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5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning

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Re: 5 STRATEGIES GMAT USES TO DISTORT MEANING - Final Version [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2012, 10:12
thanks a lot for this stuff......it makes a lot of sense

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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06 Dec 2012, 19:01
thank you. we now have 60+ questions in the e-GMAT SC course (out of 550) that test these strategies. Feel free to try some out in the free trial.
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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12 Dec 2012, 17:11
Hi folks,

Try this question testing correct placemnt of modifier for logical meaning from OGV2. Do present your analysis, especially of the grammatically correct but logically incorrect answer choice.

Some buildings that were destroyed and heavily damaged in the earthquake last year were constructed in violation of the city's building code.

A) Some buildings that were destroyed and heavily damaged in the earthquake last year were

B) Some buildings that were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earthquake last year had been

C) Some buildings that were destroyed and heavily damaged in the earthquake last year have been

D) Last year the earthquake destroyed or heavly damaged some buildings that have been

E) Last year some of the buildings that were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earth quake had been

Thanks.
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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13 Dec 2012, 21:43
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egmat wrote:
Hi folks,

Try this question testing correct placemnt of modifier for logical meaning from OGV2. Do present your analysis, especially of the grammatically correct but logically incorrect answer choice.

Some buildings that were destroyed and heavily damaged in the earthquake last year were constructed in violation of the city's building code.

A) Some buildings that were destroyed and heavily damaged in the earthquake last year were

B) Some buildings that were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earthquake last year had been

C) Some buildings that were destroyed and heavily damaged in the earthquake last year have been

D) Last year the earthquake destroyed or heavly damaged some buildings that have been

E) Last year some of the buildings that were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earth quake had been

Thanks.

Will vote for B

Some buildings that were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earthquake last year had been constructed in violation of the city's building code.

Some buildings [that.. last year] had been constructed in violation of the city's building code.
Subject: Some buildings

that were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earthquake last year
Subject: that - refers to "Some buildings"
Verb: were

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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23 Dec 2012, 07:35

This is an EXCELLENT article....just outstanding... Kudos...I wish I could give you more than one.

Just one quick qs. is the pdf_V4.0 is the latest updated one and whether online part and this v4.0 are in sync ?

Thanks a lot e-GMAT.....You guys really rock...

Best Wishes to the whole e-GMAT team for the Holidays...Merry XMas and a very Happy New year ahead
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2013, 21:41
HI Folks,

e-gmat brings you a fresh 700+ level question that is based on one of the 5 strategies used by GMAT to introduce errors as mentioned in this article. Try this one and postyour detailed analysis. Good explanations will get Kudos from us.

Although Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, providing Internet access through wearable technology, it has approached Warby Parker, an e-commerce eyeglass company, to help it design more fashionable frames.

A. Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen to provide Internet access through wearable technology, it has approached Warby Parker
B. ‘unchic’ glasses have been launched with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, Google has provided Internet access through wearable technology and has approached Warby Parker
C. ‘unchic’ glasses that have a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen have been launched by Google to provide Internet access through wearable technology, Warby Parker has been approached
D. Google, launching ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, has provided Internet access through wearable technology and has approached Warby Parker
E. Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses that have a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen to provide Internet access through wearable technology, Warby Parker has been approached

OA and OE will be posted after some discussion. Happy Solving.
Thanks.
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2013, 21:42
Hi Folks,

Here comes the detailed explanation for this exercise question:

Although Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, providing Internet access through wearable technology, it has approached Warby Parker, an e-commerce eyeglass company, to help it design more fashionable frames.

Meaning Analysis
• This sentence presents contrast.
• Google has launched glasses – wearable technology that provides internet access
o These glasses contain a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen.
o These glasses are not very attractive
• Even though Google has LAUNCHED these glasses, it has approached Warby Parker so that Warby Parker can help it design more fashionable frames.
o Warby Parker is an online eyeglass company.

Errors in Original Sentence
• Clause 1: Although Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, providing Internet access through wearable technology,
• Clause 2: it has approached Warby Parker, an e-commerce eyeglass company, to help it design more fashionable frames.

