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Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa

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

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New post Updated on: 20 Mar 2019, 09:51
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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, 15:02.
Last edited by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 20 Mar 2019, 09:51, 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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New post 19 Feb 2019, 21:40
[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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New post 22 Apr 2019, 05:59
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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New post 22 Apr 2019, 07:21
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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New post 26 Apr 2019, 00:15
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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New post 27 Jun 2019, 00:38
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

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Re: Along the major rivers that traverse the deserts of northeast Africa   [#permalink] 27 Jun 2019, 00:38

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