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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] 22 Jan 2020, 16:50

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