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A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on

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A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2016, 04:47
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A
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GMAT® Official Guide 2018

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 698
Page: 685

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there.

(A) on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there
(B) about the books James Baldwin wrote in France
(C) into James Baldwin's books written while in France
(D) on the books of James Baldwin, written while he lived in France
(E) the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France

University Sabbatical

(A) Idiom (to research on X)

(B) Idiom (to research about X)

(C) Idiom (to research into X); Meaning

(D) Idiom (to research on X)

(E) CORRECT


First glance

The opening words are almost all prepositions: on, about, into. If this isn’t a red herring (a difference that doesn't matter and is just meant to distract you), then chances are good that this sentence is testing idioms.

Issues

(1) Idiom: to research on / about / into X

It’s important to look at the exact form of the wording here, as the word research can be both a noun and a verb—and the form of a word can change the idioms you are allowed to use. In this case, to research is a verb. How would you use it in a similar but simpler sentence?

He took a break to research on vacation options.

He took a break to research about vacation options.

He took a break to research into vacation options.

He took a break to research vacation options.

The idiom is to research X—in other words, just go straight into what you want to research. Only the last option correctly does this. Eliminate answers (A), (B), (C), and (D).

(When research is used as a noun, it is appropriate to use a variety of prepositions after it. For example - He did research about alligators.)

(2) Meaning

Answer (C) also has a meaning issue. The books were written while Baldwin was in France, but this choice says that the books were written while (they themselves were) in France.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (E) uses the appropriate idiom: to research X.

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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 09:10
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MadaraU wrote:
Shouldn't it be "the books that James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" rather than "the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" in choice D, because "wrote" comes out of nowhere.


Helllo MadaraU,

I will be glad to help you resolve the doubt. :-)

Following is the correct version of the sentence (with Choice E):

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research the books (that) James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France.

(Blue = subjects, Green = verbs)

In the correct answer choice, that, the relative pronoun modifier that refers to the preceding noun entity the books is understood. It is so because that, the modifier, does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts. Let's take a few simple examples here to understand the usage:

I like the pizza that contains only vegetables.

In the above-mentioned sentence, that refers to the preceding noun the pizza and acts as the subject of the dependent clause that it starts. Hence, it must be explicitly mentioned in the sentence.

Now look at the following sentence:

I like the pizza that my mother makes at home.

In the above-mentioned sentence, that refers to the preceding noun the pizza but does not act as the subject of the dependent clause that it starts. The subject of the dependent clause started by that is my mother. Hence, it it not necessary to mention that in the sentence. The sentence can be written as follows:

I like the pizza my mother makes at home.

Same is the case with the correct answer choice of this official sentence. Since that does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts, it has been kept understood in the sentence.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2017, 15:58
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can you please elaborate on why is research on , research about, research into wrong?

as research on also seems correct here as the books were written in past and the professor now is researching on those books not the books .. we generally research on a topic not research the topic.

please explain


When "research" alone is used as a verb, no preposition should be used.

Correct: He researched the subject.

When a verb such as as "do" or "conduct" is placed before the word "research" (which is then used as a noun), a preposition should be used. "On," "into," and "about" are all acceptable.

Correct: He did research on the subject.
Correct: He did research into the subject
Correct: He conducted research about the subject.
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2016, 05:23
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Comparing the differences in the answer choices, I'm going to focus on the part that comes right before the underlined part. To research on? To research into? To research about? The only one that makes sense is to research the books.

If you're not familiar with that idiom, or rather, that there is no prepositional phrase comes after to research, separate the answer choices based on wrote or written.

The choices that say written make it ambiguous as to who was doing the writing. I would focus on ABE first.

At that point hopefully you will notice that to research on and to research about are both incorrect. E is the answer.

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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 05:45
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walker wrote:
A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there.

A) on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there
B) about the books James Baldwin wrote in France
C) into James Baldwin's books written while in France
D) on the books of James Baldwin, written while he lived in France
E) the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France


A B C D wrong idiomatic usage of research

to research on= WRONG
to research about = WRONG
to research into = WRONG

E is the only remaining option.
The entire exercise has become a POE trick rather than actually honing into the right answer using elegant grammar rules.
"He" is ambiguous in E but by the "pronoun touch rule for unclear antecedents" :- Such pronouns are considered to refer the to the closest noun or other pronoun.
"He" refers to the closest noun which is Baldwin and thus this options delivers the correct intended meaning of the sentence.
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2016, 02:34
walker wrote:
A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there.

