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# Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa

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EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Joined: 23 Feb 2015
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 20 Mar 2019, 08:51
2
Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a GMAT question that focuses on idiomatic structure and parallelism! Let's take a closer look at the original question and highlight the major differences between options in orange:

Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, the combination of a reliable supply of water and good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in at least 6,000 years.

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in
(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for
(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for
(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured
(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for

After a quick glance over the options, there are 3 main things we can focus on:

1. good / of good (parallelism/idioms)
2. both encouraged / encouraged / have encouraged (verb tense/idioms)
3. endure in / endured for / endured / enduring for (idioms)

Since #1 on our list will eliminate 2-3 options right away, let's start there. When we look at the sentence as a whole, we see that we're talking about a combination of 2 items here: a reliable supply of water and good growing conditions. The proper idiomatic structure for this would be the following:

a combination of X and Y

Let's see which options do this correctly, and rule out the ones that don't:

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in --> a combination of X and Y both = WRONG
(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for --> a combination of X and Y = GOOD
(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for --> a combination of X and of Y = WRONG
(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured --> a combination of X and of Y both = WRONG
(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for --> a combination of X and of Y = WRONG

There you go! Option B is the correct choice because it's the only one that uses the proper idiomatic format for "a combination of X and Y!"

**********

Wonder what would've happened if we focused on another part of the list instead? Let's see what would happen if we focused on #3 on our list: endure in / endured for / endured / enduring for:

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in

This is INCORRECT. It's not idiomatically correct to say something "endures in" a certain number of years. We say that things "endure for" a certain number of years!

(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for

This is still CORRECT because it's proper to say something "endured for" a number of years. Also, by using past perfect tense (have endured), it's clear that these farming traditions started 6,000 years ago, and they're still being used today.

(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for

This is INCORRECT because it uses plain past tense, which means the farming traditions started in the past and ended in the past. The intended meaning of the original sentence was to say that these traditions started in the past and are still going on today.

(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured

This is INCORRECT because it doesn't make sense to say that farming traditions "endured 6,000 years." It's not idiomatically correct - we say that things "endured for" an amount of time.

(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for

While this is OKAY, based on the idiomatic "enduring for" and the use of present perfect continuous tense, we would eventually have to rule it out as INCORRECT because it doesn't use the idiomatic "combination of X and Y" structure correctly.

In the end, option B is still the correct choice!

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Originally posted by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 25 Oct 2018, 14:02.
Last edited by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 20 Mar 2019, 08:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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19 Feb 2019, 20:40
[quote="betterscore"]Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, the combination of a reliable supply of water and good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in at least 6,000 years.

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in

(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for

(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for

(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured

(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for

look at choice A
simple present is used to say about condition which exist now and we think , will exist indefinitely.

"in" in "endure in" is used to say a a lensth of time. I studied in 3 hours. this lengh of time is definite.
simple present talk about indefinte existence of an action, it can not go with "in" time indicator. we can not show an indefinite existence with a definite length of time. choice A is wrong

in choice B, "for" show a time which continue untile present and can go with present perfect, which show a condition exist until now.

simple present, present perfect and simple past normally can go with specific time indicators. these time indicators help us confirm the correct usage of tenses, making it more easy for us to use tenses.
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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22 Apr 2019, 04:59
The verb tense - present continuous - can also be correct in this context?
Have been enduring for atleast 6000 years.

GMATNinja wrote:
Shiv2016 wrote:
Hello GMATNinja, Mikemcgarry, and other experts

The sentence just says that 'at least 6,000 years'. How do we know just from this phrase that it still continues?

If the sentence was:
..............and good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for 6,000 years.

Will the use of simple past be correct here?

Thanks

Yeah, I think that there's a grey area here when it comes to the verb tense. I'm not sure that it would be wrong, exactly, to use simple past tense. But if you do, it would imply that the farming traditions no longer endure. That could be true, I guess, but it seems reasonable to think that the conditions that led to those farming traditions -- a reliable supply of water and good growing conditions -- haven't changed. At the very least, nothing in the sentence suggests that they've changed.

So present perfect ("have endured") seems a little bit more reasonable -- but to be fair, the question leaves room for debate on this.

But even if you ignore the verb tense issue, there are good reasons to eliminate all four wrong answers. Check out ChrisLele's explanation above for more.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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22 Apr 2019, 06:21
prekshita wrote:
The verb tense - present continuous - can also be correct in this context?
Have been enduring for atleast 6000 years.

