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# Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg

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Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2019, 22:50
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67% (01:15) correct 33% (01:36) wrong based on 841 sessions

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Project SC Butler: Day 114 Sentence Correction (SC1)

Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2019, 19:53
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This is a good question to teach "Past Perfect" tense. On the GMAT, we use past perfect tense ("had" + verb) to describe an action that happened in the past BEFORE another past tense action.

The two actions here are: Eli planned on pursuing a law degree. Eli's debt forced him to accept a job.

Both of these things happened in the past, and they clearly did not happen simultaneously, so logically, which one happened first? Was he FORCED and then he PLANNED, or was he PLANNED and then he was FORCED? The latter is the most logical meaning.

So we want the 1st verb "planned" to be in Past Perfect tense, and the 2nd verb "forced" to be in Simple Past tense. (B) and (D) are out.

Let's strip back the remaining three options and take a hard look:

(A) Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision....

(C) Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt, a decision....

(E) Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision....

In (A) and (E), the "college debt" is forcing Eli to do something. Is it logical for something inanimate to do the action of "forcing"?? No! Also, this makes it sound, in (E) especially, that the college debt's forcefulness was "a decision," as if the college debt is making active choices FOR Eli Whitney?

(C) has no grammar error and no illogical meaning.

On the GMAT, we want to avoid sentences in which inanimate things are doing "human actions." I'm reminded of this SC question and these two answer choices:

In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.

B) in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
This choice makes is sound like the "cigarette" is actively doing the "slowing the rate at which is burns." How can a cigarette slow its own rate??

C) that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
This choice makes it sound like the "cigarette" is actively doing the action of "using thin layers." So...the cigarette is using its own layers??

It's kind of funny how often inanimate things try to do human-actions on the GMAT.
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2019, 23:38
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A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina --there is no antecedent for "him", Eli Whitney should come as a subject for the independent clause.

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina--there is no antecedent for "him", Eli Whitney should come as a subject for the independent clause.

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt --correct choice, correct use of Past perfect and precise

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina--wordy and past perfect should have used with planned , as he had planned before and then after that he was forced to accept

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina--prefer active over passive voice.
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2019, 11:56
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Meaning Analysis - Eli Whitney planned to pursue a law degree but his college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina.
- First, he planned to pursue a law degree
- Second he was forced to accept a private job because of his college debt.

Since there is no time marker in the original sentence , use of past perfect 'HAD' is correct.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

Eli Whitney's college fund can't replace 'HE' in introductory modifier and 'HIM' in main clause.

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

'HAD' is missing and same error as in option A.
.
C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt

Correct

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina
'HAD' is used in incorrect place.

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

Antecedent 'he' should have a clear referent after the comma and also passice voice.
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2019, 17:17
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generis wrote:
Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

Split-1
''Although he.....'' should refer to Eli Whitney and not his college debt or college - Hence eliminate A,B & E
Split-2
''Planned'' vs ''had planned'' - plan was the initial event - hence require ''had planned''

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Wrong modifier

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Wrong modifier

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt
COrrect

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Need ''had planned'' to denote the earlier event

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Wrong modifier
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Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2019, 23:31
4

Project SC Butler: Day 114 Sentence Correction (SC1)

Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

My annotations are in blue typeface.

This question
(1) tests a dangling modifier:
the introductory dependent clause, Although he had planned/planned on pursuing a law degree, contains the word HE.
-- HE is an antecedent, and whoever HE is must be the subject of the next clause
-- as you look through the options, notice a 2-3 split.
In A, B, and E, college debt seems to have planned on pursuing a law degree. ABSURD: debt cannot pursue a law degree!
AND

(2) this question tests verb tenses

Restating the dangling modifier problem
• Who or what had planned/planned on pursuing a law degree?
Eli Whitney.
Thus, he must be the first noun after the introductory modifying clause.

• Option A has no antecedent, an absence that means we are dealing with a dangling modifier;
Eli Whitney's is an adjective modifying college debt.