A) on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there
B) about the books James Baldwin wrote in France
C) into James Baldwin's books written while in France
D) on the books of James Baldwin, written while he lived in France
E) the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France


Hi mikemcgarry , DmitryFarber, daagh and other experts !

I have serious doubts in this question and questions like this that stress on diction and idiomatic usages don't breed much confidence in me.

I have a couple of doubts in this question if you can help.

- Can you please clear the air around the right idiomatic usage of research - how "research on" / "research into" etc. differ when used in right context.And how the usage of a preposition after research (when used as verb) jeopardizes the meaning.
- is the usage of 'there' correct in option A when it is used to refer back to a noun i.e. France.
- is there any sort of pronoun ambiguity in option D or E (that actually counts against this option) as suggested by many posts.
- is it correct to say that in option A pronoun 'he' can't refer to James Baldwin because the noun is in possessive form.

Thanks in advance !

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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 29 Mar 2017, 05:23
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can you please elaborate on why is research on , research about, research into wrong?

as research on also seems correct here as the books were written in past and the professor now is researching on those books not the books .. we generally research on a topic not research the topic.

please explain

Originally posted by smanujahrc on 29 Mar 2017, 04:59.
Last edited by smanujahrc on 29 Mar 2017, 05:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 11:33
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SR wrote

1. Is the usage of 'there' correct in option A when it is used to refer back to a noun i.e. France.


Yes, the usage is correct. According to the Free Dictionary, 'there' is a noun, an adverb, a pronoun, or an adjective. Therefore, please be confirmed that 'there' can well refer back to the place and noun 'France'.


Quote:
is it correct to say that in option A pronoun 'he' can't refer to James Baldwin because the noun is in possessive form
.

2. Yes. A is certainly wrong for using the possessive noun Baldwin's for the non-possessive pronoun 'he'.


Quote:
3. Can you please clear the air around the right idiomatic usage of research - how "research on" / "research into" etc. differ when used in right context. And how the usage of a preposition after research (when used as verb) jeopardizes the meaning


'Research' can be used both as a noun and as a verb. However when the term is used as a verb, say like in this case, it doesn't normally take a preposition such as on, into, or about etc. Even this is a gray area since dictionaries like the Free Dictionary have not raised any objection to sentence such as --
I decided that I would research into Queen Elizabeth.
We researched into the period in which she lived.
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/research


On the contrary, research freely takes a preposition when acting as a noun. Example --I did research on Dinosaurs in my Masters
Project SETI was asked to conduct research into UFOs.
Therefore A, B, C and can all be eliminated in a knock

Quote:
4. Is there any sort of pronoun ambiguity in option D or E (that actually counts against this option) as suggested by many posts.


In my firm opinion- no-. D is, of course, is dispensable on the verb research + preposition score like in A, B, and C. but not on pronoun ambiguity. The pronoun ambiguity referred here is whether the word 'he' stands for the professor or Baldwin. IMO, there is no ambiguity about 'he' referring to Baldwin. I do not also take the argument that he is ok with Baldwin because of proximity. Nay. Look at the verb tenses.
The professor has taken a sabbatical (a present perfect tense, while he lived in the past tense. While denotes simultaneity and hence the professor living in a present perfect could not have taken a leave in the past. It should be either he took a sabbatical when he lived or has taken a sabbatical when has lived or has been living. Tense grammar is clear about this aspect. He cannot logically refer to the professor and only can antecede Baldwin.

The takeaway; boldly click E

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 21:54
Shouldn't it be "the books that James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" rather than "the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" in choice D, because "wrote" comes out of nowhere.
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 03:26
Hi egmat sayantanc2k GMATNinja

Quote:
A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research the books (that) James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France.

(Blue = subjects, Green = verbs)

In the correct answer choice, that, the relative pronoun modifier that refers to the preceding noun entity the books is understood. It is so because that, the modifier, does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts. Let's take a few simple examples here to understand the usage:


How can THAT refer to PLURAL noun - books? THOSE is correct pronoun for plural nouns.
Does not THAT act as a connector to connect a dependent and an independent clause?

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research the books- independent clause

(that) James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France
.
- dependent clause


Also here, does not to + research acts as an object and not main verb?
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2018, 08:41
egmat wrote:
MadaraU wrote:
Shouldn't it be "the books that James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" rather than "the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" in choice D, because "wrote" comes out of nowhere.


Helllo MadaraU,

I will be glad to help you resolve the doubt. :-)

Following is the correct version of the sentence (with Choice E):

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research the books (that) James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France.

(Blue = subjects, Green = verbs)

In the correct answer choice, that, the relative pronoun modifier that refers to the preceding noun entity the books is understood. It is so because that, the modifier, does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts. Let's take a few simple examples here to understand the usage:

I like the pizza that contains only vegetables.

