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# A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a

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A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 22 Sep 2019, 07:51
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A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

SC43561.01

Originally posted by noboru on 17 Aug 2009, 09:38.
Last edited by Bunuel on 22 Sep 2019, 07:51, edited 4 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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21 Apr 2012, 18:35
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I choose D.

Its most clear and idiomatic.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole
after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass. - depending on who's mass?

(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will
compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. - grammatically right, but awkward.

(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it
compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. - star's mass will not pass through the giant stage

(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will
compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. - correct

(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine
whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black
hole. - star's mass will not pass through the giant stage
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2019, 07:57
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noboru wrote:
A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

SC43561.01

Official Explanation

Logical predication; Rhetorical construction

The sentence attempts to convey the idea that a star will compress itself into one of three forms after it passes through the red giant stage: a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. The sentence also indicates that which one of these three forms the star will compress itself into is determined by the star's mass. As worded, these ideas are not clearly and unambiguously conveyed. For example, it is not clear what the modifying phrase depending on mass is supposed to modify. Because of its placement, it appears to modify red giant stage; it should, however, modify star. Given this problem, the sentence fails to convey its intended meaning clearly.

A. As indicated above, this version fails to convey its intended meaning clearly.

B. The referent of the pronoun its is unclear. Given that red giant stage is the only noun before its, the sentence would seem to indicate that red giant stage is the referent, but the meaning would be correct only if its refers to star. Furthermore, the modifying statement depending on its mass appears to modify red giant stage rather than star.

C. The modifying phrase After passing through a red giant stage modifies a star's mass but it should describe the star itself. Given that the mass is not what passes through the red giant stage, this is incorrect.

D. Correct. In this version, it is clear that the sentence is saying that the star itself passes through the red giant stage and that the star will ultimately compress itself into one of the three listed options: white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole.

E. The pronoun it refers to the mass of a star, rather than a star, as intended. Likewise, the star itself passes through the red giant stage, not its mass.

##### General Discussion
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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21 Apr 2012, 22:28
5
Capricorn369 wrote:
My answer is B and I dont see any probelm in that option.
Can anyone explain?

After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will
compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

I think the "its" is ambiguous because it can refer to either the "red giant stage" or "a star"
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A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 03 Jan 2020, 06:08
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Top Contributor
Preamble:
1. The pronoun's first prerogative is to refer to the subject of the sentence, and if the subject does not suit, then it might antecede mostly a nearby noun that may be an object of the verb or object of the preposition. Perhaps even a third one might suit better than the subject or the object, in which case that will become the eligible referent. Logic and nothing but logic is the decider of the pronoun eligibility.
2. The adverbial modifiers modify the subject and the action of the previous clause and one must be adept at spotting the previous clause.

This is a crafty issue. Now let's move on to the question.

A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.-- The pronoun refers to the star and the adverbial modifier ",depending" modifies the previous clause namely' after it(the star) passes through a red giant stage. The slip here is to mistake the previous clause as ' a star will compress', which is the first clause or the main clause but not the previous clause.

(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. --- No issue about 'its'. However, when you have two back to back modifiers that both modify a common noun, both the modifiers will be required to be intercepted by a conjunction 'and'. Otherwise, there is the risk of the second modifier modifying the first as do nested modifiers do

(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. -- Instant misfit since the initial modifier illogically modifies the mass rather than the star.

(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. --- No issues with this choice.

(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. ---absolutely out because of the distortion that the mass passes through the red giant stage.

Vanam
As far as the referents for the pronoun 'it' in A and 'its' in B are concerned, I appreciate you are on the dot.
Can you please also see my comment on choice A especially with regard to the adverbial modifier? That is a sly pitfall.
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Originally posted by daagh on 15 Sep 2019, 09:43.
Last edited by daagh on 03 Jan 2020, 06:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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15 Sep 2019, 10:06
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Yes. 'Depending upon the mass' is central to the intended meaning. IMO, it is even more essential than the first modifier. Although it is small, the error is fatal. To be fair, just an insertion of 'and' between the two modifiers will render B adequate.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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19 Aug 2009, 04:37
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noboru wrote:
31. A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.
(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.
(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.
(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.
(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

Mass determines what will be the star but in B it is in ,...., construction so it can be threw out from the sentence implying it is not important then we left with D
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2016, 04:43
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Hi All,

Lets follow a 3 step approach to solve this question:

Meaning Analysis:

A star compresses into a white dwarf , a neutron star, or a black hole. What is the deciding factor ?

Depending on the mass of the star, the final form is determined.

Error Analysis:

1. " after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass" --> "ing" verbs modify depending on the placement of the verb. There is a very neat article posted by egmat which explains the concept thoroughly- usage-of-verb-ing-modifiers-135220.html

As mentioned in the article, if an "ing" modifier is preceded by a comma then it modifies the entire clause. Based on this concept we can infer ( reading the choice A) that the star passes through a red giant stage depending on the mass. This makes no sense.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass. --> Errors pointed out in the analysis
(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.--> Same modifier error. Read the error analysis
(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.--> This makes the reader believe that the star's mass passed through the red giant stage.
(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. --> This choice clearly mentions that the star passes through the red giant stage and this decision is determined by the mass of the star
(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.--> Same error as in choice C

Let me know if you found the explanation useful !

Regards,
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2019, 17:59
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ballest127 wrote:
Hi Experts,

I have a question on D.

I understand that "comma + Ving" would modify the preceding clause and must make sense with the subject, as well as the correct intended meaning of the action.

Buy why , in D ," after passing ...." can modify the preceding noun "a star"?

Really appreciate.

