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Architects and stonemasons, huge palace and temple clusters

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Manager
Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 114

Kudos [?]: 139 [0], given: 3

Location: Mumbai
Architects and stonemasons, huge palace and temple clusters [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2010, 19:48
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Question Stats:

67% (00:39) correct 33% (00:55) wrong based on 46 sessions

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Architects and stonemasons, huge palace and temple clusters were built by the Maya without benefit of the
wheel or animal transport
.
(A) huge palace and temple clusters were built by the Maya without benefit of the wheel or animal
transport
(B) without the benefits of animal transport or the wheel, huge palace and temple clusters were built by the
Maya
(C) the Maya built huge palace and temple clusters without the benefit of animal transport or the wheel
(D) there were built, without the benefit of the wheel or animal transport, huge palace and temple clusters
by the Maya
(E) were the Maya who, without the benefit of the wheel or animal transport, built huge palace and temple
clusters

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Kaplan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 644

Kudos [?]: 306 [0], given: 2

Location: Cambridge, MA

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21 Jan 2010, 23:05
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HI jitendra,

Whenever a phrase at the beginning of a sentence is set off by commas, it usually represents a modifying or descriptive phrase. The rule for modifying and descriptive phrases is that they must be as close as possible to the thing that they modify or describe.

So, someone or something in this sentence is described as 'Architects and Stonemasons'. Who or what in this sentence could logically be described that way? The Maya! So since the Maya are architects and stonemasons, the next word after the phrase 'Architects and stonemasons' must be 'the Maya.' That makes (C) the only possible answer.
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Manager
Joined: 26 Nov 2009
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22 Jan 2010, 04:50
IMO is C and I know the offical answer for this also C

Architects and stonemasons modifies the maya so it should be placed right after the commas only the answer choice C address that modifier issue

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Manager
Joined: 14 Feb 2010
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27 May 2010, 09:44
Hello KapTeacherEli,

But then what is problem in E?

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Kaplan GMAT Instructor
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27 May 2010, 13:13
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Remember, when a modifying phrase is set off from the rest of the sentence by commas, the rest of the sentence must read correctly if that descriptive phrase is ignored. Ignoring both of the parts of the sentence isolated by commas, and reading (E) into the sentence, we get "...were the Maya who... built huge palace and temple structures." This is clearly grammatically incorrect.
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Intern
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Joined: 09 Dec 2009
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28 May 2010, 07:35
I never liked this one...seems like a classic example of the GMAT looking for the best answer among fairly poor choices, not exactly the ideal construction. As far as E goes, notice that the first comma is not underlined. Therefore, E can't work because you'd have: "Architects and Stonemasons, were the Maya who." The temptation with E is to make Architects and stonemasons the subject. Clearly if you make Architects and Stonemasons the subject - you can't have the , before were.

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Senior Manager
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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Location: Russian Federation
Concentration: General Management, Economics
GMAT 1: 640 Q44 V33
WE: Sales (Telecommunications)
Re: Architects and stonemasons, huge palace and temple clusters [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2016, 04:28
Good question. Only contenders are C and E. But C is correct since E changes the meaning,saying that "architects and stonemasons were the Maya". Do you mean all architects and stonemasons?)))
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Joined: 19 Feb 2007
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Re: Architects and stonemasons, huge palace and temple clusters [#permalink]

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08 Feb 2016, 01:10
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In this case, the Architects and Stonemasons act as appositive modifiers for the subject the Maya. Appositives have to touch their nouns without fail.
Even a small deviation such as the intrusion of a verb ‘were’ is not permitted between the modifier and the modified.
It may be also seen the in the case of E, the real subject ‘the Maya’ is relegated to an object case because of the verb ‘were’, the appositive Architects and Stonemasons themselves becoming the subject, changing the intended meaning.

C therefore
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Re: Architects and stonemasons, huge palace and temple clusters   [#permalink] 08 Feb 2016, 01:10
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