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Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth

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Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2013, 09:03
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Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

a) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
c) phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
d) phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
e) many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood


MGMAT suggests "if the two actions are sequenced properly in the sentence, it is not necessary to use past perfect tense"..

in the sentence Until X proved, scientists had believed. Clearly suggests that " scientists believing was the first action" & Antoine proving is the action that followed it"

So do we really need "Had" in the Correct Answer Or is the answer still stands grammatically correct even after removing "had from it"
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2013, 09:58
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RaviChandra wrote:
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

a) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
c) phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
d) phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
e) many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood


MGMAT suggests "if the two actions are clearly sequenced in the sentence it is not necessary to use past perfect tense"..

in the sentence Until X proved, scientists had believed. Clearly suggests that " scientists believing was the first action" & Antoine proving is the action that followed it"

So do we really need "Had" in this question .


use of HAD is not wrong since all other options has gramatical errors.

if you have to choose between 2 options having the same intended meaning..but one uses HAD and one without HAD...then you van choose the one which dont have HAD.

TAKEAWAY: Use of HAD is not gramatically incorrect even if two actions are clearly sequenced.

a) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
CORRECT.

b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
WRONG.
==incorrect parallelism.....we need ...THAT PHLOGISTON..........AND THAT its.....(THAT ismissing)

c) phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
WRONG.
==> WHOSE clause and WHICH clause cannot be parallel...
==>WHICH normally refers to closest noun and followed by a comma or preposition(as per official question trend)

d) phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
WRONG.
==>PASSIVE CONSTRUCTION....

e) many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
WRONG.
==>MEANING CHANGED: scientist BELIEVED.......1) P was released by combustion..+++ they also believed 2) was an imaginary substance.
scientist dint believed that it was an imaginary substance RATHER it was an imaginary substance....

Hope it helps.
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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2013, 10:17
Yes it helped thank you for the reply...
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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2013, 10:27
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use of HAD is not wrong since all other options has gramatical errors.

if you have to choose between 2 options having the same intended meaning..but one uses HAD and one without HAD...then you van choose the one which dont have HAD.



This is new info for me. could you please give some more examples.
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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2013, 10:37
RaviChandra wrote:
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

a) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
c) phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
d) phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
e) many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood


MGMAT suggests "if the two actions are sequenced properly in the sentence, it is not necessary to use past perfect tense"..

in the sentence Until X proved, scientists had believed. Clearly suggests that " scientists believing was the first action" & Antoine proving is the action that followed it"

So do we really need "Had" in the Correct Answer Or is the answer still stands grammatically correct even after removing "had from it"


My suggestion for your question.
Simple past vs Past perfect.
We use Simple Past if we give past events in the order in which they occured. However, when we look back from a certain time in the past to tell what had happened before, we use Past Perfect.

In this question, clearly we do not talk about sequence of events. However, we use the point - Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise - which happened in the past to look back other action (in the past) happened before it. Clearly, past perfect is correct.

ANALYZE THE QUESTION:

Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

a) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Correct. Past perfect + active voice --> good grammar.

b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
Wrong. "its" refers to "combustion" or "substance" --> ambiguous.

c) phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
Wrong. Passive voice "was released..." is not necessary.

d) phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
Wrong. "believed by X to be Y" --> not preferable in GMAT. (refer idiom chapter in MGMAT - sentence correction - page 150).

e) many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Wrong. Between A and E, A is better by using active voice. E, however, uses passive voice.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2013, 23:57
pqhai wrote:

b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
Wrong. "its" refers to "combustion" or "substance" --> ambiguous.


Hi! I am trying to understand pronoun ambiguity. Please help me understand the concept better.
I think 'its' refers to 'phlogiston' because 'phlogiston' is in the subject position in that clause, and so is 'its'. Please correct me if I am wrong.
2nd query: 'its' is a possessive pronoun, so should it not refer to a possessive subject?
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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2013, 21:50
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vjns wrote:
pqhai wrote:

b) many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
Wrong. "its" refers to "combustion" or "substance" --> ambiguous.


Hi! I am trying to understand pronoun ambiguity. Please help me understand the concept better.
I think 'its' refers to 'phlogiston' because 'phlogiston' is in the subject position in that clause, and so is 'its'. Please correct me if I am wrong.
2nd query: 'its' is a possessive pronoun, so should it not refer to a possessive subject?


Hi vjns

In theory, every pronoun in a well-written sentence should clearly refer to ONE antecedent. If the pronoun MAY refer to more than one antecedent, pronoun ambiguity exists.

Let see B:
many scientist believed that X was Y released by Z and its properties were not fully understood.

So "its" refers to X, Y or Z? The sentence becomes very ambiguous.

Your though " 'its' refers to 'phlogiston' because 'phlogiston' is in the subject position in that clause" is not correct. Technically, "its' refers to phlogiston if there is a "that" before "and". So the sentence becomes: many scientist believed that phlogiston was..........and that its.................... ==> "its" refers to "phlogiston. But that's not the case in the question.

Your second query: We do not have any rule that says a possessive pronoun must refer to a possessive subject.
For example: Whenever a student calls, please take down his information. ==> subject: student; Pronoun "his" - a possessive form. But there is no problem here.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth   [#permalink] 21 Sep 2013, 21:50
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