In the above-mentioned sentence, that refers to the preceding noun the pizza and acts as the subject of the dependent clause that it starts. Hence, it must be explicitly mentioned in the sentence.

Now look at the following sentence:

I like the pizza that my mother makes at home.

In the above-mentioned sentence, that refers to the preceding noun the pizza but does not act as the subject of the dependent clause that it starts. The subject of the dependent clause started by that is my mother. Hence, it it not necessary to mention that in the sentence. The sentence can be written as follows:

I like the pizza my mother makes at home.

Same is the case with the correct answer choice of this official sentence. Since that does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts, it has been kept understood in the sentence.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Dear Shraddha,

Thanks for your fantastic posts and explanations. However, I am still not satisfied with my understand of this question.

1. Option C.

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research into James Baldwin's book written while in France.

How does this choice suggest (although illogically) that the books were written while they (themselves) were in France?

In other words, is there any ambiguity about who wrote the books in option C and D?

2. Option D.

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on the books of James Baldwin, written while he lived in France.

written while he lived in France - past participial phrase that acts as a noun modifier - modifying "books of James Baldwin".

he = subject of verb "lived".

He refers back to the professor - also the subject of the main clause OR does it refer back to James Baldwin (unlikely since James Baldwin is the object of preposition "of")?

3. Option E.


A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research the book James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France.

IMO, the pronoun is not ambiguous here because:

1. James Baldwin is the subject of the verb wrote.

2. he is the subject of the verb lived.

Experts, kindly tell me whether my understanding is correct or not.

Best,

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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 23:33
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adkikani wrote:
How can THAT refer to PLURAL noun - books? THOSE is correct pronoun for plural nouns.

Hi adkikani, actually when that is used as a relative pronoun (as is the case in the sentence under consideration), that can refer to either singular or plural nouns. In fact, this is true for all relative pronouns.

On the other hand, when that is used as a demonstrative pronoun, that can only refer to singular nouns.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses the various "avatars" of that, its application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2018, 21:25
egmat wrote:
MadaraU wrote:
Shouldn't it be "the books that James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" rather than "the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France" in choice D, because "wrote" comes out of nowhere.


Helllo MadaraU,

I will be glad to help you resolve the doubt. :-)

Following is the correct version of the sentence (with Choice E):

A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research the books (that) James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France.

(Blue = subjects, Green = verbs)

In the correct answer choice, that, the relative pronoun modifier that refers to the preceding noun entity the books is understood. It is so because that, the modifier, does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts. Let's take a few simple examples here to understand the usage:

I like the pizza that contains only vegetables.

In the above-mentioned sentence, that refers to the preceding noun the pizza and acts as the subject of the dependent clause that it starts. Hence, it must be explicitly mentioned in the sentence.

Now look at the following sentence:

I like the pizza that my mother makes at home.

In the above-mentioned sentence, that refers to the preceding noun the pizza but does not act as the subject of the dependent clause that it starts. The subject of the dependent clause started by that is my mother. Hence, it it not necessary to mention that in the sentence. The sentence can be written as follows:

I like the pizza my mother makes at home.

Same is the case with the correct answer choice of this official sentence. Since that does not act as the subject of the dependent clause it starts, it has been kept understood in the sentence.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Dear Shraddha, daagh sir, and EducationAisle

Please help me with option (C).

1. A professor at the University has taken a sabbatical to research into James Baldwin's books written while in France.

Apart from the the preposition INTO after the verb RESEARCH,

Is the following also an error with (C)? - meaning ambiguity?

i. INTENDED meaning: A professor has taken a sabbatical to research the books written by James Baldwin while James Baldwin lived in France.

ii. Second meaning: A professor has taken a sabbatical to research the books written by James Baldwin while the professor lived in France.

Am I correct in my understanding?

Thanks in advance.

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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2018, 04:35
Hi can anyone help me clear this doubt. I thought that when using "while" the action must be in the continous form. In the correct answer "E", we have "While" written with simple past tense verb "lived". Shouldn't it be written as "while he was living"? or can we substitute "while" with "when"?
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New post 19 May 2018, 10:09
walker wrote:
A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there.

