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Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig

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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2020, 12:51
Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of negligence when the crucial data went missing, the CEO defused a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault.

A. a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
B. a situation that was quite tense, by publicly stating that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
C. a situation, which was quite tense, by stating publicly that Smith was not responsible for the debacle
D. a quite tense situation with a public statement about the debacle not being Smith’s fault
E. a quite tense situation by publicly stating the debacle not to have been Smith’s fault

A is incorrect because "with her public statement" is ambiguous. defused a situation that became tense with her public statement or did she defuse a tense situation by making a public statement. It is not clear.
B. Correct answer.
C. The fact that the situation was tense is an essential part of the tense but by using which and comma it is made a non-essential part of the sentence.
D. Same problem as A. Modifier being is incorrectly used.
E. The CEO did not state the debacle. Incorrect.
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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2020, 16:50
I understood your explanation. Even I was hanging between A and B.
I crossed off B because of "comma+by" construction. I went through the whole thread but couldn't get complete answer to my query.
I understood that A has meaning issue so it is out.
Would you elaborate how this construction is acceptable grammatically? Couldn't we write B without comma before by.

EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

Let's tackle this question, one thing at a time, and narrow it down to the correct choice! To start, let's take a quick scan over the options and highlight any major differences in orange and purple:

Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of negligence when the crucial data went missing, the CEO defused a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault.

A. a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
B. a situation that was quite tense, by publicly stating that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
C. a situation, which was quite tense, by stating publicly that Smith was not responsible for the debacle
D. a quite tense situation with a public statement about the debacle not being Smith’s fault
E. a quite tense situation by publicly stating the debacle not to have been Smith’s fault

After a quick glance over the options, it appears there are a lot of differences. However, we can narrow it down to 3 main issues:

1. a situation that was quite tense / a situation, which was quite tense / a quite tense situation (Clarity & Meaning)
2. with her public statement / by publicly stating / by stating publicly / with a public statement (Clarity & Meaning)
3. that the debacle... / that Smith was not responsible... / about the debacle... / the debacle not to have been... (Wordiness)


Let's start with #1 on our list because it should eliminate 2-3 options rather quickly. We need to determine if it's better to say "a situation that was quite tense" and "a quite tense situation." This is an issue of clarity. WHAT did the CEO diffuse? A situation. To make sure that's absolutely clear, it makes more sense to keep those two things together. This becomes even more important when the word "quite" is involved:

Mandy passed an exam that was quite difficult. --> OK
Mandy passed a quite difficult exam. --> WRONG

So - let's see how each option handles this particular issue:

A. a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
B. a situation that was quite tense, by publicly stating that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
C. a situation, which was quite tense, by stating publicly that Smith was not responsible for the debacle (different problem - save for later)
D. a quite tense situation with a public statement about the debacle not being Smith’s fault
E. a quite tense situation by publicly stating the debacle not to have been Smith’s fault

We can eliminate options D & E because they don't use the proper construction when describing the situation. Notice how I left option C off the table? It's also incorrect, and here is why:

C. a situation, which was quite tense, by stating publicly that Smith was not responsible for the debacle

This is INCORRECT because the addition of "which" turns this phrase into a non-essential modifier. This sentence tells us that the phrase "which was quite tense" isn't important information to the overall meaning of the sentence. In this sentence, it IS important to know that the situation the CEO diffused was tense - otherwise why would she bother dealing with it?

We can eliminate option C because it created a non-essential phrase that then changed the overall meaning and clarity.

Now that we only have 2 options left, let's take a closer look at each one to determine which is better:

A. a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
This is INCORRECT because the phrase "with her public statement" is problematic. By not giving clear credit to the CEO for making the statement, readers might think that the CEO diffused the situation with a public statement made by someone else, or by not actually making the statement herself. This isn't a strong enough way to say what they mean, so it's not the best choice.

B. a situation that was quite tense, by publicly stating that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
This is CORRECT. It's clear that the CEO made a public statement herself with the phrase "by publicly stating." It gives credit where it's due, and it's absolutely clear what the writer intended to say.

There you have it - option B is the correct choice! It's absolutely clear what is going on in the sentence, and all of the actions are tied to the correct people.


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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2020, 22:52
is the use "comma" ,before "by" in the correct option B necessary?
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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2020, 16:03
Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of negligence when the crucial data went missing, the CEO defused a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault.


A. a situation that was quite tense with her public statement that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
Wrong. The logical meaning of the sentence is that the CEO defused the tense situation by issuing a public statement. This answer choice puts the modifier "with her public statement..." after "tense," an adjective. Whenever a "with" modifier is after an adjective, it modifies the adjective, which makes the meaning illogical. This answer choice is essentially saying that the situation was tense with her statement. This doesn't make any sense.

B. a situation that was quite tense, by publicly stating that the debacle was not Smith’s fault
This is correct. Using the modifier "that was quite tense" to modify the situation, this answer choice correctly identifies that the situation being "quite tense" is an integral part of the sentence. "That" is an essential modifier, which means that everything in the modifier is integral to the meaning of the sentence.

C. a situation, which was quite tense, by stating publicly that Smith was not responsible for the debacle
This is almost correct, but incorrect. The two best answer choices are B and C, but C uses an inessential modifier. ",which..." modifiers are inessential modifiers, in contract to essential modifiers (like "that"), that modify the noun "situation" with information that is NOT integral to the sentence's true meaning. Because the fact that the situation was "quite tense" adds a layer of meaning to the sentence, an essential modifier should be used.

D. a quite tense situation with a public statement about the debacle not being Smith’s fault
This is incorrect. The "with" modifier is unclear. Is it describing how the CEO defused the situation? Maybe, that would make sense. But it is right next to the word "situation," which adds ambiguity. Now it might seem as if the CEO diffused a situation with (that included) a public statement. Nix for ambiguity.

E. a quite tense situation by publicly stating the debacle not to have been Smith’s fault
This is incorrect. The idiom is "stating the debacle" is incorrect. This construct can only be used with a couple words, like "believing the test to have been unfair."
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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2020, 18:28
gyanamaya wrote:
is the use "comma" ,before "by" in the correct option B necessary?

Is it necessary? Probably not... but that's not something you really need to worry about.

What matters is that (B) is the best option out of the five in this question. There are no black and white rules dictating when you should and should not use a comma to set off a modifier.

The first part of this post might also help, and if you want a totally excessive video on GMAT SC punctuation, you can find it here.
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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2020, 00:25
I think option A is wrong since 'her' can refer to either Smith or the CEO and there is no clear differentiation of what it is referring to. That coupled with the situation needing an essential modifer (that) makes option B correct
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Re: Although some had accused Smith, the firm’s network manager, of neglig   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2020, 00:25

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