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Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization

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Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization of Atlantis and its destruction appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are how stories of events a thousand years previous were passed down to Plato's time.


(A) appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are

(B) appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is

(C) appear to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is

(D) appear to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are

(E) appear to be the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, that which remains mysterious is

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Originally posted by avohden on 18 Nov 2013, 14:40.
Last edited by Bunuel on 10 Apr 2019, 21:21, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2013, 11:41
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avohden wrote:
Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization of Atlantis and its destruction appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are how stories of events a thousand years previous were passed down to Plato's time.

(A) appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are

(B) appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is

(C) appear to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is

(D) appear to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are

(E) appear to be the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, that which remains mysterious is

Dear avohden,
I'm happy to help. :-)

This is a very straightforward SV Agreement question. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/subject-ve ... orrection/

Split #1: appear/appears. The subject inside the "although" clause is "Plato's inspiration", which is singular. Thus, we need the singular verb, "appears." Choices (C) & (D) & (E) are incorrect.

Split #2: is/are. This is very tricky, the final verb at the end of the underline. This verb relates two substantive clauses. A substantive clause (a.k.a. a "noun clause") is a clause that acts in the role of a noun. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/substantiv ... -the-gmat/
The big idea is that substantive clauses, as subjects, are construed as singular (exceptions are discussed in the link). Technically, whether the "what" in the first substantive clause "what remains a mystery" is singular or plural depends on the whether its object is singular or plural. Here, its object is another substantive clause, "how stories of events a thousand years previous were passed down to Plato's time", which is construed as singular.
Thus, we need the singular verb "is".

Therefore, the answer can only be (B).

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2013, 14:45

Official Explanation


Answer B - The underlined portion of this sentence contains three verbs—appears, remains, and are—all of which must agree in number with their subjects and follow the correct tense sequence. The subject of appears is the singular noun inspiration, the subject of remains and are is what, which, since it refers to mystery, is also singular. Thus, appears and remains are correct, but are is incorrect. We need the singular form is. Only choice (B) maintains all of the correct subject-verb agreements and is, therefore, correct.

Are in choices (A) and (D) and appear in choices (C), (D) and (E) are incorrect. Choice (E) has the additional problem of appear to be, a less precise present infinitive than the perfect infinitive of appear to have been, which shows that Plato's inspiration occurred in the past. Also, that which, is merely more pretentious and needlessly wordier than the perfectly acceptable what.
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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2014, 13:02
B seems best: appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is

faults in bold:

A appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are
B appears to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is---->correct !!
C appear to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery is
D appear to have been the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, what remains a mystery are
E appear to be the Minoan ruins of Crete and traditional stories of the partial destruction of the island of Thera, that which remains mysterious is
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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 12:36
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Option B. "inspiration" is singular, verb it gets must also be singular, hence appears. "a mystery" is singular, hence the verb it gets must be "is".

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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 15:29
Hi Sasindran,

I want to first start off by saying the previous two responses are on the right track - thanks urvashis09 & aarkay! Here is a short break-down of how to answer this question:

First, let's look at the difference between using appears/appear. In the sentence, this is referring back to the singular word "inspiration," so we should only consider answers that use the singular "appears." We can now rule out answers C, D, & E.

Second, let's look at the difference between using are/is. In the sentence, this is referring back to the singular "a mystery," so let's stick with the singular "is." We can now rule out answer A, leaving us with only B, which is the right answer!
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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2018, 09:12
The underlined portion of this sentence contains three verbs ("appears," "remains," and "are") all of which must agree in number with their subjects and follow the correct tense sequence. The subject of "appears" is the singular noun "inspiration," so this verb is correct as written. The subject of "remains" and "are" is "what," which, since it refers to "mystery," is also singular. Thus, "remains" is correct, but "are" is incorrect. Look for a choice that uses the singular is without introducing any new errors.

A vertical scan of the first word shows a 2-3 split between "appears" and "appear." You can eliminate (C), (D), and (E) immediately based on this word.

Based on the initial analysis, you know that (A) is incorrect. Only choice (B) maintains subject-verb agreement throughout and is therefore correct.

For the record, in addition to beginning with "appear," (D) ends with "are," committing the same error here as the original sentence. Choice (E) introduces the new error "appear to be," which is not only plural instead of singular but also places Plato's inspiration in the present rather than in the past, when this long-dead Greek philosopher lived. Also, "that which" is needlessly wordy here.
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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2019, 17:50
"inspiration" needs a singular verb. So choose "appears". So we are down to option A and B. "Mystery" needs singular verb "is". So discard A and choose B.
Correct ans B.

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Re: Although Plato's inspiration for his descriptions of the civilization   [#permalink] 10 Apr 2019, 17:50
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