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# As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat

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25 Mar 2019, 06:46
It can be a cakewalk if you are aware of some points

1) The exception to not only X but also Y construction

The usual construction is: subject not only verb but also verb

but the exception is : not only verb subject but pronoun also verb

since the question stem says "not only can thieves" it demands the exception construction

Furthermore, not only x but y, is also acceptable

not only x also y, is also acceptable
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As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2019, 15:30
Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a GMAT question that focuses on parallelism! Let's start by taking a quick look at the original question, and then highlight any major differences between the options in orange:

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

After a quick glance over our options, a few key differences jump out that we can focus on:

1. they can also pilfer / also pilfering / but also pilfer / but also pilfer (Parallelism)
2. such as / that includes / including (Idioms & Meaning)
3. and sell / and selling / selling / to sell (Parallelism)

Let's start off with #1 and #3 on our list because they both deal with the same issue: parallelism! Whenever you see a list on the GMAT, it's a good idea to do a quick check for parallelism because that's a pretty common issue with list questions! When we look at the original sentence, we can see that this is a somewhat complex list:

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.

We need to ask ourselves "What are thieves able to do?":

1. divert cash from company bank accounts
2. pilfer information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans
3. sell data to competitors

Let's check each of our options to make sure each item on the list is worded using parallel structure. We already know that the word "divert" stays the same because it's not underlined...which is a hint for how the other items should be worded! Let's see how they break down:

(A) they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell --> divert / pilfer / sell = PARALLEL

(B) they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling --> divert / pilfer / selling = NOT PARALLEL

(C) also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling --> divert / pilfering / selling = NOT PARALLEL

(D) but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell --> divert / pilfer / to sell = NOT PARALLEL
(This is also incorrect because by eliminating the comma after "plans," it changes the meaning. It now pushes together "contract bidding plans," which should be part of item #2 on our list, and "to sell the data to competitors," which needs to be a separate item.)

(E) but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling --> divert / pilfering / selling = NOT PARALLEL

There you go - option A is the only one that uses parallelism with this list question! By focusing on common problems with list questions, we were able to narrow down wrong answers rather quickly!

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15 May 2019, 04:44
1
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.

What constitutes the sentence is an Independent Clause[ As criminal..becomes..sophisticated], IC[not only are thieves able to divert...accounts], IC[they can also pilfer..and sell..].

FANBOYS are to be used to separate IC's and not commas, which would make them run-on sentences. Are we not using above commas to separate IC's ?
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15 May 2019, 06:13
Hi Divya, As criminal..becomes..sophisticated is a Dependent clause.
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15 May 2019, 08:41
EducationAisle wrote:
Hi Divya, As criminal..becomes..sophisticated is a Dependent clause.

OK, What about the the next two IC's separated by comma.
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15 May 2019, 09:14
Actually not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts is also not an IC. The presence of not only clearly indicates that there is something else to follow.

In fact, the real lesson to learn from this sentence is that not only need not necessarily be followed by but also.
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31 May 2019, 08:16
Think gh I can understand why D is wrong, but this completely goes against the theory explained in Manhattan Sentence correction. Manhattan clearly says that "not only" has to follow "but also".

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21 Jul 2019, 19:51
Hello , generis

In option A , I am concerned about the connector and.

if you connect 2 sentences/ clauses with "and" you are implying that the two sentences are independent of each other.
But I think they pilfer to sell. These are not independent.
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As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2019, 22:57
Quote:
(A) 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.

akash7gupta11 wrote:
Hello , generis

In option A , I am concerned about the connector and.

if you connect 2 sentences/ clauses with "and" you are implying that the two sentences are independent of each other.
But I think they pilfer to sell. These are not independent.

akash7gupta11 , I am not exactly sure what you are asking.
Is the official question correct? Yes.
As far as the highlighted sentence: I think that the idea is slightly overstated.

She went to an Ivy League school and [thereby] bought herself options.
She went to an Ivy League school in order to buy herself options.

See my citation in the footnote. Both sentences are acceptable. AND can be used for sentences that are not logically independent of each other.

This is a correct answer to an official question.
We need to figure out how to tweak your theory about "and." The theory is not quite correct. Answer A is correct.

