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# According to scientists at the University of California, the

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 08:09
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who

(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had

(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had

(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who

(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

OA is D..... If OA is D, I think the sentence must be " the pattern of changes that has ocurred ....." indicates that .....

If the non underlined portion reads "the pattern of changes that have occurred... may indicate that" ...because have & indicate are plural.

If subject is pattern and if its singular, has is correct. OA is D
If subject is changes and if its plural, have is correct. OA is C

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 08:22
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Interesting one.

The key thing here is working out what agrees with what.

The main 'subject' of the sentence is 'the pattern' this is singular, so should agree with the main verb 'indicates'

So in D this is correct.

What makes the question difficult is that the 'pattern' (singular) is described as 'changes that have.....' Which is plural. This is what is confusing.

So D is correct as it stands.

Does that help?
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 08:31
plumber250 wrote:

Interesting one.

The key thing here is working out what agrees with what.

The main 'subject' of the sentence is 'the pattern' this is singular, so should agree with the main verb 'indicates'

So in D this is correct.

What makes the question difficult is that the 'pattern' (singular) is described as 'changes that have.....' Which is plural. This is what is confusing.

So D is correct as it stands.

Does that help?

That really helps. After your explanation,the sentence makes sense. Is there any simplistic approach that I can use to tackle these kind of subtle differences?
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 08:40
I think the confusion about have or has is not required in this context because, have is the correct verb, since it is not underlined. (that is why we require to underline the relevant portion so that it always stands before our eyes.). The object of the preposition changes is the subject of that verb. The logical sequence therefore is to identify the main clause and its partner verb. This will lead us to identity 'pattern' as the subject of the main clause , which is singular and thereby the singular verb indicates The verb is rather a little away after the subordinate clause. So D is undisputable choice .
C also has problem in the use of past perfect as the past perfect is simply dangling without the accompaniment of a simple past to logically pinpoint the timeline
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 08:44
Happy to help,

The key thing I always do with any sentence is to establish what the 'main' part of it is . This should always have a subject (noun) and verb identifying those in pretty much every gmat sentence is a god place to start....
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 12:13
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who

(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had

(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had

(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who

(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

OA is D..... If OA is D, I think the sentence must be " the pattern of changes that has ocurred ....." indicates that .....

If the non underlined portion reads "the pattern of changes that have occurred... may indicate that" ...because have & indicate are plural.

If subject is pattern and if its singular, has is correct. OA is D
If subject is changes and if its plural, have is correct. OA is C

IMO OA should be E.
May is mainly used for permissions. However, might is used for possibility.

Subject is pattern which is singluar & a noun which is acting as an adjective to describe changes. In such scenarios (where noun acts as an adjective) the noun is always singular

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 13:00
Quote:
If subject is pattern and if its singular, has is correct. OA is D

the subject is definitely "pattern"
and "pattern" is singular

the answer sud be D ----> descendant of is correct usage

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 22:43
If subject is pattern and if its singular, has is correct. OA is D
If subject is changes and if its plural, have is correct. OA is C

In this question, the author uses Prepositional phrases to hide the real subject. A prepositional phrase is a group of words headed by a Preposition, e.g. for/in/to/on/from.....

Let examine the question.

"the pattern of changes that.......".
"changes that....." is prepositional phrase, not the subject.
The pattern is real subject, hence, must go with "indicates that".

"that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia" modifies changes, NOT the pattern. Because "changes" is plural, hence, it must go with "have".

I hope it helps you.
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 22:49
plumber250 wrote:

Interesting one.

The key thing here is working out what agrees with what.

The main 'subject' of the sentence is 'the pattern' this is singular, so should agree with the main verb 'indicates'

So in D this is correct.

What makes the question difficult is that the 'pattern' (singular) is described as 'changes that have.....' Which is plural. This is what is confusing.

So D is correct as it stands.

Does that help?

Why not E. Can you explain?

In my opinion might looks more appropriate here.