1. All the S-V pairs are accounted for.
2. All the verbs are written correctly in present perfect tense.
3. The pronoun reference is correct.
4. The use of comma + verbing modifier “providing…” and other modifiers is correct.
5. There are no errors in the sentence.

A. Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen to provide Internet access through wearable technology, it has approached Warby Parker: Correct Choice.

B. ‘unchic’ glasses have been launched with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, Google has provided Internet access through wearable technology and has approached Warby Parker : Incorrect
Error 1 – The verb of Clause 1 has been turned into a passive voice. With this change in voice, now the choice fails to say WHO has lunched the glasses.
Error 2 – Per the original sentence, the contrast is – Although Google has launched glasses, it has approached WP to help it design better frames. Per this choice, the contrast is – Although unchic glasses have been launched, Google has provided Internet access through wearable technology. This contrast is illogical. Actually by launching those glasses, Google has provided Internet access. This choice has converted logical information into illogical contrasting information.

C. ‘unchic’ glasses that have a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen have been launched by Google to provide Internet access through wearable technology, Warby Parker has been approached: Incorrect.
Error - Because of change in voice, this choice now fails to convey that Google approached WB, as communicated in the original sentence.

D. Google, launching ‘unchic’ glasses with a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen, has provided Internet access through wearable technology and has approached Warby Parker: Incorrect.
Error – Per this choice, there is no IC in the sentence. The contrasting information is missing here.

E. Google has launched ‘unchic’ glasses that have a computer processor, a battery, and a tiny screen to provide Internet access through wearable technology, Warby Parker has been approached: Incorrect.
Error - The passive voice construction fails to convey the entity that has approached WP.

Takeaways
1. The correct answer choice must contain all the information presented in the original sentence.
2. The sentence must have an IC.
3. The contrasting elements must be grammatical and logical.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Last edited by egmat on 04 Mar 2013, 11:44, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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23 Feb 2013, 07:57
Great question...

IMO OA is A...
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2013, 15:54
1
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Many thanks to the entire egmat team for putting up such big efforts to the whole community of GC.
Will look forward for some added tips of preposition usage along with preposition phrases as modifiers.
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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06 May 2013, 21:51
Thanks Sdas. You will see some new stuff in a few days
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Re: 5 STRATEGIES THAT GMAT USES TO DISTORT MEANING [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2013, 09:14
egmat wrote:
STRATEGY 4 - CHANGE OF VOICE

Before scientists learned how to make a synthetic growth hormone, removing it painstakingly in small amounts from the pituitary glands of human cadavers.
A. scientists learned how to make a synthetic growth hormone, removing it painstakingly
C. scientists learned how to synthesize the growth hormone, it had to be painstakingly removed
D. learning how to make a synthetic growth hormone, scientists had to remove it painstakingly
E. learning how to synthesize the growth hormone, it have to be painstakingly removed by scientists

Intended meaning from Choice A: This choice does not communicate a clear meaning. The intended meaning of the sentence from choice A can be inferred as follows:
• Some kind of sequencing is shown using the word “before”.
• Scientists learned how to make a synthetic growth hormone
• However, due to the construction of the sentence, the event that happened prior to this event is not clearly specified. However, we can infer that the prior event may be - removing the growth hormone painstakingly from the pituitary glands of human cadavers.

Thus this choice is incorrect because it does not communicate the meaning of the sentence clearly. Grammatically, this choice does not have an independent clause and hence is a fragment.

Intended meaning from Correct Choice C: Choice C corrects these errors and communicates the inferred meaning clearly. It effectively uses passive voice “it had to be painstakingly removed” to present the prior event. Note that the original sentence (choice A) does not say anything about who actually painstakingly removed the hormone from the human cadavers.

Grammatically Correct but Incorrect choice (D)– Notice how in choice D the test makers have changed the voice of one of the verbs. Now the sentence uses active voice “scientists had to painstakingly remove…”. This changes the meaning of the original sentence since it now adds new information that “scientists” actually had to remove the hormone. This information is not present in the original choice. And hence this choice by “adding” to the meaning of the sentence, changes the meaning and hence is incorrect. Carefully notice that this sentence does not have any grammatical errors.

