here, too:
I painted the scene from memory. (Correct.)
I painted the scene by memory. (Incorrect.)
Even if this idiom is arguable, it gives another strike against (A).

So, (B) is the only answer with no problems.
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15 Mar 2010, 18:47
lionslion wrote:
This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

IMO E.

E is the only option where "his" refers to Beethoven.
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15 Mar 2010, 19:20
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lionslion wrote:
This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

This is a good question that tests the readability of the test-taker. esledge gave a good answer I believe, I too drew the same answer using my technique yet, this question posed a good challenge.

This picture of Beethoven | was sketched by his close friend | from memory | a few weeks after his death.

If it is read wrongly - makes it sound awkward and good for elimination.

This picture of Beethoven | was sketched | by his close friend from memory | a few weeks after his death.

However, the perfect answer would have been -

This picture of Beethoven | was sketched [|] from memory [|] by his close friend | a few weeks after his death.

Despite the pauses in reading the sentence, or not, the meaning is not distorted. And GMAT asks us only the appropriate answer option among the given choices, not the perfect answer to a given question.
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16 Mar 2010, 11:43
sanap wrote:
IMO E.

E is the only option where "his" refers to Beethoven.

sanap and swethar, can you further explain why you think "his" only refers to Beethoven in (E)? Is it because "his death" most closely follows the friend, not Beethoven, in ABD?

I'll point out that there are two "his"s in ABE. The first "his" in A and B cannot refer to the friend (based on the way it is used in relation to "friend," only to Beethoven. Two "his" in the same sentence must have the same antecedent, so we are correct to interpret "his death" as Beethoven's death.

A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
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16 Mar 2010, 12:13
This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death =
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death = keep it
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later = ignore.
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory = here "his" refers to close friend
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his = correct one.
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16 Mar 2010, 12:17
Tx esledge..I get it..kept "B" but went with "E"..

lord K**K me...
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16 Mar 2010, 19:03
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I go for E too but you should probably also look at "by memory" vs "from memory" as well. 'by memory" is not correct here so A and D are out. C completely changes the meaning of the sentence. for B, "from memory" position in the sentence is amiguous so E is the only one that makes sense.

This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his
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18 Mar 2010, 11:55
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Scrat wrote:
I go for E too but you should probably also look at "by memory" vs "from memory" as well. 'by memory" is not correct here so A and D are out. C completely changes the meaning of the sentence. for B, "from memory" position in the sentence is amiguous so E is the only one that makes sense.

This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

I agree that by memory/from memory is useful. However, I disagree that "from memory" placement is ambiguous in B. A prepositional phrase can be either a noun modifier or adverbial modifier:

(1) Adverbial modifiers don't have to touch the modified verb/whatever. So if we mean "sketched by memory," then "sketched by his close friend from memory" is acceptable, especially since "by his close friend" also modifies "sketched," so it's understandable that the modifiers can't both touch "sketched."

(2) If "from memory" is interpreted as a noun modifier, then it must modify "friend." But this is far less reasonable than the interpretation in (1) above. And in any case, (E) has a similar issue: "death by a close friend" is a more common turn of phrase than "friend from memory," and is a more concerning ambiguity (logically). Also, (E) has greater distance between its troublesome modifier and "sketched" than (B) does!

In summary: I'm willing to concede that E may be OK, but I do not agree that B is wrong. In my view, B is somewhat preferable to E. I think we must conclude that this question has two acceptable answers and is therefore flawed.
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18 Mar 2010, 12:50
esledge wrote:
Scrat wrote:
I go for E too but you should probably also look at "by memory" vs "from memory" as well. 'by memory" is not correct here so A and D are out. C completely changes the meaning of the sentence. for B, "from memory" position in the sentence is amiguous so E is the only one that makes sense.

This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

I agree that by memory/from memory is useful. However, I disagree that "from memory" placement is ambiguous in B. A prepositional phrase can be either a noun modifier or adverbial modifier:

(1) Adverbial modifiers don't have to touch the modified verb/whatever. So if we mean "sketched by memory," then "sketched by his close friend from memory" is acceptable, especially since "by his close friend" also modifies "sketched," so it's understandable that the modifiers can't both touch "sketched."

(2) If "from memory" is interpreted as a noun modifier, then it must modify "friend." But this is far less reasonable than the interpretation in (1) above. And in any case, (E) has a similar issue: "death by a close friend" is a more common turn of phrase than "friend from memory," and is a more concerning ambiguity (logically). Also, (E) has greater distance between its troublesome modifier and "sketched" than (B) does!

In summary: I'm willing to concede that E may be OK, but I do not agree that B is wrong. In my view, B is somewhat preferable to E. I think we must conclude that this question has two acceptable answers and is therefore flawed.

