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As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 06:37
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Hi
I do not think that a convention cannot be broken for the sake of clarity. Of course, we are led to think that between just two items in a list, there is no need to use a comma. However, if you wish to ensure that the second item is certainly a disparate item from the prior one, then there may be no harm in using that comma. However, I would have an open mind, if at least in GMAT some choice has been disqualified for using or misusing the Oxford comma. As you may see, this very OG question is a case in point that GMAT couldn't care less about it.
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New post 17 Aug 2017, 09:27
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GMATNinja wrote:
Sorry, I'm late to the party on this one!

So I've seen a lot of test-takers make mistakes on this question, usually because of overreliance on an idiom “rule” that doesn’t really exist. If you see the phrase “not only”, that does NOT automatically mean that you need to have a “but also” somewhere else in the sentence! There’s no reason why you couldn’t use the phrase “not only” by itself, as long as it makes logical sense with the context of the sentence.

Don’t get me wrong: “not… but” phrases are pretty important on the GMAT, but only because they require parallelism. Basically, whatever follows the word “not” (or “not only”) must be structurally parallel to whatever follows the word “but” (or “but also”). (Similar parallelism rules apply to both/and and either/or constructions – more on these in an upcoming Topic of the Week.)

But again, there’s nothing wrong with having “not only” without the “but also.”

Quote:
A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell

“They” jumps out at me right away, but I think it’s fine, since it refers to “thieves.” I suppose “they” could also refer to “bank accounts,” but I don’t think the pronoun is automatically wrong. Ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule (see our YouTube webinar on this pronouns for more), and “they” isn’t particularly confusing here.

The parallelism also seems OK, even if it doesn’t sound great. We have two different lists going on in (A). First, we have a pair of parallel verbs: “…they can also pilfer information… and sell data…” That seems fine. We also have a list of the types of information that thieves pilfer: “…such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans…” That’s just three parallel nouns – no problem. Keep (A).

Quote:
B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling

(B) is very similar to (A), except that the final “and” is followed by “selling.” And that’s a problem, because I don’t know what “selling” is parallel to: nothing in the sentence is in the same format. Logically, “selling” should be parallel to “pilfer”, but in that case, it should be “…they pilfer… and sell…”, as in answer choice (A). (B) can be eliminated.

Quote:
C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling

The big change here is that “pilfering” and “selling” are now “-ing” words – modifiers, in this case. (Feel free to check out our guide to “-ing” words for more on this topic.)

But that doesn’t really make any sense. “As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, pilfering valuable information…” For this to be correct, “pilfering valuable information” would have to modify “not only are thieves able to divert cash…” – and it simply doesn’t. These are completely different types of criminal activity, and the “pilfering valuable information” does not modify “diverting cash.”

Similarly, “selling” is basically hanging out on its own. I guess it’s trying to modify the previous phrase beginning with “pilfering”, but I can’t make much sense of that, either. (C) is out.

Quote:
D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell

OK, now we really do have a “not only… but also” structure, which means that we need to think about parallelism again. There’s not much wiggle-room here: whatever follows “not only” needs to be parallel to whatever follows “but also.”

So we have: “not only are thieves able to divert cash… but also pilfer valuable information…” This isn’t awful, but it doesn’t quite seem parallel to me: “not only are thieves” gives us a subject and a verb, but the “but also” is followed only by a verb.

Plus, “to sell” seems to only modify “contract bidding plans”, and that’s not quite right: the thieves are selling the strategies and specifications, too. (A) makes much more sense than (D).

Quote:
E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

The parallelism is much more thoroughly flawed in (E). We have: “not only are thieves able to divert cash… but also pilfering valuable information…” Definitely not parallel. (E) is out, and (A) is the correct answer.



Dear Gmat Ninja

Does choices A have the folloing structure: Not only + Clause 1, Clause 2? If the word "also" were removed from the second clause, would choice A still correct?
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New post 01 Oct 2017, 10:38
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, Thieves are able to not only divert cash from company bank accounts, but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell the data to competitors.