I think there is one subtle change in meaning that was missed in the explanation. "Synthetic growth hormone" is artificial and hence cannot be removed from the pituitary glands of human cadavers. Hence, any option in which the "it" refers back to this term is flawed and can be eliminated.

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Re: 5 STRATEGIES THAT GMAT USES TO DISTORT MEANING [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2013, 06:39
agourav wrote:
egmat wrote:
STRATEGY 4 - CHANGE OF VOICE

Before scientists learned how to make a synthetic growth hormone, removing it painstakingly in small amounts from the pituitary glands of human cadavers.
A. scientists learned how to make a synthetic growth hormone, removing it painstakingly
C. scientists learned how to synthesize the growth hormone, it had to be painstakingly removed
D. learning how to make a synthetic growth hormone, scientists had to remove it painstakingly
E. learning how to synthesize the growth hormone, it have to be painstakingly removed by scientists

Intended meaning from Choice A: This choice does not communicate a clear meaning. The intended meaning of the sentence from choice A can be inferred as follows:
• Some kind of sequencing is shown using the word “before”.
• Scientists learned how to make a synthetic growth hormone
• However, due to the construction of the sentence, the event that happened prior to this event is not clearly specified. However, we can infer that the prior event may be - removing the growth hormone painstakingly from the pituitary glands of human cadavers.

Thus this choice is incorrect because it does not communicate the meaning of the sentence clearly. Grammatically, this choice does not have an independent clause and hence is a fragment.

Intended meaning from Correct Choice C: Choice C corrects these errors and communicates the inferred meaning clearly. It effectively uses passive voice “it had to be painstakingly removed” to present the prior event. Note that the original sentence (choice A) does not say anything about who actually painstakingly removed the hormone from the human cadavers.

Grammatically Correct but Incorrect choice (D)– Notice how in choice D the test makers have changed the voice of one of the verbs. Now the sentence uses active voice “scientists had to painstakingly remove…”. This changes the meaning of the original sentence since it now adds new information that “scientists” actually had to remove the hormone. This information is not present in the original choice. And hence this choice by “adding” to the meaning of the sentence, changes the meaning and hence is incorrect. Carefully notice that this sentence does not have any grammatical errors.

I think there is one subtle change in meaning that was missed in the explanation. "Synthetic growth hormone" is artificial and hence cannot be removed from the pituitary glands of human cadavers. Hence, any option in which the "it" refers back to this term is flawed and can be eliminated.

Hi there,

Yes, you are absolutely correct in your analysis. Scientists cannot remove "synthetic growth hormones" from human organs. Hence, usage of "it" to refer to this entity is incorrect. This error has been rectified in Choice C by turning synthetic into a "to verb".

Thanks.
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2013, 11:17
Great explanation... e-GMAT is really great.

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Re: 5 STRATEGIES THAT GMAT USES TO DISTORT MEANING [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2013, 02:31
OFFICIAL QUESTION 1 – OG VR2 – Q#31

Now lets take an official question:

Nearly two tons of nuclear-reactor fuel have already been put into orbit around the Earth, and the chances of a collision involving such material increase greatly as the amount of both space debris and satellites continue to rise.
A. as the amount of both space debris and satellites continue to rise
B. as the rise continues in both the amount of satellites and space debris
C. as the amount of space debris and the number of satellites continue to rise
D. with the continually increasing amount of space debris and the number of satellites
E. with the amount of space debris continuing to increase along with the number of satellites

Please explain why option D is wrong?
Does the verb 'increase' has to be parallel with
'increasing' or is it that with cannot be used for comparisons ?

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2013, 12:23
D. Sounds awkward, here As is preferred over with.
compared to D option C is concise.

with
"the continually increasing amount of space debris"
and
"the number of satellites"

Here you can see in option D "continually increasing" is applying to only space debris, however in option A it is covering satellites as well.
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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21 Nov 2013, 00:00
In choosing between two grammatically correct sentence but different meaning how do we know which is the correct meaning.

