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# A recent study of epidemiological data from the past several

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A recent study of epidemiological data from the past several [#permalink]

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19 Sep 2009, 09:17
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A recent study of epidemiological data from the past several hundred years has provided new evidence undermining the theory of a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations that contributed to the deaths millions of people around the world during the middle ages.

(A)undermining the theory of a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations that
(B)undermining the theory that a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations
(C)to undermine the theory that a plague was caused by a rapid increase in pest populations and that
(D)to undermine the theory of a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations that
(E)that undermines the theory of a plague that was caused by a rapid increase in pest populations and that

OA
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19 Sep 2009, 11:26
I hope it is E. I would like to know the source and the OA.
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19 Sep 2009, 18:08
this one is confusing me, am just missing something here, waiting eagerly to have a good discussion over it.
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19 Sep 2009, 21:56
I'll post the OA but first can you please tell me the reason for choosing B or E?
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20 Sep 2009, 00:05
A recent study of epidemiological data from the past several hundred years has provided new evidence undermining the theory of a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations that contributed to the deaths millions of people around the world during the middle ages.

(A)undermining the theory of a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations that
THEORY OF A PLAGUE is incorrect structure
(B)undermining the theory that a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations
THEORY THAT "a plague caused by x contributed to y" CORRECT FORM AND STRUCTURE
(C)to undermine the theory that a plague was caused by a rapid increase in pest populations and that
"AND THAT" introduces another theory which cannot be supported by "THE THEORY"
(D)to undermine the theory of a plague caused by a rapid increase in pest populations that
EVIDENCE TO cannot be used since there is no CAUSE-EFFECT case here.
THEORY OF is incorrect in this context
(E)that undermines the theory of a plague that was caused by a rapid increase in pest populations and that
EVIDENCE THAT UNDERMINES uses evidence as a restrictive clause i.e. there are many other
evidences but as if we are talking about THE evidence that "undermines the theory..."
NONRESTRICTIVE CLAUSE "which" or participle clause UNDERMINING should be used here
THEORY OF should be THEORY THAT ....
"AND THAT" should be "AND WHICH" or
Let me know if you have gfurther questions
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22 Sep 2009, 15:25
1. (A)(B)…new evidence undermining the theory…
(C)(D)…new evidence to undermine the theory…
(E) …new evidence that undermines the theory…
In all cases, the noun new evidence is modified by the following phrase. Arguably, “to undermine” implies intent in a way that “undermining” and “that undermines” don’t, but maybe that’s the intended meaning. I would keep all of these as possibilities.

2. (A)(D)(E) … theory of a plague …
(B)(C) … theory that a plague …
“of” seems unidiomatic to me. You might have a theory about something, or a theory that something is true, but only the “theory of relativity” or the “theory of evolution” come to mind as good theory of something examples. The indefinite article in “a plague” makes it much less iconic than relativity or evolution as something you might have a “theory of.” Even as a native speaker of English, I wouldn’t rule out ADE based on this one, though.

3. (A)(D) …theory of a plague caused by (something) that contributed to the deaths…
(B) …theory that a plague caused by (something) contributed to the deaths…
(C) …theory that a plague was caused by (something) and that contributed…
(E) …theory of a plague that was caused by (something) and that
NOTE: In all choices, (something) = a rapid increase in pest populations

#3 is really several splits, but I think you have to consider them together. Both “of” and “that” following nouns indicate modifying phrases. In the choices that have “and,” we need to look for parallelism. Finally, “caused by” after plague is a modifier (i.e. it answers the question “which plague?”) whereas “was caused” after plague is a verb. What do you all think about these issues?
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22 Sep 2009, 16:57
Thanks for replying Emily, thanks for the split up analysis,
first of all a question in #1 i understood with C, D and E the noun "new evidence" is modified by the respective phrases, where as in A- "undermining" being an -ing participle modifies the subject of the preceding clause, in that case does it modifies "recent study"? i thought "recent study" to be the noun of the previous clause, where am i going wrong? i think a comma before the -ing participle makes a difference, is that applicable here, please clear this is..

As #3 has more splits,i think "caused by" is preferred since we need "which plague" caused it. so B wins?, and it also has "theory that..." as you said "theory of.." seems unidiomatic. am i missing something?
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05 Oct 2009, 15:07
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crejoc wrote:
Thanks for replying Emily, thanks for the split up analysis,
first of all a question in #1 i understood with C, D and E the noun "new evidence" is modified by the respective phrases, where as in A- "undermining" being an -ing participle modifies the subject of the preceding clause, in that case does it modifies "recent study"? i thought "recent study" to be the noun of the previous clause, where am i going wrong? i think a comma before the -ing participle makes a difference, is that applicable here, please clear this is..

As #3 has more splits,i think "caused by" is preferred since we need "which plague" caused it. so B wins?, and it also has "theory that..." as you said "theory of.." seems unidiomatic. am i missing something?

Ah, you are definitely thinking of the rule for when -ing follows a comma. In that case, the present participle modifies the preceding clause, or can be considered to modify the subject of that preceding clause.

However, when an -ing word follows a noun directly, with no comma, it acts as a noun modifier and follows the rule that noun modifiers touch the modified noun. Thus, "undermining" in A and B modifies "evidence."

In my view, B is correct. Ultimately parallelism and modifier placement decided it for me, especially the choice between B and C.

(B) …theory that a plague caused by (something) contributed to the deaths…

(C) …theory that a plague was caused by (something) and that contributed…: Parallelism between "that a plague was caused by..." and "that contributed to the deaths" indicates that both relative clauses modify "theory." But the theory itself did not contribute to the deaths of millions!

NOTE: In all choices, (something) = a rapid increase in pest populations
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07 Oct 2009, 23:08
The OA (that is available to me) is B
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13 Nov 2009, 21:19
B

Theory that ... is better than theory of ...

theory ... contributed to ... constitutes illogical meaning
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14 Nov 2009, 01:00
Re: epidemiological data   [#permalink] 14 Nov 2009, 01:00
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