Hi prekshita, "have been enduring" is actually present perfect continuous tense. I also feel that would also be correct. Let's see what others have to say.
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2019, 23:15
1
PavaniRaghunath wrote:
prekshita wrote:
The verb tense - present continuous - can also be correct in this context?
Have been enduring for atleast 6000 years.

Hi prekshita, "have been enduring" is actually present perfect continuous tense. I also feel that would also be correct. Let's see what others have to say.

PavaniRaghunath is correct that this is present perfect continuous tense, for anybody who likes grammar terminology.

For anybody who doesn't: continuous tenses (the "-ing" form of verbs) exist to emphasize that an action is ongoing or continuous in some way. In this particular case, it's hard to imagine why we would actually want to use that tense, though. "Growing conditions have endured for at least 6000 years" expresses the exact same idea as "growing conditions have been enduring for at least 6000 years", but the first version does so much more succinctly.

It's not WRONG, exactly, to use the continuous tense here, but there's also no good reason whatsoever to do it.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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26 Jun 2019, 23:38
Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, the combination of a reliable supply of water and good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in at least 6,000 years.

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in: using of BOTH is wrong

(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for: Correct

(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for: Wrong as of good

(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured:Wrong as of good and both

(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for:Wrong as of good

Thanks,
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2019, 08:42
betterscore wrote:
Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, the combination of a reliable supply of water and good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in at least 6,000 years.

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in

(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for

(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for

(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured

(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for

Attachment:
01.jpg

Attachment:
02.jpg

Attachment:
03.jpg

Attachment:
04.jpg

(A) good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endure in - Wrong: 1) Redundancy 2) Verb

(B) good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for - Correct

(C) of good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for - Wrong: 1) Idiom 2) Verb 3) SV

(D) of good growing conditions both encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured - Wrong: 1) Idiom 2) Redundancy

(E) of good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, been enduring for - Wrong: 1) Verb 2) Idiom
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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18 Feb 2020, 02:35
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
ydanyang wrote:
I don't have any problem of choosing the correct answer. What confuses me is the that following traditions. It seems that the sentence perfectly works without a that. So why you put a that here in every selections?

... the combination of (a reliable supply of water) and (good growing conditions) encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for at least 6,000 years.

we can split this sentence into two parts:
If we remove that, we get-

the combination of X and Y encouraged farming traditions have endured for at least...

the combination- encouraged- traditions- have endured

Subject- verb- object/ subject- verb

Combination- subject case (subject of the verb encouraged)
however
farming tradition (FT) is in subject and object case both
object of the verb - encouraged
subject of the verb- have endured

Combination encouraged FT have endured ... This construction is flawed.

Hence "that" is required.

Combination encouraged FT that have endured...

Combination encouraged FT
(FT) that have endured... "that" is the subject of the verb "have endured"

we can also split the sentence and see this-

1) the combination of X and Y encouraged farming traditions.
2) these traditions have endured for at least 6000 years

"That" is used to connect these two sentences. We can not do without a connector here.

Let's take another example:

I have bought a new phone. Phonehas awesome features.
I have bought a new phonethat has awesome features.

Hope this helps!
Dolly Sharma
Verbal Trainer
CrackVerbal

Hi the rule is:

"Either on X or on Y ( use of the preposition on the right hand side of both either and or)
On either X or Y (use of the preposition prior to either and or)"

with the same logic why should of not come before supply of water and good growing? I understand how meaning wise it would be wrong, so would this hence be an exception to the rule??

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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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18 Feb 2020, 10:44
1
1
Kritisood wrote:
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
ydanyang wrote:
I don't have any problem of choosing the correct answer. What confuses me is the that following traditions. It seems that the sentence perfectly works without a that. So why you put a that here in every selections?

... the combination of (a reliable supply of water) and (good growing conditions) encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for at least 6,000 years.

we can split this sentence into two parts:
If we remove that, we get-

the combination of X and Y encouraged farming traditions have endured for at least...

the combination- encouraged- traditions- have endured

Subject- verb- object/ subject- verb

Combination- subject case (subject of the verb encouraged)
however
farming tradition (FT) is in subject and object case both
object of the verb - encouraged
subject of the verb- have endured

Combination encouraged FT have endured ... This construction is flawed.