A) on James Baldwin's books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there
B) about the books James Baldwin wrote in France
C) into James Baldwin's books written while in France
D) on the books of James Baldwin, written while he lived in France
E) the books James Baldwin wrote while he lived in France


LOOK at choice d. it is wrong because it is unclear that who write the book. it is the books of james, not the book jane wrote.
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2018, 06:10
daagh wrote:
Quote:
SR wrote

1. Is the usage of 'there' correct in option A when it is used to refer back to a noun i.e. France.


Yes, the usage is correct. According to the Free Dictionary, 'there' is a noun, an adverb, a pronoun, or an adjective. Therefore, please be confirmed that 'there' can well refer back to the place and noun 'France'.


Quote:
is it correct to say that in option A pronoun 'he' can't refer to James Baldwin because the noun is in possessive form
.

2. Yes. A is certainly wrong for using the possessive noun Baldwin's for the non-possessive pronoun 'he'.


Quote:
3. Can you please clear the air around the right idiomatic usage of research - how "research on" / "research into" etc. differ when used in right context. And how the usage of a preposition after research (when used as verb) jeopardizes the meaning


'Research' can be used both as a noun and as a verb. However when the term is used as a verb, say like in this case, it doesn't normally take a preposition such as on, into, or about etc. Even this is a gray area since dictionaries like the Free Dictionary have not raised any objection to sentence such as --
I decided that I would research into Queen Elizabeth.
We researched into the period in which she lived.
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/research


On the contrary, research freely takes a preposition when acting as a noun. Example --I did research on Dinosaurs in my Masters
Project SETI was asked to conduct research into UFOs.
Therefore A, B, C and can all be eliminated in a knock

Quote:
4. Is there any sort of pronoun ambiguity in option D or E (that actually counts against this option) as suggested by many posts.


In my firm opinion- no-. D is, of course, is dispensable on the verb research + preposition score like in A, B, and C. but not on pronoun ambiguity. The pronoun ambiguity referred here is whether the word 'he' stands for the professor or Baldwin. IMO, there is no ambiguity about 'he' referring to Baldwin. I do not also take the argument that he is ok with Baldwin because of proximity. Nay. Look at the verb tenses.
The professor has taken a sabbatical (a present perfect tense, while he lived in the past tense. While denotes simultaneity and hence the professor living in a present perfect could not have taken a leave in the past. It should be either he took a sabbatical when he lived or has taken a sabbatical when has lived or has been living. Tense grammar is clear about this aspect. He cannot logically refer to the professor and only can antecede Baldwin.

The takeaway; boldly click E

sir Can you please clarify why A is wrong
according to pronoun rule :his/her can refer to apostrophes and he and she can only refer to noun
but in the above sentence when we use: that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there . why can't the he refer to the baldwin mentioned
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New post 09 Jun 2018, 09:04
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StrugglingGmat2910 wrote:
sir Can you please clarify why A is wrong
according to pronoun rule :his/her can refer to apostrophes and he and she can only refer to noun
but in the above sentence when we use: that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there . why can't the he refer to the baldwin mentioned


Hey StrugglingGmat2910 ,

Problem with A is that we have two nouns to which "he" can refer to.

It could be either the professor or Baldwin. Therefore, the meaning is ambiguous here. Who was living in france?

Does that make sense?
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New post 09 Jun 2018, 22:43
abhimahna wrote:
StrugglingGmat2910 wrote:
sir Can you please clarify why A is wrong
according to pronoun rule :his/her can refer to apostrophes and he and she can only refer to noun
but in the above sentence when we use: that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there . why can't the he refer to the baldwin mentioned


Hey StrugglingGmat2910 ,

Problem with A is that we have two nouns to which "he" can refer to.

It could be either the professor or Baldwin. Therefore, the meaning is ambiguous here. Who was living in france?

Does that make sense?

yes thanks for pointing out usage a he cause one more ambiguity
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New post 29 Jun 2018, 08:28
abhimahna

why can't he refer to professor in "E"?

abhimahna wrote:
StrugglingGmat2910 wrote:
sir Can you please clarify why A is wrong
according to pronoun rule :his/her can refer to apostrophes and he and she can only refer to noun
but in the above sentence when we use: that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there . why can't the he refer to the baldwin mentioned


Hey StrugglingGmat2910 ,

Problem with A is that we have two nouns to which "he" can refer to.

It could be either the professor or Baldwin. Therefore, the meaning is ambiguous here. Who was living in france?

Does that make sense?

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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2018, 08:55
gmatbusters wrote:
abhimahna

why can't he refer to professor in "E"?


Hey gmatbusters ,

The problem in E is same as we have in A.

We have two nouns to which "he" can refer to.

It could be either the professor or Baldwin. Therefore, the meaning is ambiguous here. Who was living in france?

Does that make sense?
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Re: A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on &nbs [#permalink] 29 Jun 2018, 08:55

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