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5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning

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Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 596
Location: India
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WE: Engineering (Telecommunications)
Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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25 Dec 2016, 20:26
sayantanc2k wrote:
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.

Thanks for the wishes.

I meant to type the main subject of the sentence should not be in the dependent clause.

So just to summarize: the main subject of the sentence can be in the DC but it should not be in the prepositional phrase with the exception of : "a number of" where noun in that phrase could be the main subject of the sentence.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2017
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2017, 10:06
Bumping into the article. Thanks egmat for the wonderful insight. I will definitely use this method from now on.
Keep up the good work
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2017, 12:00
gmatexam439 wrote:
Bumping into the article. Thanks egmat for the wonderful insight. I will definitely use this method from now on.
Keep up the good work

Hello gmatexam439,

Thank you so much for your appreciation. It certainly means a lot to us and keeps us motivated to keep coming up with quality content so that the test takers can be benefited.

Thanks.
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Location: India
Concentration: Operations, Finance
GMAT 1: 650 Q49 V29
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Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2017, 19:30
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.

Hi egmat
What is the error in 'its acoustic energy prevented from being dissipated as a result of' ?
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Joined: 05 Sep 2016
Posts: 24
Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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02 Feb 2018, 08:05
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.
But it was also taught in egmat course that verb-ing modifier can modify the to verb of the preceding clause if the doer of the modifier and the doer of the modified entity is same.
ex- Mary's father wants her to become a doctor, making a difference in people's lives.
Here the verb-ing modifier is not related to Mary's father. It is connected to Mary and modifies " to become a doctor".
which rule shall i follow???
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Joined: 05 Sep 2016
Posts: 24
Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning [#permalink]

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02 Feb 2018, 09:04
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.
But it was also taught in egmat course that verb-ing modifier can modify the to verb of the preceding clause if the doer of the modifier and the doer of the modified entity is same.
ex- Mary's father wants her to become a doctor, making a difference in people's lives.
Here the verb-ing modifier is not related to Mary's father. It is connected to Mary and modifies " to become a doctor".
which rule shall i follow???
Re: 5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning   [#permalink] 02 Feb 2018, 09:04

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5 Strategies that GMAT uses to distort meaning

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