Good question here - two things stand out to me:

1) The "comma + ing" structure modifying the previous clause is for when that comma+ing follows a complete thought. Here "mass determines whether a star" isn't a complete thought, so the modifier doesn't fit that "modifies the previous clause" mold - there isn't one full independent clause for it to modify. It comes between a new subject ("a star") and its verb ("will compress").

2) The word "after" breaks that structure, too, signaling that it isn't an exact application of that "comma + ing attached to the end of a clause" rule.

#1 is the big one to me - the modifier splits a subject from its verb, so it just doesn't fit the mold of when comma+ing modifies the entire clause.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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05 Jun 2018, 09:33
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puneetstud wrote:
can someone please shed some light on A also? I am looking for correct reasoning by which I could eliminate it.

A has a big ambiguity issue as pronoun "it" may refer to any of the nouns before.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2019, 12:04
1
Right. To pile on a little bit, as I learned it and as I teach it, the rule is as follows:

"A participle phrase generally modifies whatever it is right next to in the sentence. However, the key exception is that
1. a participle phrase
2. at the end of a sentence (or independent clause, if we're being technical)
3. set off by a comma
correctly modifies a nonadjacent word earlier in the sentence – usually the subject – as long as it’s clear."

Since this participle phrase does not run to the end of the sentence (it ends at the comma after "stage"), the exception does not apply, and in fact it not only may but must modify what it's right next to -- the star.

VeritasPrepBrian wrote:
ballest127 wrote:
Hi Experts,

I have a question on D.

I understand that "comma + Ving" would modify the preceding clause and must make sense with the subject, as well as the correct intended meaning of the action.

Buy why , in D ," after passing ...." can modify the preceding noun "a star"?

Really appreciate.

Good question here - two things stand out to me:

1) The "comma + ing" structure modifying the previous clause is for when that comma+ing follows a complete thought. Here "mass determines whether a star" isn't a complete thought, so the modifier doesn't fit that "modifies the previous clause" mold - there isn't one full independent clause for it to modify. It comes between a new subject ("a star") and its verb ("will compress").

2) The word "after" breaks that structure, too, signaling that it isn't an exact application of that "comma + ing attached to the end of a clause" rule.

#1 is the big one to me - the modifier splits a subject from its verb, so it just doesn't fit the mold of when comma+ing modifies the entire clause.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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17 Jan 2020, 04:59
1
Dear Friends,

Here is a detailed explanation to this question-

noboru wrote:
A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

Choice A: In Option A, we see a case of distorted meaning, arising from the incorrect placement of a modifier; as the modifying phrase "depending on mass" follows the noun "red giant stage", it appears to modify the "red giant stage" rather than modifying "the star". Thus, the sentence conveys that the star's post-compression form is dependent on its mass during the red star stage, rather than its original mass as a star. Therefore, Option A is incorrect.

Choice B: In Option B, the phrase “depending on its mass” is found between two commas; this placement is a major error, as this phrase conveys information critical to the meaning of the sentence. And only extraneous information can be placed between two commas. Thus, Option B is incorrect.

Choice C: In Option C, the modifying phrase "After passing through a red giant stage" incorrectly modifies the noun "a star's mass". As per the intended meaning of the sentence, the star is supposed to pass through a red giant stage. However, as per this construction “a star’s mass” will pass through the red giant stage. Thus, Option C alters the meaning of the sentence; therefore, it is incorrect.

Choice D: In Option D, the phrase "after passing through the red giant stage" correctly modifies the noun "star". Moreover, this option correctly conveys the meaning of the sentence, after passing through a red giant stage, a star will compress itself a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole, and which of these three it shall become depends on the star's mass.

Choice E: Option E repeats the same error as Option C.; the phrase "after passing through the red giant stage" modifies "The mass of the star". Thus, Option E is incorrect.

Hence, D is the best answer choice.

To understand the concept of “Avoiding Pronoun Ambiguity on GMAT”, you may want to watch the following video (~1 minute):

To understand the concept of “Extra Information between Two Commas on GMAT”, you may want to watch the following video (~1 minute):

All the best!
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 09:59
IMO D uses 'mass' as the subject

The pronoun "its" has no clear referrent in B
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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29 Jul 2010, 21:53
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Though D is passive i go with D. The emphasis is on mass in D which I think is correct!
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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21 Apr 2012, 19:29
My answer is B and I dont see any probelm in that option.
Can anyone explain?
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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05 Jun 2018, 08:15
can someone please shed some light on A also? I am looking for correct reasoning by which I could eliminate it.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 03 Apr 2019, 05:17
noboru wrote:
A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(A) A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole after it passes through a red giant stage, depending on mass.

(B) After passing through a red giant stage, depending on its mass, a star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(C) After passing through a red giant stage, a star’s mass will determine if it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(D) Mass determines whether a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

(E) The mass of a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will determine whether it compresses itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

D is clear without any ambiguity.
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Originally posted by AkshdeepS on 05 Jun 2018, 09:31.
Last edited by AkshdeepS on 03 Apr 2019, 05:17, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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19 Dec 2018, 03:48
(A) Modifier errors
(B) Modifier error
(C) This makes the reader believe that the star's mass passed through the red giant stage.
(D) This choice clearly mentions that the star passes through the red giant stage and this decision is determined by the mass of the star. This choice is correct.
(E) This makes the reader believe that the star's mass passed through the red giant stage. Same error as in choice C.Hence (d).
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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22 Dec 2018, 19:07
Quote:
Answer Choice (D) Mass determines WHETHER a star, after passing through the red giant stage, will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

My understanding was that "whether" is reserved for scenarios where there were only 2 potential outcomes (ie: going to the party or not going). In this case, there are 3 potential outcomes (compressing itself into a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole). Is there an exception to this rule?
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a  [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2019, 00:59
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Re: A star will compress itself into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a   [#permalink] 03 Apr 2019, 00:59

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