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A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a

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A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 11 Oct 2018, 05:32
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A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a combination of conservative and liberal political views; i.e., they denounce big government, saying government is doing too much and has become too powerful, while at the same time supporting many specific government programs for health care, education, and the environment.


(A) they denounce the big government, saying government is doing too much and has become too powerful, while at the same time supporting

(B) they denounce big government- they say that government is doing too much and has become too powerful-but supporting at the same time

(C) they denounce big government, say that government is doing too much and it has become too powerful, while they support at the same time

(D) while they denounce big government, saying that government is doing too much and has become too powerful, at the same time supporting

(E) while they are denouncing big government- they say that government is doing too much and it has become too powerful-supporting at the same time

Originally posted by Pauline on 06 Aug 2005, 04:40.
Last edited by Bunuel on 11 Oct 2018, 05:32, edited 5 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2019, 17:17
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ballest127 wrote:

Thank you for your kind explanation.
I always love your explanation on Verbal question.

However, I have some doubt on A.

Can we use the phrase "while at the same" , because "while" itself implies "simultaneous action"?
In this case, is it not a redundancy issue ?

Please explain.

Thank you.

Interesting question!

Most importantly, if you thought that "while... at the same time" was a concrete error, you'd have to eliminate every option aside from (B), as the other answer choices all have some version of that construction.

Take a look at (B) again:

Quote:
they denounce big government- they say that government is doing too much and has become too powerful-but supporting at the same time

"But" is a parallel marker and should connect like forms. But there's nothing here that can be parallel to "supporting." It makes no sense to write that the government is doing too much... but supporting government programs. And "denounce," a verb, can't be parallel to "supporting," a modifier.

Because we've got a concrete error in (B), it means we're stuck with an answer that has a version of "while... at the same time," and we need to move on to other decision points.

Takeaway: if you think you've found a concrete error, but every viable answer choice contains this error, you were mistaken! Don't waste time fighting with the question-writer in your head. Look for other issues to evaluate instead.

I hope that helps!
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Re: A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2019, 21:44
Hi GMATNinja,

Thank you for your explanation.

I understand your point.

However, in GMAT world, I though that "redundancy" is the absolute rule.
There are many questions tested on the issue, and we can safely mark incorrect the choice that contains that issue.

For example, the below link features "redundancy issue"
https://gmatclub.com/forum/each-year-co ... 35963.html

That is why I rule out the choices containing " while... at the same time" and choose B.

In this case, I'm not sure that can we implying that "redundancy" here is "less wrong" than the issue in B?

Please help.

Thank you very much.
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Re: A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2019, 19:35
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ballest127 wrote:
Hi GMATNinja,

Thank you for your explanation.

I understand your point.

However, in GMAT world, I though that "redundancy" is the absolute rule.
There are many questions tested on the issue, and we can safely mark incorrect the choice that contains that issue.

For example, the below link features "redundancy issue"
https://gmatclub.com/forum/each-year-co ... 35963.html

That is why I rule out the choices containing " while... at the same time" and choose B.

In this case, I'm not sure that can we implying that "redundancy" here is "less wrong" than the issue in B?

Please help.

Thank you very much.

Great question! It really gets to the heart of why SC is so difficult - it can be very confusing to differentiate between a convention and a rule. Almost every prep company has at some point published a line about some construction being inherently wrong, only to see that construction show up in a correct OA.

It's useful to remember that the point of grammar isn't to torture students by having them internalize a bunch of arbitrary rules; it's to help make writing as clear and logical as possible. Even ironclad rules like subject-verb agreement serve this purpose. If you see a plural subject and a singular verb, you'll get confused! The rule is there to help the reader. So we want to rely on meaning and clarity, rather than internalizing lists of what is and isn't allowed.

Referring to the question you linked to, "each year... annually" isn't just "redundant" -- it doesn't make any sense! The word "annually" means "once a year" or "every year". But by saying "each year", we are talking about one single year at a time. Within a SINGLE year, you can't have something happening ANNUALLY. A redundancy can arguably be forgiven. An illogical meaning can't be.

Back to our example! First, let's re-examine that parallelism issue in (B):

    "they say that government is doing too much and has become too powerful-but supporting at the same time many specific government programs..."

The conjunction "but" is signaling to the reader that two elements are linked. But the linked elements make it sound as though the government is doing too much and the government is supporting government programs. That doesn't make any sense! It's far more logical to write that people in the U.S sometimes denounce big government and sometimes support government programs.

Put another way: the faulty parallelism isn't wrong because of an arbitrary rule, but because it creates an incoherent sentence. This kind of error is indisputable.

Contrast that with the usage of "while... at the same time." First, it's true that "while" can mean "simultaneously," but it can also serve the same function as "although." For example:

    "While Tim doesn't like children, he adores his nine daughters."

Here, "while" seems to mean "although," so a reader is going to have to use context to determine which interpretation is appropriate.

Seen in this light, "while...at the same time" isn't redundant at all - it actually helps clarify the meaning of "while." This is what good writing does! At the very least, it can't be said to be wrong in the same way (B), with its incoherent meaning, is.

The takeaway: always prioritize concrete, irrefutable errors first. If a meaning is incoherent, it's wrong. If subject and verb don't agree, it's wrong. But if you're not sure about an issue, default to thinking about your options in terms of logic and clarity.

Last, thank you for asking a tough question! There's an awful lot of nuance in sentence correction, and these types of questions help to clarify complex issues for other forum members and push us to be better teachers.

I hope that helps!
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RC, CR, and other articles & resources: All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99 | Time management on verbal

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Re: A recent poll indicates that many people in the United States hold a   [#permalink] 10 Dec 2019, 19:35

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