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Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric

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Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 20:03
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Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is for 20 years out of every 230-year cycle, even though it is commonly described as the remotest planet in the solar system.

(A) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(B) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(C) Pluto's orbit is highly eccentric and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(D) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(E) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric, thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is

I chose D because the comparison seems to focus on 'the other major planets' vs 'Pluto's orbit.
Now I realize, for D, "than Neptune" 'is' should have been included to convey its meaning clearly.

How do you first figure out if the comparison in the original sentence is right? I still don't understand why Pluto vs other major planets have to be compared with instead 'pluto's orbit' vs 'other planets'

Please help.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Please help. GMAT prep question [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 22:35
uledssul wrote:
Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is for 20 years out of every 230-year cycle, even though it is commonly described as the remotest planet in the solar system.

(A) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(B) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(C) Pluto's orbit is highly eccentric and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(D) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(E) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric, thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is

I chose D because the comparison seems to focus on 'the other major planets' vs 'Pluto's orbit.
Now I realize, for D, "than Neptune" 'is' should have been included to convey its meaning clearly.

How do you first figure out if the comparison in the original sentence is right? I still don't understand why Pluto vs other major planets have to be compared with instead 'pluto's orbit' vs 'other planets'

Please help.


Hey uledssul,

I'm no expert at this stuff but let me try my best to explain this to you.
First of all, we need to compare other major planets to another planet. Comparing other planets to the orbit of other planets is a faulty comparison. This eliminates D and E.

Secondly, D has another problem: in making a comparison, " the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus closer to the Sun than Neptune" is comparing the orbit of Pluto with Neptune. For instance, if the sentence went something like this:
"the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus closer to the Sun than the orbit of Neptune" OR
"the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune"

The problem with "The orbit of Pluto" is that the "orbit" becomes the main subject and "of Pluto" becomes secondary because of the use of "of" So The second example above reused the word Pluto to compare it with Neptune. (Note however, my first example above changes the meaning of the sentence.)

Now these sentences make correct comparisons and are parallel as well.

The problem with C is that we have a possessive noun "Pluto's orbit".

1. We cannot refer to a possessive noun with a pronoun.
Eg. Florida's weather is awesome. We should go there. WRONG
There cannot refer to Florida's weather.

2. It is less preferable to compare nouns with possessive nouns. (I'm not totally sure about the rule here and some expert on this forum can shed some light on this)
Basically, avoid sentences where a clause modifies a possessive noun, when there are better options around.

Now for A:
"Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is"
The correct use of which with a comma is to introduce a NON-ESSENTIAL modifier. First of the the main point of this sentence is comparing the distance between Pluto and Neptune to the Sun therefore, saying Pluto is closer to the sun than Neptune is an essential part of the sentence and we should not use a "which" here.
And in any case, "which is thus" is an awkward construction at best - "and is thus" is much better.

Hope this helps at least a little and good luck with studying!
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Re: Please help. GMAT prep question [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 22:49
I see. Thanks for the comment.

It helped.
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Re: Please help. GMAT prep question [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2012, 02:58
uledssul wrote:
Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is for 20 years out of every 230-year cycle, even though it is commonly described as the remotest planet in the solar system.

(A) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(B) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(C) Pluto's orbit is highly eccentric and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(D) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(E) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric, thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is

I chose D because the comparison seems to focus on 'the other major planets' vs 'Pluto's orbit.
Now I realize, for D, "than Neptune" 'is' should have been included to convey its meaning clearly.

How do you first figure out if the comparison in the original sentence is right? I still don't understand why Pluto vs other major planets have to be compared with instead 'pluto's orbit' vs 'other planets'

Please help.


i pick B. C , D and E are out because non-underlined portion of the sentence tells about the planets but in C, D and E underlined portion tells about the orbit which is not parallel. the intended meaning of the sentence is that pluto is closer to the sun than neptune not the orbit of the pluto. correct me if i am wrong
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Re: Please help. GMAT prep question [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2012, 07:00
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If the doubt is about how to identify what is being compared with what, then the following note may give some insight.
First of all, a comparison is always marked by a comparison marker such as unlike, like etc, or other things such as than, as, in comparison to, in comparison with et al. Secondly, because like or unlike is a preposition, it will always be followed by a noun or noun phrase and that is the one that is being compared with something similar.
That is how, in the given text, the planet Pluto is compared with similar other planets and we cannot assume any things other than planets as those compared, when it is part of the un-underlined part. You can see the same happening in the given examples below.

