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# Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot

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Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot [#permalink]

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01 Nov 2010, 07:04
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Question Stats:

71% (00:48) correct 29% (01:01) wrong based on 156 sessions

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Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot the South Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is home to about a sixth of the world's 6,000 or so languages.

A. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is
B. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, they are
C. Pacific is populated by a only a few million people, and it is
D. Pacific, having a population of only a few million people, is nonetheless
E. Pacific, is populated by only a few million people, yet they are

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Hi,
I stumbled upon this question during a CAT I took from the GMATPrep software. I remembered vaguely that there was an example I saw where a pronoun can refer to the Y object in the X of Y subject if it makes sense.
In the case above I did recognize that the subject is the vast constellation of small islands and it is singular but what the sentence talked about who is home to about sixth of the world's 6000 or so languages, I thought that the islands are a more appropriate home than the vast constellation so I picked B. I think I still have a hard time to decide why is it more appropriate than they. I read somewhere that there is an issue with parallelism but I am not sure I'm convinced. Can anyone explain why A is better than B, and give me examples where changing the pronoun to refer to the Y part ,in the X of Y subject, is better. How should this sentence be written so B is the correct answer?

Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to help
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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01 Nov 2010, 07:10
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'The vast constellation' is singular.

You can omit the middle part and the sentence will still make sense.
'Although the vast constellation........has a population of........'

Based on this, B & E are out.

C. Pacific is populated by a only a few million people, and it is
Use of 'although....and' is wrong.

D. Pacific, having a population of only a few million people, is nonetheless

A. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is
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01 Nov 2010, 07:43
Subject of the sentence is the vast constellation of small islands, not islands, so ' it' in the second clause is right pronoun.

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01 Nov 2010, 07:50
rafi wrote:
Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot the South Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is home to about a sixth of the world's 6,000 or so languages.

A. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is
B. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, they are
C. Pacific is populated by a only a few million people, and it is
D. Pacific, having a population of only a few million people, is nonetheless
E. Pacific, is populated by only a few million people, yet they are

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Hi,
I stumbled upon this question during a CAT I took from the GMATPrep software. I remembered vaguely that there was an example I saw where a pronoun can refer to the Y object in the X of Y subject if it makes sense.
In the case above I did recognize that the subject is the vast constellation of small islands and it is singular but what the sentence talked about who is home to about sixth of the world's 6000 or so languages, I thought that the islands are a more appropriate home than the vast constellation so I picked B. I think I still have a hard time to decide why is it more appropriate than they. I read somewhere that there is an issue with parallelism but I am not sure I'm convinced. Can anyone explain why A is better than B, and give me examples where changing the pronoun to refer to the Y part ,in the X of Y subject, is better. How should this sentence be written so B is the correct answer?

Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to help

Ok. As you know that "the vast constellation of small islands" is singular and hence demands a singular pronoun, the use of "it" is correct.
But for a moment, lets forget that you are aware of this rule and you can't decide whether "the vast constellation of small islands" is singular or plural. So you are clearly stumped. Whats the best you can do? Just read the the entire sentence again. When you read it for the second time, you will notice that the word "has" is used which denotes a singular entity. This is your biggest hint that the sentence demands a singular pronoun and that's why the use of "it" is correct.

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01 Nov 2010, 08:18
shekharvineet , Thanks for explanation
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01 Nov 2010, 08:18
I'm sorry but none of you answered my question. When will B be correct? can anyone give example for a similar sentence where the pronoun will refer to the of part in the prepositional part of the subject?
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05 Nov 2010, 08:44
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Hi rafi,

You're right that in a noun phrase like "X of Y," either X or Y can be the antecedent of a pronoun.

The breadth and intensity of the biology class lead many of its participants to study intensely.

The subject of this sentence is the plural compound noun "the breadth and intensity," so we use the plural main verb "lead." However, the pronoun "its" can logically refer only to the biology class, which is inside a prepositional phrase and is singular.

The key with these types of sentences is LOGIC -- in the question you posted, it's the entire CONSTELLATION of islands that contains the languages, not each individual island.

Hope that helps!
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05 Nov 2010, 09:00
Nice explanation. Thanks @ JenRugani
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24 Nov 2010, 12:48
Quote:
Rafi wrote: I'm sorry but none of you answered my question. When will B be correct? can anyone give example for a similar sentence where the pronoun will refer to the of part in the prepositional part of the subject?

Hi, Rafi,

To answer your specific question, let me give you a couple of examples where the pronoun clearly refers to the of part of the preposition

Although none of the test takers have scored more than 600 in the GMAT, they are still applying to top business school
Some of the legislators are expected to cross vote in the coming vote -on count, but they are keeping an eerie silence
The pronoun they in the first case refers to the test takers and in the second one to legislators
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02 Dec 2010, 23:18
subject of the main clause is constellation which is singular.Hence A is right.
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02 Dec 2010, 23:42
Straight 'A' since it uses 'it' rather than 'They'...They does not have a clear referrent....
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03 Dec 2010, 09:48
In "A" "it" clearly refers to " constellation" vs B...they can refer to "people"

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Re: Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot [#permalink]

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24 Jan 2012, 06:44
Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot the South Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is home to about a sixth of the world's 6,000 or so languages.

A. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, it is
B. Pacific has a population of only a few million people, they are
C. Pacific is populated by a only a few million people, and it is
D. Pacific, having a population of only a few million people, is nonetheless
E. Pacific, is populated by only a few million people, yet they are

The subject is vast constellation here. Since small islands is the subject in a prepositional phrase, it should not be considered as the subject of the sentence. We notice that the subject is a singular noun. Hence, it must agree in number with its pronoun.i.e., its pronoun must be singular. Hence B,E out.
C contains unidiomatic construction: Although X, and Y. Wrong.
D contains having, which is in wrong tense and is awkward.

Hence. A.
Hope it helps.

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Re: Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot [#permalink]

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28 May 2014, 08:39
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Re: Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot [#permalink]

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07 Jun 2014, 15:58
"Constellation" is singular
Splits:
1) BE: "they" is the wrong pronoun for "Constellation"

C is not a sentence
D is wordy

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Re: Although the vast constellation of small islands that dot   [#permalink] 07 Jun 2014, 15:58
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