Is this modified sentence correct ?

Experts pls help.
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New post 02 Oct 2017, 02:14
rishabhdxt wrote:
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, Thieves are able to not only divert cash from company bank accounts, but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell the data to competitors.

Is this modified sentence correct ?

Experts pls help.



Hello rishabhdxt,

I will be glad to help you out with this one. :-)

The modified version of the sentence is grammatically correct. However, it does not present the same meaning as the original sentence does.

The original sentence says that the thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts. But the sentence presents just possibility of other actions mentioned as they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and (can) sell the data to competitors.

Use of can in the original sentence presents possibility of an action while the modified sentence presented by you presents actions that take place for sure. This change does lead to change in the meaning of the original sentence.

I understand that our first instinct is to look for but also Y whenever we see not only X, especially when it appears in the non-underlined portion of the sentence.

But the structure of the not only X portion in this official sentence is such that writing the remaining information in but also Y manner will be difficult.

So here we get to learn a new usage from this official sentence. In certain cases, not only X can be used just by itself if the structure of the sentence demands so.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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New post 20 Nov 2017, 18:48
ManuelJesus wrote:
Dear Gmat Ninja

Does choices A have the folloing structure: Not only + Clause 1, Clause 2? If the word "also" were removed from the second clause, would choice A still correct?

I suppose it does have that structure, with "clause 2" as the independent (main) clause in the sentence. And the best way to think about "also" is that it can only really affect the meaning of the sentence on the GMAT, since there really aren't any interesting, absolute grammar rules governing its use -- or at least none that you need to worry about on this particular exam. In this case, I think (A) would be tolerable without the "also", but the sentence is probably a little bit clearer with the "also" included.

More importantly, though: all five answer choices include the word "also", so it's not really worth worrying about in this case.

I hope this helps!
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New post 29 Jan 2018, 04:56
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Before we jump in, let’s talk about “not/but” constructions on the GMAT. It seems like a lot of people view that construction as an idiom that needs to be memorized: “not only… but also…” But I don’t really think that’s the best way to think about it (and I’m opposed to memorizing idioms in general, unless you have TONS of spare time on your hands).

A better way to think about “not… but…” constructions is that they indicate parallelism. In general, whatever follows “not” (or “not only” or “not just”) needs to be parallel to whatever follows “but” (or “but also”). That’s the most important thing: think of “not/but” as a parallelism trigger, not an idiom.

But then what about the “only” and the “also”? Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to them. There is absolutely no rule indicating that “not only” must be followed by “but also.” In theory, “only” and “also” might tweak the meaning of the sentence – but absolutely ANY word can tweak the meaning of the sentence. There’s nothing special about these particular words.

So just because you have the phrase “but also” doesn’t mean that you need a “not only.” And just because you have a “not only” doesn’t mean that you need a “but also.” Either can exist in isolation, as long as the sentence makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong: “not/but” constructions are pretty common on the GMAT, and you should definitely pay attention to them. But you’ll want to focus on them as parallelism triggers, and not as some sort of standard phrase that MUST appear in the same form every time.

With that in mind, this question gets a whole lot easier...

Quote:
A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell

The first things I notice are the two uses of “and”, both of which indicate some sort of parallelism. (And again: “not only” is just hanging out by itself. We do NOT have a “not/but” construction here, since there’s no “but.” That’s complete fine, and not worth worrying about, as long as it makes sense meaning-wise.)

So let’s figure out what’s actually parallel here. We actually have two different “lists”, since we have two different “and’s”:

  • ”they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell…” → Totally fine! The thieves do two things: “pilfer (a bunch of data)” and “sell the data to competitors.” Makes sense.
  • ”they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell…” → Also fine! The thieves pilfer three examples of valuable information: business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans.

I don’t see any issues at all here, so let’s keep (A).