Hi I agree to what you are saying. But, does the second pronoun "his" has the clear antecedent in choice B. Who does the his refer to ... as we introduced friend after mentioning first "his" . could you please clarify on that.
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20 Mar 2010, 09:47
I agree with amma4u. Answer E clearly states that the picture of Beethoveen was sketched after beethoven death and not after his friend death.
In B, "after his death" could refer to either Beethoven or his friend = not clear.
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20 Mar 2010, 11:43
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lionslion wrote:
Hi I agree to what you are saying. But, does the second pronoun "his" has the clear antecedent in choice B. Who does the his refer to ... as we introduced friend after mentioning first "his" . could you please clarify on that.

I definitely see what everyone is saying about "his death" referring more clearly to Beethoven's death in (E).

But there are a couple rules that apply:

1. If you use a pronoun multiple times in a sentence, the default understanding is that all have the same antecedent.
The manager sold his car to his employee a few weeks after he was hired.
Even though "his" and "he" are different cases of the male pronoun, the default assumption is that they all refer to the same antecedent: the manager. If the intended meaning were "after the employee was hired," then it would be wrong to use "he." But if the intended meaning is "after the manager was hired," you can either say "he" or "the manager." Is it more clear to say "the manager"? Definitely, yes. But is it wrong to say "he"? I don't think it's wrong enough to be the sole reason for GMAT elimination.

2. Logical meaning plays a role in making a pronoun-antecedent connection. It's obvious the friend could not sketch after the friend's death, so (with #1 also in mind), "his death" is not only allowed to refer to "Beethoven's death," it should refer to "Beethoven's death."

This example isn't exactly the same, but I doubt anyone would complain that "his" is terribly unclear in this sentence:
Larry's bike was stolen by his former friend two weeks after his last bike ride.
If "his" friend is Larry's friend, "his" ride would be Larry's ride too. And logically, if "his last bike ride" were the friend's, wouldn't the trip to steal the bike be the last ride, not two weeks after the last ride? We consider both repetition and logic, as we should on the Beethoven question.

My point: pronouns must have clear antecedents, but there are some uses that are acceptable even though they might fall into a grey area.

On the pronoun issue, sure, E is better than B.
On the modifier issue, B is better than E.
On the GMAT, the wrong answers are usually more wrong than either of these choices!
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26 Sep 2011, 20:25
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Before too long, let me also jump into the fray; IMO, a wrong word order is an important style error in SC , that will override any others since it directly affects the meaning of the entire clause.

Now on B;

Quote:
His close friend from memory sketched B. a few weeks after his death

If ‘his’ is ambiguous here, who else might it refer to? ‘His friend’ probably implying that the friend sketched it after a few weeks after his own death ( probably as a ghost?). How logical is this frightening reference? .

On E;
Was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his
1. I hve no issues about the phrase 'a friend of his’ modifying Beethoven. However, the wording of ‘by a close friend of his’ immediately after his death is definitely a wrong word order implying that Beethoven’s death was caused by his close friend. This has been more than amply pointed out Esledge.

2. Can we say ‘a close friend of his’? How can we use two possessive markers such as 'of' and 'his' in the same phrase, where 'his' is an adjective? By a close friend of his means by a close friend of Beethoven, where Beethoven is the object of the preposition. Now if you want to replace the object with a pronoun, then you have to use another object case and say ‘by a close friend of him’.

IMO E is too much ridden with questionable flaws to befit a challenge
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30 Sep 2011, 07:46
lionslion wrote:
This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

Good question
"close friend of his" incorrect; it should be "his close friend"
A - "close friend of his" incorrect
B - Correct
C - "close friend of his" incorrect
D - "death my memory" changes meaning
E - "close friend of his" incorrect
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25 Oct 2011, 13:08
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Re: This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2011, 19:59
+1 B here
"E": a death by his friend? Horrible
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Re: This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2011, 21:23
I picked E...Pronoun antecedent.
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29 Oct 2011, 01:02
lionslion wrote:
This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

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Re: This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2011, 03:55
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B looks the best

Its clear and concise
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29 Oct 2011, 06:10
lionslion wrote:
This picture of Beethoven was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death.
A. was sketched by a close friend of his by memory a few weeks after his death
B. was sketched by his close friend from memory a few weeks after his death
C. on his death bed, was sketched by a close friend of his from memory a few weeks later
D. was sketched by a close friend a few weeks after his death by memory
E. was sketched from memory a few weeks after his death by a close friend of his

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

Chose 'B' and ignored 'E'

I found 'B' clear, concise, and meaningful. 'E' has an awkward clause 'by a close friend of his' and seems to modify 'his death'. OA is 'E' and I am more than surprised for that
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Re: SC-Pronoun Error   [#permalink] 29 Oct 2011, 06:10

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