College debt neither had planned/planned to go to law school
nor possessed the human agency
to force Eli Whitney to do anything.

Eliminate Answers A, B, and E

• • Option D correctly places Eli Whitney after the comma, but the answer ruins several verb tenses and forms.

"so it [the debt] forced him into accepting" is
-- a stylistic abomination. Compare to (C): Whitney was forced to do X to pay his debt.
-- compared to C, (D) is not concise

ACTIVE/PASSIVE: (D) is incorrect
-- (D) is incorrect about what a non-human thing can and cannot do.

In English, when we need to convey that a thing "caused" an event or effect that an inanimate thing cannot itself cause, it is almost always better to use the passive voice.

Using the passive voice in such cases is a convention that advertises: yes, we know that a thing cannot force a person to do anything,
so we are using passive voice to indicate that the person WAS forced (BY his debt) to accept a different path. The debt had an effect; HE, although forced, made the choice.

Only option (C) contains the correct construction (WAS forced, passive). The debt is not and cannot be an active "doer." Only (C) gets that part correct.

VERB TENSE in (D) is incorrect
• The verb tense should be past perfect.

Past perfect =

We use it to show the "past of the past."
When two events happened in the past, past perfect is used to indicate the event that happened earlier in time.

In order to have a "past of the past," we need . . . a past. At least one event must be described in simple past tense.

Rule: we use past perfect
only if there is at least one simple past tense event (in this case, "was forced")
AND
• if there are no time stamps (dates from which we could derive sequence), OR
• if there are no time sequence words such as before, after, previously, later, etc.

In this case, Whitney was forced to pay his debt [simple past tense], although he had planned to go to law school. [past perfect]
• we have the required simple past tense: was forced
• we have no dates that indicate sequence
• we have no words such as "before" that indicate sequence

We need past perfect to convey the time sequence.

D uses simple past tense, planned, and should use had planned.

bansalsaurabh7 , MofeBhatia , Ashokshiva , GMATRockstar : way to close out a project!

All the answers are very good to excellent. Kudos to all.
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Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2019, 23:31
Project SC Butler is being retired.

This question, SC #1, and SC #2 for February 28, 2019

are the final two questions in the project.

We will start a new initiative in 4-6 weeks. We are excited!

Thank you to all who participated. I appreciate your enthusiasm and hard work.
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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02 Mar 2019, 02:31
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generis wrote:
Project SC Butler is being retired.

This question, SC #1, and SC #2 for February 28, 2019

are the final two questions in the project.

We will start a new initiative in 4-6 weeks. We are excited!

Thank you to all who participated. I appreciate your enthusiasm and hard work.

This is quite a shocker

But excellent work by you and team for posting questions everyday with detailed explanations

Had great fun and learning thru the project

Can't wait for the next project to start.

Thanks
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Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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04 Mar 2019, 07:54
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 114 Sentence Correction (SC1)

Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

The part after the noun modifier 'Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree' must have a logically correct referent. In this sentence we can ask the question - who had planned on pursuing a law degree? The part that follows this modifier must logically answer this question. In this case the correct referent would be 'Eli Whitney'.

Options A, B and E can be eliminated for this error

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Eliminated for the reason cited above.

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Eliminated for the reason cited above.

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt
The past perfect 'had' indicates that the action with which it (i.e. had) is associated is the older of the two actions. This option correctly uses 'had' by logically laying out the series of events - He first planned and then, because of debt, was forced to accept a private job. Keep this option for now.

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina
1. The use of 'had' in this sentence incorrectly indicates that he was first forced into accepting and then planned to pursue.
2. This option is wordy and the construction 'had college debt so it forced him into' is awkward and not clear

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
Eliminated for the reason cited above.

Source: PowerScore

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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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04 Mar 2019, 13:46
Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt (CORRECT)

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

1. Although he had planned..."he" here is an antecedent and represents someone. Ask yourself: Who had planned on pursuing a law degree? It should not be "Eli Whitney's college debt, or college. So A, B, and E are incorrect.