Quote:
B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling

There are only two things that change from (A) to (B). First, “valuable information such as” has been changed to “valuable information that includes”, and I don’t think that’s a huge problem, but I think it’s a little bit clearer to just say “such as.” After all, these are just examples of “valuable information.”

The bigger problem: “and sell” has been changed to “and selling.” “Selling” follows the parallelism trigger “and”, and that’s a problem: nothing is parallel with “selling” (a participle, if you like jargon).

And that’s a perfectly good reason to eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling

And now we have an epic mess of unnecessary “-ing” modifiers!

For starters, I don’t understand why we would say “…not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, also pilfering valuable information…” There’s no reason for “pilfering” to be a modifier here. It needs to be a verb, as it is in answer choice (A).

I’d make a similar argument for the word “selling”, which seems to modify the preceding phrase (“…also pilfering valuable information including (three things)…”). That doesn’t really make sense, though: “selling” is a separate action from “pilfering”, and there’s no good reason for one of them to modify the other.

So we can eliminate (C), too.

Quote:
D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell

Now we finally have that “not/but” construction that everybody loves so much. Again: you want to think of it as a parallelism trigger, not as an idiom.

And there’s a problem with the parallelism! We have “not only are thieves able to divert cash… but also pilfer valuable information such as….” The “not only” is followed by a clause, with a subject and a verb; “but also” is followed by just a verb and an object – so NOT a clause. Structurally, this isn’t parallel at all.

The phrase “to sell” isn’t ideal, either. Even if we rearrange a little bit to fix the parallelism, we have “(thieves) pilfer valuable information… to sell the data to competitors.” That’s not necessarily WRONG, exactly, but it seems like a lousy way to say “(thieves) pilfer valuable information… AND sell the data to competitors.” It’s much clearer if “pilfer” and “sell” are structurally parallel, since we have two parallel actions completed by the thieves.

So (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

(E) is a funky mashup of some of the mistakes in the other answer choices. The parallelism doesn’t work, for starters: just like (D), (E) gives us “not only (clause)… but also (verb)…” See the explanation for (D) for more on that issue. There’s also no good reason to structure “pilfering” and “selling” as modifiers, when they could be nice, clear verbs.

So (E) is out, and we’re left with (A).
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 03:40
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A thing to note here is that not only is followed by a clause, therefore but also must be followed by a clause as well.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell-Correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling- Corrects the not only but also error, but creates another parallelism error. What is selling parallel to ? bidding ? doesn't makes sense. As per the intended meaning thieves apart from being able to divert cash are also able to do two other things i.e. pilfer and sell. So selling must be "sell" and parallel to pilfer.

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling- out. But also is followed by a verb-ing phrase and not a clause.

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell- out. But also is followed a verb and not a clause.

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling- out. But also not followed by a clause. Parallelism error

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 22:27
sandysilva wrote:
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A thing to note here is that not only is followed by a clause, therefore but also must be followed by a clause as well.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell-Correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling- Corrects the not only but also error, but creates another parallelism error. What is selling parallel to ? bidding ? doesn't makes sense. As per the intended meaning thieves apart from being able to divert cash are also able to do two other things i.e. pilfer and sell. So selling must be "sell" and parallel to pilfer.

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling- out. But also is followed by a verb-ing phrase and not a clause.

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell- out. But also is followed a verb and not a clause.

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling- out. But also not followed by a clause. Parallelism error



Hello sandysilva,

I must say you have presented a very thorough analysis of this official sentence. Your approach is meaning-based. Keep up the good job. :-)


I would just like to say that per your analysis, Choice B corrects the not only X but also Y error. However, that is not the case. This choice, like choice A, does not use the phrase but also Y.

It most certainly has the parallelism error that you have pointed out in your analysis.


Thanks. :-)
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Mar 2018, 21:06
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell
B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling
C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling
D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell
E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts -- I think this is a backward construction( in which the subject(thieves) follows the verb(are) ).