Hence "that" is required.

Combination encouraged FT that have endured...

Combination encouraged FT
(FT) that have endured... "that" is the subject of the verb "have endured"

we can also split the sentence and see this-

1) the combination of X and Y encouraged farming traditions.
2) these traditions have endured for at least 6000 years

"That" is used to connect these two sentences. We can not do without a connector here.

Let's take another example:

I have bought a new phone. Phonehas awesome features.
I have bought a new phonethat has awesome features.

Hope this helps!
Dolly Sharma
Verbal Trainer
CrackVerbal

Hi the rule is:

"Either on X or on Y ( use of the preposition on the right hand side of both either and or)
On either X or Y (use of the preposition prior to either and or)"

with the same logic why should of not come before supply of water and good growing? I understand how meaning wise it would be wrong, so would this hence be an exception to the rule??

EMPOWERgmatVerbal GMATNinja

Great question, Kritisood!

The phrase "a combination of" is standing in for the word "both" in this idiom. The word "of" doesn't repeat because it's not actually part of the X in the idiom. You would still use the same idiom structure as "both X and Y" where X and Y need to be parallel. In this case, the only sentence that does this correctly is option B.

I hope that helps! Feel free to tag us at EMPOWERgmatVerbal if you have any other questions!
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2020, 02:02
The combination of X and Y -- here combination is singular subject or plural subject? We can interpret it in this way also -- The combination of X and the combination of Y.
Again combination cannot happen of a single thing. The combination of X -- seems nonsense.

Please explain.
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2020, 03:00
1
ArupSR wrote:
The combination of X and Y -- here combination is singular subject or plural subject? We can interpret it in this way also -- The combination of X and the combination of Y.
Again combination cannot happen of a single thing. The combination of X -- seems nonsense.

Please explain.

Hey there
Thank you for posting the question ? Let me try and help you out!
The Important thing first. Let’s start by looking at the intended logical meaning.

The sentence talks about the farming traditions that had suffered a lot for at least 6000 years. Since the major rivers are flowing through the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, a fusion of good water supply and good growing conditions is found. This amalgamation helped the farming traditions to outgrow suffering.

Now see here two factors 'good water supply and good growing conditions' fuse together to make a single combination and this combination encouraged the farming techniques
A combination in this context is singular

Though combination can act as plural or singular word based on the context.
eg
Combination of red, blue, and green vs combinations of red, blue, and green.
When I say 'Combination of red, blue, and green ' it means that all three colors are mixed together to make up one new color. Here combination is singular
When I say combinations of red, blue, and green' it means that out of these three colors different mixtures of colors can be made. Either red and blue or blue and green or red and green or red, blue, and green are mixed up to make new colors. Here it is plural.

I hope this helps
Thanks
Anmol
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I hope this helps.
Thanks
Anmol
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2020, 08:08
Anagarwal15 wrote:
ArupSR wrote:
The combination of X and Y -- here combination is singular subject or plural subject? We can interpret it in this way also -- The combination of X and the combination of Y.
Again combination cannot happen of a single thing. The combination of X -- seems nonsense.

Please explain.

Hey there
Thank you for posting the question ? Let me try and help you out!
The Important thing first. Let’s start by looking at the intended logical meaning.

The sentence talks about the farming traditions that had suffered a lot for at least 6000 years. Since the major rivers are flowing through the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, a fusion of good water supply and good growing conditions is found. This amalgamation helped the farming traditions to outgrow suffering.

Now see here two factors 'good water supply and good growing conditions' fuse together to make a single combination and this combination encouraged the farming techniques
A combination in this context is singular

Though combination can act as plural or singular word based on the context.
eg
Combination of red, blue, and green vs combinations of red, blue, and green.
When I say 'Combination of red, blue, and green ' it means that all three colors are mixed together to make up one new color. Here combination is singular
When I say combinations of red, blue, and green' it means that out of these three colors different mixtures of colors can be made. Either red and blue or blue and green or red and green or red, blue, and green are mixed up to make new colors. Here it is plural.

I hope this helps
Thanks
Anmol

Thanks Anagarwal15. Very good explanation.
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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10 May 2020, 23:24
correct to phrase to use is "combination of X and Y" not combination of X and of Y".
This leaves us with choice (A) and (B)
(A)"Both" is redundant here we have the word combination to do that.
"endure" has tense problem it should be endured.
endure in is not correct idiom
(B)No of and verb is also present perfect
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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17 May 2020, 09:01
Anagarwal15 wrote:
ArupSR wrote:
The combination of X and Y -- here combination is singular subject or plural subject? We can interpret it in this way also -- The combination of X and the combination of Y.
Again combination cannot happen of a single thing. The combination of X -- seems nonsense.

