Those who study ancient European history soon realize that before Greece was Greece, it was a collection of small city-states that were intensely jealous of one another and were only occationally able to work together for common goals.
(A) before Greece was Greece, it was a collection of small city-states
(B) before there was Greece, it was a collection of small city-states
(C) before Greece, it was a collection of small city-states
(D) it was a collection of small city-states that was Greece
(E) Greece became a collection of small city-states
please explain logic...OA seems too wordy.... thanks
: I edited the question at the top, so that the answer would be in a spoiler.
This is a great question. The OA is perfectly correct, but idiosyncratic, which can be confusing. (A) before Greece was Greece, it was a collection of small city-states
This is a highly idiosyncratic construction, but it is 100% correct. The phrase "before Greece was Greece
" implies that we are talking about what happened in that region before it took the form with which we associate that name. The phrase plays on the tension between the place itself (now known to use by a name) and the name itself, which connotes a particular period of history ---- before that point in history, the place known by this name did not have this name!! That is precisely the focus of this question, which makes this particular phrasing perfect! The overall construction here makes it undeniable that the pronoun "it
" correctly refers to "Greece
". This is not only correct, but also actually a concise way to express a rather sophisticated idea. This is very important for zisis
to recognize: given all that the text communicates, the wordy is actually quite economical. (B) before there was Greece, it was a collection of small city-states
The phrase "before there was Greece
" is bloated, awkward, and flabby. This is precisely the kind of extra verbiage that the GMAT hates. Furthermore, as seekmba
indicates, the "it
" seems here to refer to "ancient European history
", which is incorrect. (C) before Greece, it was a collection of small city-states
This construction implies that the "it has to be something other than Greece. Logically, we don't comment on what something is at a time before it exists! Again, the only possible antecedent for "it
" would be "ancient European history
", again as seekmba
indicates. This choice is also incorrect. (D) it was a collection of small city-states that was Greece
The emphatic construction is not justified here, and in fact, it is confusing and awkward. See this post for the proper use of emphatic construction:http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom ... ed-idioms/
This choice is a disaster, and it is wrong. (E) Greece became a collection of small city-states
This is grammatically correct, but it changes the meaning substantially from the prompt. It's not that the full nation, Greece, later became the individual city-states. Rather, the individual city-states in that region became the nation Greece. That's what the prompt communicates, and this choices gets that historical & causal sequence backwards.
is the best answer by far. It is not at all too wordy ---- if anything, it is quite elegant.
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