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2013, 23:30
Hi, This is a 'might vs may' point.

For a general explanation, try here http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/may-or-might

I always try to remember that 'might' is the past tense of 'may'. In this situation we're talking about people alive now, so the present tense 'may' is correct.

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2013, 08:25
rgtiwari wrote:
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who
(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had
(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had
(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who
(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

I am stuck between D and E , i.e, between May and Might ...Please explain!!

Can someone please explain why C is wrong?

Thanks

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2013, 09:20

Eliminate A and B due to subject-verb agreement --> "The pattern of changes" --> requires plural "indicates"

Answer C changes the meaning of the sentence.

Between D and E --> idioms: descendant of vs. descended from, thus D is correct

olgakogan wrote:
rgtiwari wrote:
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who
(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had
(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had
(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who
(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

I am stuck between D and E , i.e, between May and Might ...Please explain!!

Can someone please explain why C is wrong?

Thanks

Answer C changes the meaning of the original sentence.

The original sentence is saying that the pattern of changes DEFINITELY indicates a possibility that needs confirmation.
Answer choice C is saying that the pattern of changes MAY indicate a possibility that needs confirmation.

Thus, the two sentences differ in meaning.

saikarthikreddy wrote:
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

hi everybody dont you think that the pattern of changes that have occurred is wrong . Since the pattern of changes is singular ,it must be has occured right ?

No, it's a subordinate clause - just not contained within two commas.

You can rewrite the sentence as: "The pattern of changes, which have occurred in human DNA over the millennia, indicates the possibility..."

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2014, 13:26
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According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2014, 02:45
GMAT TIGER wrote:
tejal777 wrote:
６． According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who
(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had
(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had
(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who
(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

OA:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

First of,S-V agreement.
S-pattern>singular,therefore indicateS should be used.
A,B,C>eliminate.
D,E remains.

Queries:
1. descendent of/from.Are'nt both correct?
2.may/might.For a future event which defines certanity?May?
3.Subject of the sentence is pattern.Agreed.Can someone explain WHY?While identifying a subject we ask the question "Who did the action"..Is'nt the answer "scientists"??

Subject, "the pattren", is singular that requires a singualr verb and that eliminates ABC.

Between D and E, they have 2 major difference:-

1. "may be" and "might be": Every one alive today - so needs "may". "Might" may also indicate past possibility but "may" only does so for present and future possibilities.

2. "descendant of" and "descendant from" - thats entirely about the correct idiom. "descendant of" is better than "decendent from".

But the verb "may/might" is the main reason that eliminates E and keeps D.

I dont think that in C "may" is the problem. singular things can have may also. "I may go to the party" "They may come to the party."

Usage of may/might is interchangable.

Coming back to the question. C is wrong because of the "who had". There is no series of events one after the other. "who had.." just modifies the woman and is not related to anything else written earlier in the sentence.

And C is also wrong because of the wrong placement of "may", which changes the original intent.

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2014, 02:29
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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16 May 2015, 05:52
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2015, 12:24
(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who
possibility.. might - REDUNDANCY
(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had
same as option A
(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had
'may' - misplaced
(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who
correct
(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who
'descendant from' - Unidiomatic. 'descendant of' is the right idiom.
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2016, 23:41
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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22 Jan 2016, 12:58
The two forms are actually quite different. When used as a verb or a past participle, we use "descended from":

Humans are believed to have descended from apes. (verb)
Humans are animals descended from apes. (past participle)

When using the noun "descendant," we use the preposition "of."

We are all descendants of our African ancestors.

Notice than in the second problem, "descended of" is not featured in any of the answer choices.
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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2016, 08:22
A-C may be eliminated quickly because "pattern" is singular, thus the verb "indicates" must be singular".
"May be a descendent of" is idiomatically correct, whereas "might be a descendant from" is not. "Descended from", in the past tense, is idiomatically correct.
Thus D

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Re: According to scientists at the University of California, the   [#permalink] 23 Jan 2016, 08:22

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