Please explain.

Hey there
Thank you for posting the question ? Let me try and help you out!
The Important thing first. Let’s start by looking at the intended logical meaning.

The sentence talks about the farming traditions that had suffered a lot for at least 6000 years. Since the major rivers are flowing through the deserts of northeast Africa, the Middle East, and northwest India, a fusion of good water supply and good growing conditions is found. This amalgamation helped the farming traditions to outgrow suffering.

Now see here two factors 'good water supply and good growing conditions' fuse together to make a single combination and this combination encouraged the farming techniques
A combination in this context is singular

Though combination can act as plural or singular word based on the context.
eg
Combination of red, blue, and green vs combinations of red, blue, and green.
When I say 'Combination of red, blue, and green ' it means that all three colors are mixed together to make up one new color. Here combination is singular
When I say combinations of red, blue, and green' it means that out of these three colors different mixtures of colors can be made. Either red and blue or blue and green or red and green or red, blue, and green are mixed up to make new colors. Here it is plural.

I hope this helps
Thanks
Anmol

Thank you so much for the explanation.
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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa  [#permalink]

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28 May 2020, 06:38
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
ydanyang wrote:
I don't have any problem of choosing the correct answer. What confuses me is the that following traditions. It seems that the sentence perfectly works without a that. So why you put a that here in every selections?

... the combination of (a reliable supply of water) and (good growing conditions) encouraged farming traditions that have, in places, endured for at least 6,000 years.

we can split this sentence into two parts:
If we remove that, we get-

the combination of X and Y encouraged farming traditions have endured for at least...

the combination- encouraged- traditions- have endured

Subject- verb- object/ subject- verb

Combination- subject case (subject of the verb encouraged)
however
farming tradition (FT) is in subject and object case both
object of the verb - encouraged
subject of the verb- have endured

Combination encouraged FT have endured ... This construction is flawed.

Hence "that" is required.

Combination encouraged FT that have endured...

Combination encouraged FT
(FT) that have endured... "that" is the subject of the verb "have endured"

we can also split the sentence and see this-

1) the combination of X and Y encouraged farming traditions.
2) these traditions have endured for at least 6000 years

"That" is used to connect these two sentences. We can not do without a connector here.

Let's take another example:

I have bought a new phone. Phonehas awesome features.
I have bought a new phonethat has awesome features.

Hope this helps!
Dolly Sharma
Verbal Trainer
CrackVerbal

please confirm
....and good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for 6,000 years.- CORRECT
(The child drew a square in the sand, but the ocean erased it)-OK
(I picked the items that fell down)_OK
(Teacher selected the students who played well for 2 months)OK

....and good growing conditions encouraged farming traditions that, in places, have endured for 6,000 years.- CORRECT
(The child drew a square in the sand, but the ocean has erased it)-

OK

- effect till now
(I picked the items that have fallen down)

Wrong

( the action of have fallen already completed before i picked)
(Teacher selected the students who have played well for 2 months) -

Ok

( selected happened in past but played well action effect till now )

....and good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, endured for 6,000 years.- Wrong
(The child have drawn a square in the sand, but the ocean erased it)-

Wrong

- doesnt make sense because erasing action happened after draw
(I have picked the items that fell down)_

Ok

because fell down action happened before picked items . the effect of picked is still now - OK
(Teacher have selected the students who played well for 2 months)-

OK

(teacher selection effect still now)

....and good growing conditions have encouraged farming traditions that, in places, have endured for 6,000 years.-

Correct?

The child HAS DRAWN a square in the sand, but the ocean HAS ERASED it.- AWKWARD- what happened first - Awkward
I have picked the items that have fallen down- awkward - action happened one after another.
Teacher has selected the students who have played well for 2 months -

OK

( selection effect till now , students have played well - effect till now)

Question:
Can a present perfect tense be used in main clause and relative clause together in a sentence?

GMATNinja @EMPOWERgmatVerbal@ChrisLele@CrackVerbalGMAT@
Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa   [#permalink] 28 May 2020, 06:38

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