Like their male counterparts, women scientists are above average in terms of intelligence and creativity, but unlike men of science, their female counterparts have had to work against the grain of occupational stereotyping to enter a “man’s world.”
(A) their female counterparts have had to work
(B) their problem is working
(C) one thing they have had to do is work
(D) the handicap women of science have had is to work
(E) women of science have had to work

Here note the phrase, unlike men of science, which makes its clear that men of science is being compared to a similar women of science. Choice E exhibits that.

2. Like the government that came before it, which set new records for growth, laissez-faire capitalism is the cornerstone of the new government.
(A) laissez-faire capitalism is the cornerstone of the new government
(B) the cornerstone of the new government is laissez-faire capitalism
(C) laissez-faire capitalism is the new government’s cornerstone
(D) the new government has made laissez-faire capitalism its cornerstone
(E) the new government has a laissez-faire cornerstone of capitalism

Here the comparison is marked by the word like and what is compared is the government. Therefore, we should now compare it with a similar government, and therefore, choice D, which compares the old preceding government with a new government with the right intended meaning, is the right answer.

3. Like the color-discriminating apparatus of the human eye, insects’ eyes depend on recording and comparing light intensities in three regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
(A) insects’ eyes depend on
(B) an insect eye depends on
(C) that of insects depend on the
(D) that of an insect’s eye depends on
(E) that of an insect’s is dependent on the

Here an apparatus of the human eyes -is standing next to the comparison marker like and it may be noted that it is un-underlined. Hence, we should now compare it with another apparatus of some other eye. Choice D correctly states that
Hope this elucidates a root principle of comparison. (In case it is irrelevant, just ignore this note please.)
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Re: Please help. GMAT prep question [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2012, 05:42
Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is for 20 years out of every 230-year cycle, even though it is commonly described as the remotest planet in the solar system.

(A) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(B) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is
(C) Pluto's orbit is highly eccentric and is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(D) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric and thus closer to the Sun than Neptune
(E) the orbit of Pluto is highly eccentric, thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is


See first the sentence kicks off with Unlike other planets --> your thinking should be: okay there must be name of a planet after the comma ; remember the rule compare similar things , one cannot compare a planet with orbit ..... can you ? think this way ... only A and B are doing it correctly .. and after that in A which points to orbit .... now again what the sentence wants to say ... is the orbit closer to the sun or the planet ... both could be , but the clue comes from the rest of the sentence which says Neptune is ....now again compare like things if the author wants to convey closeness of planet and not the orbit .. you cannot change that :) and hence the answer is B .. . hope it clears your doubt ..
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Re: Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2013, 23:10
Its a clear split option A and B remain

Is A incorrect because the "which" clause is an essential modifier here?

Option B is best
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Re: Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2013, 00:15
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fozzzy wrote:
Its a clear split option A and B remain

Is A incorrect because the "which" clause is an essential modifier here?

Option B is best


Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is for 20 years out of every 230-year cycle, even though it is commonly described as the remotest planet in the solar system.

A is incorrect from a meaning point of view:

(A) Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit, which(the orbit) is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is

I)you are comparing the orbit to Neptune (illogical comparison)
II)you want to say that PLUTO (and not its orbit) is closer to the Sun than Neptune (correct meaning)
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Re: Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2013, 01:10
Great analysis missed that the comparison of orbit and neptune...
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Re: Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 04:55
Hi ,

i do agree that of all the other options, the best option is B.
I also do agree with the comparison in choice b .
My doubt is about the structure following and "is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is".
Is this structure parallel to structure before and ??
If they are parallel how??

Moderators please help :)

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 09:17
Expert's post
dheeraj24 wrote:
Hi ,

i do agree that of all the other options, the best option is B.
I also do agree with the comparison in choice b .
My doubt is about the structure following and "is thus closer to the Sun than Neptune is".
Is this structure parallel to structure before and ??
If they are parallel how??

Moderators please help :)

Thanks in advance.


This is kind of fun because you have a comparison "is closer than Neptune is*" nestled within a parallel structure "Pluto has...and is...", which was initiated by a comparison "Unlike the other major plants, Pluto". Wow, it's confusing just to write :)

To diagram it out would look like this:

Unlike the other major planets, Pluto [Comparison]
-> has a highly eccentric orbit and is [Parallelism]
- > {is} thus closer to the sun than Neptune is [Comparison]
for 20 years out of every 230-year cycle, even though it is commonly described as the remotest planet in the solar system.

Your question was about the Parallelism structure. Remember that parallelism requires a similar structure. The words "has" and "is" are parallel because they are both in the present tense. If you change the tense of either the parallelism is broken - "Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit and was".

Does that make sense?

KW

[*I would argue that the second "is" is unnecessary and could be omitted, but it's not grammatically incorrect.]
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Re: Unlike the other major planets, Pluto has a highly eccentric   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2014, 09:17
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