For example for this:-
Heartless human beings are like wild animals, which will rip its own kin at the slightest of need and that too without a sign of remorse.
A. Heartless human beings are like wild animals, which will rip its own kin at the slightest of need
B. Heartless human beings were like wild animals, which have ripped their own kin at the slightest of need
C. Human beings are like heartless wild animals, which rip their own kin in the slightest of need
D. Human beings are like heartless wild animals, which rip at its own kin in the slightest of need
E. Heartless human beings are like wild animals, which rip their own kin in the slightest of need.

Now C & E both are correct but E is correct as per meaning.
My doubt is how do we find out what is the intended meaning of a sentence when more than 1 meaning makes sense.

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2015, 17:25
Awesome Post!!! I think that my meaning light just clicked:)!
Many thanks:)!

Regards,
Yela

egmat wrote:
STRATEGY 2 - USE OF MODIFIERS

How does GMAC use this strategy: There are a finite number of commonly used modifiers. These modifiers typically play well-defined role. You may find below the list of modifiers and what they typically modify. e-GMAT customers may view the concept file “Types of Modifiers” to find more details on this topic.

Lets take a simple example below:

So here is the scene that I picture. Cat is swift. It caught the rat. Now lets check this sentence below.

Now the scene that I picture is – cat swiftly grabbed the rat. So per this sentence, I no longer know whether the cat is generally swift or not. But I do know that the cat acted swiftly and caught the rat.

So changing the modifier from “adjective” to “adverb” leads to change in the meaning communicated by the sentence. This is exactly how GMAT may introduce a difference in meaning.

OFFICIAL QUESTION 1 – OG12 – Q#126

Now lets take an official question:

The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses.
A. that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses
B. that create unconscious physiological responses in turn
C. creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses
D. to create, in turn, physiological responses that are unconscious
E. who creates unconscious physiological responses in turn

Intended meaning from Choice A: The intended meaning of the sentence from choice A can be inferred as follows:
1. Use of lie detectors is based on a certain assumption. Here is the assumption
2. Lying produces emotional reactions in an individual
3. These emotional reactions then create unconscious physiological responses.

Note that “that clause” in this sentence clearly modifies – emotional reactions. Yes, typically relative pronoun modifiers modify the closest noun. However, they can also modify slightly far away noun when this noun is the head of the noun phrase and when such modification makes sense. E-GMAT customers can find detailed description of this concept in the concept file – Modifiers – Relative Pronouns. Also, I cover this topic in excruciating detail in one of the live sessions in the Verbal Live Complete.
This choice is absolutely correct. There are no grammatical and meaning based errors in this sentence.

Grammatically Correct but Incorrect choice (E)– – Notice how in choice E the test makers have changed the modifier from “that clause” to “who clause”. See, “who” modifiers cannot modify things. They can only modify people. So by changing ‘thing’ modifying modifier to ‘person’ modifying modifier, now automatically the entity being modified changes to “individual”. Now the modifier no longer modifies “emotional reactions”. This changes the meaning. This results in different yet still logical meaning.

The intended meaning communicated by Choice E is the following:
1. Use of lie detectors is based on a certain assumption. Here is the assumption:
2. Lying produces emotional reactions in an individual
3. The individual then creates unconscious physiological responses.

Note that without subject matter knowledge, the above cause and effect sequence appears to be logical. Lying produces certain reactions in the individual and then the individual unknowingly creates certain type of responses.

Thus, the meaning communicated by this choice is certainly different from the meaning communicated by choice A. Hence, while choice E is grammatically correct, it changes the logical intended meaning and is not the correct choice.

OFFICIAL QUESTION 2 – OG Verbal Review 2 - Q#108

Now let’s take another official question.

Sound can travel through water for enormous distances, prevented from dissipating its acoustic energy as a result of boundaries in the ocean created by water layers of different temperatures and densities.
A. prevented from dissipating its acoustic energy as a result of
B. prevented from having its acoustic energy dissipated by
C. its acoustic energy prevented from dissipating by
D. its acoustic energy prevented from being dissipated as a result of
E. preventing its acoustic energy from dissipating by

Intended meaning from Choice A: The sentence is written in an awkward manner but we can certainly infer the intended meaning.
1. Sound can travel through water for long distances.
2. The acoustic energy of sound is prevented from dissipating because of the boundaries in the ocean. These boundaries are created by water layers of different temperatures and densities.

