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# Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small terra-cotta

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CEO
Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Posts: 3275
Location: India
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V51
GRE 1: Q170 V169
Re: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small terra-cotta  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2019, 04:56
thangvietnam wrote:
this question is purely idiomatical. I agree choice A is best.

but I have a question
in choice A, "healing " refers to the subject "who" or to " aid" ?
Neither, as we have an aid in X here. Read it along with the in (in doing something).

... in healing...
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Joined: 18 Dec 2017
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Re: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small terra-cotta  [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2019, 06:10
GMATNinja wrote:
The relatively easy part of this question is the parallelism: the words that immediately follow “either” and “or” must be strictly parallel. (And just in case you’re one of the GMAT Club members who asked: these are two of the “special parallelism triggers” I mentioned in our YouTube webinar on parallelism and meaning.)

Unfortunately, there’s also a frustrating idiom thing in this question, and I really don't think that it should be tested at all. But we can't really avoid it in this case. I’ll rant more about that below.

Quote:
(A) in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

Let’s start with the parallelism triggered by the either/or construction: “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help.

Hey, you can’t beat that in terms of the parallelism. Maybe you think that “aid in healing” or “such help” sound funny, but neither of them are wrong, and “sounding funny” is a terrible reason to eliminate answer choices anyway. Let’s keep (A).

Quote:
(B) in healing physical and mental ills and to thank her for helping

In (B), we have: “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid in healing physical and mental ills and to thank her for such help.

That’s all sorts of wrong. First, “either” and “and” really don’t go together at all – it just doesn’t make any sense. Second, the parallelism is wrong, anyway: “asking” and “to thank” are not parallel. So (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) in healing physical and mental ills, and thanking her for helping

(C) suffers from exactly the same problem as (B): “either” and “and” just don’t make any sense together. Sure, “asking” and “thanking” are in the same form, but that’s irrelevant if we can’t get the either/or thing right.

So (C) is gone, too.

Quote:
(D) to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help

Well, we have an “either/or” construction now, so that’s good, but the parallelism is still wrong: “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help. “Asking” and “to thank” aren’t parallel to each other, so (D) is out, too.

Quote:
(E) to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

The parallelism looks absolutely fine in (E): “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help. Cool.

So now let’s line (A) and up side-by-side, since there are no DEFINITE errors in either of them (and for more on the distinction between DEFINITE errors and other stuff, check out this crusty old article):

Quote:
(A) in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help
(E) to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

Ugh, this is one of those nightmare scenarios that I absolutely dread, both as a teacher and as a test-taker: the only difference is an idiom. There are roughly 25,000 idioms in English, and they are – by definition! – arbitrary, and don’t follow generalizable rules. I discuss idioms at length in this article; you could memorize 25,000 idioms if you really want to, but the key on the overwhelming majority of GMAT SC questions is to avoid the idioms as much as possible, and look for ANY other error.

But in relatively rare cases, there’s nothing else you can do: you just have to fight with the idiom. In this case, it turns out that the GMAT prefers the phrase “aid in healing” over “aid to heal.” The same is true if we replace “aid” with “help”: “help in healing” would apparently be correct on the GMAT, but “help to heal” would not. So (A) is correct, and (E) is wrong.

Why is that the case? I don’t know. It’s an idiom, so it doesn’t need reasons. And again, I think it’s a silly thing for the GMAT to test. But in the very unlikely event that you encounter these on your actual GMAT, now you know the correct idiom: “aid in healing” or “help in healing” are correct, but “aid to heal” is wrong on the GMAT.

But more importantly: make sure you’re really strict and literal with the “either/or” business, because I 100% promise that you’ll see THAT stuff again.

GMATNinja Hello, I guess you swapped the explanations of D and E here. Though it is clear for someone who is following but not for someone who is not.

I know it's too much of an ask but can you please do it?

P.S: I hated this question too while picking up ONLY between idioms But I guess it's okay since that's not the case in majority of the questions.

Thank you!
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Re: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small terra-cotta   [#permalink] 13 Nov 2019, 06:10

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