2. D says Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting... is wordy, also the sentence has a wrong logic. He had a plan before he was forced to accept the job, so literally the first clause should come with past perfect tense.
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2019, 00:38
That's really good explanation. I had confusion earlier but got resolved. Thanks a lot.
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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09 Mar 2019, 03:48
1
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 114 Sentence Correction (SC1)

Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

Meaning:

1. Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree (although - contrast, he seems to refer to Eli Whitney himself)
2. Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina
3. This forced a decision that ultimately led to two things:
- the invention of the cotton gin and
- a revolution of the cotton industry.

Errors:

Although - presents the contrast, so we expect the author changes the direction of sentence. This past is DC.
And we have this contrast:
even if Eli had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli was forced to do otherwise

We have one big hint here - he - whatever follows the comma and starts IC it has to be antecedent of this pronoun.
'he' cannot refer Eli Whitney's college, we cannot say Eli Whitney's college had planned on pursuing a law degree - illogical.

past perfect - had planned - is absolutely correct in the given context.
Because first Eli had a plan to pursue a law degree, but then his college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job.
We have sequence of actions and time point in the past to refer to, hence - past perfect - is justified there.

POE

So after the error analysis of the orgical clause, with small hint, we can eliminate (A), (B), and (E) straight away.
(B) has one more error - we need past perfect here.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

But with the knowledge of 'he' antecedent error we can down to (C) and (D), (D) is out - past perfect.
Even if (D) corrects -he- antecedent error, is has many others - also can be eliminated - past perfect required, 'it' seems to refer to collefe debt, but this is too wordy construction. I'm not idiom expert, but 'forced into' seems awful in comparison with 'forced to', anyway (D) is out.

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina

Indeed (C) is the correct answer with beautiful structure.

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt

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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2019, 19:21
A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina - Pronoun error, "He" does not lead to college.

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina - Same as A

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt - Correct with pronoun and time frame

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina
-Use of Had is incorrect. Incorrect time frame is used.
E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina - same as A
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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25 Mar 2019, 01:36
Errors Identified :
1) No proper noun to refer to "he" (strike out A and B)
2) Misplaced modifier (in choice E, it seems that college debt had plans to pursue a law degree. Strike out E)
3) Between C and D, D seems to be too wordy. Also, in C, the decision referred to is more clearly conveyed.

generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 114 Sentence Correction (SC1)

Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina

Source: PowerScore

The best or excellent answers get kudos, which will be awarded after the answer is revealed.
More than one award of kudos is possible.a
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2019, 07:45
Gmat Ninja
sir
could you please shed some light on usage of plan + on

shouldn't it be "planned + to" as the plan + on is used for devious intentions as per my learning
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2019, 09:01

so the principle clause just after the comma should have the subject ,

Here the subject is Eli Whitney not the college debt ,

So only the option C fulfill this

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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10 May 2019, 05:11
Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina, a decision that ultimately led to the invention of the cotton gin and a revolution of the cotton industry.

A) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina --> debt(inanimate object) can't force him to do something

B) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's college debt forced him to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina --> same as A

C) had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney was forced to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina to pay his college debt --> correct

D) planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney had college debt so it forced him into accepting a private tutoring job in South Carolina--> same as A

E) had planned on pursuing a law degree, college debt forced Eli Whitney to accept a private tutoring job in South Carolina--> same as A
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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg  [#permalink]

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10 May 2019, 18:58
StrugglingGmat2910 wrote:
Gmat Ninja
sir
could you please shed some light on usage of plan + on

shouldn't it be "planned + to" as the plan + on is used for devious intentions as per my learning
Plan (verb) on is fine, no devious intentions required.

Someone planned on something.
Someone planned on -ing something.

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Re: Although he had planned on pursuing a law degree, Eli Whitney's colleg   [#permalink] 10 May 2019, 18:58
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