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Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding

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Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2014, 16:06
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Question Stats:

67% (02:04) correct 33% (00:42) wrong based on 55 sessions
The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, the length of which is that of a handheld computer, and it weighs less than 11 ounces.
A. to be the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, the length of which is that of a handheld computer, and it weighs
B. to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, weighing
C. is the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, and it weighs
D. is the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, which is as long as a handheld computer and weighs
E. is the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, the length of which is that of a handheld computer, weighin

Hi All,
It might be discussed a lot,I still have doubt.

I used to believe the which refers to closest noun before comma.But later I realized that which may refer to distant noun/subject if there is some prepositional phrase which is mandatory to be present.

In the option C and B how can I be sure which refers to world.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2014, 22:31
sanjeebpanda wrote:
The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, the length of which is that of a handheld computer, and it weighs less than 11 ounces.
A. to be the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, the length of which is that of a handheld computer, and it weighs
B. to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, weighing
C. is the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, and it weighs
D. is the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, which is as long as a handheld computer and weighs
E. is the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, the length of which is that of a handheld computer, weighin

Hi All,
It might be discussed a lot,I still have doubt.

I used to believe the which refers to closest noun before comma.But later I realized that which may refer to distant noun/subject if there is some prepositional phrase which is mandatory to be present.

In the option C and B how can I be sure which refers to world.



Hi

Let us take option B :
The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.

Which can modify "smallest network digital camcorder" if the prep phrase "in the world" cannnot be placed elsewhere in the sentence without violating the structure and the meaning.
We can write "the world’s smallest network digital camcorder" (option D), without violating structure and the meaning so option D is preferred. Please refer an excellent article by E-GMAT at noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html for further clarity.

Another error in option B is use of "verb- ing" modifier (weighing)

IMO in following sentence, option D is preferred to modified option B (experts please comment on this):
Modified Option B :
The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer and weighs less than 11 ounces.

Option D:
The electronics company has unveiled what it claims is the world’s smallest network digital camcorder, which is as long as a handheld computer and weighs less than 11 ounces.


In Option C the same logic for "which" modifier will be applicable.

Another error in C is referent of pronoun "it" (2nd - "it weights less.....).

Hope this helps
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Re: Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 00:02
sanjeebpanda wrote:
I used to believe the which refers to closest noun before comma.But later I realized that which may refer to distant noun/subject if there is some prepositional phrase which is mandatory to be present.

I still continue to believe this. Is there anything in OG that makes you believe otherwise?

For example, here "which" would refer to "world", thereby making those options incorrect.
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Re: Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 11:06
ayushman wrote:
sanjeebpanda wrote:
I used to believe the which refers to closest noun before comma.But later I realized that which may refer to distant noun/subject if there is some prepositional phrase which is mandatory to be present.

I still continue to believe this. Is there anything in OG that makes you believe otherwise?

For example, here "which" would refer to "world", thereby making those options incorrect.


When in doubt just replace which with the noun(s) in the sentence and check if more than 1 noun can replace which.

B. The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.
The 2 nouns that which can refer to are the smallest network digital camcorder and the world. Now replace which with the 2 nouns one by one and you get :

1.) The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, the smallest network digital camcorder is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.
2.) The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, the world is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.

You can see that both camcorder and world have length as their physical attribute, so they both can replace which.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But now lets take a look at an Official example (OG 13#29, Choice E)
Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

No if you replace which with the 2 possible nouns then you get :
1.) Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, letters were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.
2.) Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

You can easily see that 2nd sentence doesn't make any sense, Susan is a person and hence cannot be written. Which can only refer to the letters. So in this case which refers to a noun far from it, but still clearly expresses the meaning.



Option B also has a modifier error, weighing is modifying handheld computer and not the camcorder.
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Re: Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 22:35
prasun9 wrote:
When in doubt just replace which with the noun(s) in the sentence and check if more than 1 noun can replace which.

B. The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, which is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.
The 2 nouns that which can refer to are the smallest network digital camcorder and the world. Now replace which with the 2 nouns one by one and you get :

1.) The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, the smallest network digital camcorder is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.
2.) The electronics company has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest network digital camcorder in the world, the world is as long as a handheld computer, weighing less than 11 ounces.

You can see that both camcorder and world have length as their physical attribute, so they both can replace which.

I believe that in this case, "which" will only refer to "world" and not "camcorder".
Re: Usage of which ..Need a clear understanding   [#permalink] 13 Mar 2014, 22:35
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