1.“not only.. but also” -- we can notice that there is no “but (also)”. Is it an error? Yes, in general. However, when we have independent clauses as elements in this idiom structure, we have an exception at hand. We need not have “but also” following “not only”. In these cases, we may have “also” as a modifier of the main verb in the second clause, as in the given sentence. Is this correct?
2. Not only X but also Y ---> X and Y need to be parallel. In general(not only in this structure), can a backward construction be parallel to a normal one(in which subject precedes the verb) ?
3. Why are backward constructions generally used? Is it used to emphasize something or just a stylistic choice?
4.
they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell -
a.The comma(Oxford comma) used after new product specifications -- is it necessary on the GMAT ?
b. The comma after contract bidding plans (before and sell) - since there are only 2 items in the list do we need a comma ?

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert , daagh , other experts- please help
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2018, 01:26
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Skywalker18 wrote:
1.“not only.. but also” -- we can notice that there is no “but (also)”. Is it an error? Yes, in general. However, when we have independent clauses as elements in this idiom structure, we have an exception at hand. We need not have “but also” following “not only”. In these cases, we may have “also” as a modifier of the main verb in the second clause, as in the given sentence. Is this correct?
2. Not only X but also Y ---> X and Y need to be parallel. In general(not only in this structure), can a backward construction be parallel to a normal one(in which subject precedes the verb) ?
3. Why are backward constructions generally used? Is it used to emphasize something or just a stylistic choice?
4.
they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell -
a.The comma(Oxford comma) used after new product specifications -- is it necessary on the GMAT ?
b. The comma after contract bidding plans (before and sell) - since there are only 2 items in the list do we need a comma ?
1. I haven't come across anything like this, so I have serious doubts about it. From what I've seen, the decision to drop the but also depends on how formal you want your writing to be and the "sound" of the sentence you want to create. I don't see why we should limit ourselves to situations in which two clauses are being used, especially when the sample size of GMAT questions that do this is clearly insufficient to take anything more detailed away from the situation.

2. Yes. The first is a clause. Whether the subject precedes the verb or not does not change that.

3. If you are using a clause in the beginning with not only, you must invert the order of the subject and verb in the first clause. You can read more about inversion in general [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject–verb_inversion_in_English]here[/url].

4. We'll need to be careful about using any "rules" when it comes to commas on the GMAT. The GMAT does not test commas except in an extremely limited number of ways, and there are questions in which almost every comma "rule" is broken (not all in the same question :-)) in the correct option (or the portion that is non-underlined).
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2018, 11:38
Yes! A is correct because PARALLELISM is defined, i.e. a noun and a verb come after "'not only" so a noun (they) and a verb should also precede or succeed "but also".
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New post 23 Sep 2018, 20:44
wow extremely tricky
hope i will not encounter this kind of question in the real test
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New post 05 Oct 2018, 07:22
chetan2u wrote:
shadowfax1 wrote:
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell
B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling
C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling
D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell
E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

This question does not follow the idiom not only - but also. Why? And when is it acceptable to not use it? This is an OG2017 quesiton.


Hi,

It is not that But also would be wrong here, its only that the choices containing "not only ... but also" have other errors..
At times to lay more emphais, NOT ONLY is followed by a CLAUSE here .... so "but also" should have a clause..
But choices D and E are missing the SUBJECT, hence wrong..
even C does not have a subject..


A and B have "subject" but 'such as' is correctly used in A to give examples..

A


Can we not use "thieves" as common subject for both clause?
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2018, 03:37
I wish i knew who the testmakers are . I swear to god ill kill them and happily go to prison. Atleast ill be doing a greater deed. I hate exceptions.

apparently these are the people who never get picked in any sports. Reason : too dumb to understand rules.uugghh!!
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat &nbs [#permalink] 06 Oct 2018, 03:37

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