Now it is logical to say that because of statement 2, statement 1 happens. That is because the acoustic energy of sound is not dissipated easily, sound can travel through water for long distances. At this point you can picture in your mind that these two facts can be connected in multiple ways:
1. Use connectors that state reason such as because, since.
2. Use modifier that extends the thought of preceding clause.

Error in the original choice: Choice A is not the correct choice since it is not written properly.

Choice C corrects this error and is the correct choice. It uses noun + noun modifier construction to explain how sound can travel through water for long distances. Notice that a noun + noun modifier construction is very versatile. It can modify any aspect of the preceding clause. It need not be necessarily connected to the subject of the clause. This is what sets it apart from a verb-ing modifier which has been used in choice E.

Grammatically Correct but Incorrect choice E: Notice how the test makers have changed this modifier to verb-ing modifier. As we discussed earlier, a verb-ing modifier when separated by a comma modifies the preceding clause but is connected with the subject of that clause. It may also present the result of the action in the preceding clause. Neither of these modifications in this sentence creates an illogical meaning. Two possible interpretations are:
• Illogical meaning 1
Sound can travel through water for long distances.
Sound prevents its energy from dissipating because of the boundaries in the ocean. These boundaries are created by water layers of different temperatures and densities.
This is illogical since sound itself does not prevent its energy from being dissipated. The boundaries in the ocean prevent the energy of sound from being dissipated.
• Illogical meaning 2
Sound can travel through water for enormous distances
This leads to its energy being prevented from dissipation

So as you can see, by changing the modifier, the context of the sentence changes, resulting in this case in an illogical meaning. Now at first look this choice may appear to be correct since grammatically there are no errors. However, since the correct choice must communicated intended logical meaning, this choice is not the correct answer.

HOW TO EVALUATE CHOICES THAT CHANGE THE MEANING?

1. Understand the logical meaning of the original choice.
a. Note how the modifiers have been used.
b. If the meaning is not clear in the original choice, then apply your knowledge of modifiers and determine the suitable modifier for the sentence. Such pre-thinking helps when you review the answer choices.
2. Look for the answer choice that best communicates the same meaning in un-ambiguous and grammatically correct manner.
3. Ignore choices that may be grammatically correct but change the meaning. A seemingly correct grammatical choice may also communicate an illogical meaning.

PRACTICE PROBLEMS

e-GMAT course has 33 practice problems. e-GMAT customers can see the list by clicking the link below.
http://e-gmat.com/blogs/?p=745

We have also posted 2 new problems at the links below. Try them out.

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2015, 08:11
I've singned up for a E-GMAT online course. It's an amazing piece of work!
However, I have a problem with the last concept of the SC course, which is "intended meaning".
E-Gmat says that the original sentence and hence, choice "A" always convey an intended meaning. How is it possible? I've tried to follow the strategy of sticking to the meaning in the original sentence, and it worked, but only in e-gmat practice files. It doesn't work in real questions, though.

I still don't know how to figure out an intended meaning of the sentence.

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2016, 21:59
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.

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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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25 Dec 2016, 21:12
warriorguy wrote:
Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

I have a doubt regarding this post.

5-strategies-that-gmat-uses-to-distort-meaning-124296-40.html#p1186163

I chose the correct answer based on the meaning and on the construction of the sentence; however, I have read that the subject should not be present in the subordinate clause (SC). Here, Although introduces subject "Google" in SC. Since pronoun it is in subject position as Google, it is clear antecedent.

Is this construction i.e. subject in SC allowed?

Merry Christmas to you too. ANY clause MUST consist of a subject and a verb. So the source from where you have read that a subordinate clause should not have a subject is definitely not a very authentic one.

Kudos [?]: 3321 [0], given: 22

Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2016, 21:12

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