We are allowed to use "and" in order to separate the second part of a compound subject from a list in the first part of the compound subject.

Essentially, we have two lists. After not only are the thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, we find out that the thieves can also engage in two other broad kinds of activity.
THEY can
--- pilfer data X, data Y, and data Z
AND
-- sell the data

This setup is called a compound predicate (one subject followed by two verbs).

The first verb phrase that begins with pilfer lists three examples.
They can
------pilfer valuable information SUCH AS
--------------new product specifications, AND
--------------contract bidding plans,
AND
------sell the data to competitors.

We have two lists. We need an AND for the last item of the first list as well as an AND to precede the second part of the two-part verb.

I can't figure out why you object to the and.
You seem to be bothered by the meaning.

If you believe that intent should be reflected by replacing the second AND with in order to, in this question
and according to these options, that preference is not a necessity.

AND can join two clauses in which one makes the other possible.*

The sentence says, "Thieves can get money THIS way [bank accounts]; they can also steal X, Y, and Z, and sell the stolen goods to competitors [and get money THAT way].
Thieves pilfer things and sell them. Thieves pilfer things in order to sell them.
You might like the second sentence better, but it's not a reason to reject an answer unless the answer choices are clearly testing whether AND is out of place.

That option is not among these choices.

You might be bothered by the successive use of comma + and.
As I mentioned, such successive use is fine when required.
We need another AND to set the second part of the predicate off from the last item in the list.

I agree with you. The thieves do pilfer those things in order to sell them. But intent does not automatically lead to result.
This sentence discusses types of sophisticated criminal activity, not the mindset of thieves.
In other words, the thieves can steal the data and can sell what they stole, and these activities, above and beyond "merely" hacking a bank account, demonstrate the increasing sophistication of criminal activity on the internet.

This sentence describes those facts. The situation might be otherwise—no market is guaranteed.

It's okay that the sentence uses a conjunction to state that the thieves steal data and sell data.

Hope that helps.

**The uses of AND
13.23 (a) The second clause is a CONSEQUENCE or RESULT of the first; i.e., the first conjoin presents the circumstances (frequently the circumstantial background) enabling the event described in the second conjoin to take place. This [kind of AND conjunction] entails that the order of the clauses also reflects chronological sequence:

He heard an explosion and he (therefore) phoned the police.
Quirk et al. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. §§13.22-23

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26 Jul 2019, 04:14
Just to ensure my understanding of the "not only..but also" idiom, would the following be a correct way of using it in this context?

"As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, the 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, and sell the data to competitors.
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31 Jul 2019, 10:46
NOT ONLY..... BUT ALSO IS USED FOR ONLY TWO THINGS. FOR MORE THAN TWO ELEMENTS WE HAVE TO USE A PARALLEL LIST, RIGHT? CAN
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2019, 00:41
So I would like to approach this a below:

Reading the complete statement is necessary.

1. Option B and Option C, use INCLUDING to state examples which is unidiomatic, wherein SUCH AS is the perfect word to be used to state examples.

2. When it comes to usage of Not only.... But also... ( Parallelism need to be maintained)
The correct usage would be: The ministers are Not only thieves.... But also Murderers.. . However, options (D and E) fail to use the same correctly and fail to deliver the intended meaning.

3. The last element
Option A: ... and Sell Correct usage and maintains parallelism using AND --- to divert and pilfer
Option D: ... to Sell Eliminated because Meaning.. The statement doesnt say Theives only pilfer to Sell, they could also use it or destory it..
Option E: and Selling...Eliminated because lack of Parallelism using AND
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14 Sep 2019, 00:46
Hi,

I have a doubt regarding this question.

they can also pilfer info such as----, and sell data...
",and" construction is used for to connect 2 ICs. But in this case, "'and sell data.." does not have a subject.

How is this construction OK?

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

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14 Sep 2019, 07:23
chetan2u 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

That's a very crisp and clear reply.Chetan sir one doubt..Is there any meaning error as well by any chance ...in the usage of 'to sell'..
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2019, 16:10
Snigdha241 wrote:
Hi,

I have a doubt regarding this question.

they can also pilfer info such as----, and sell data...
",and" construction is used for to connect 2 ICs. But in this case, "'and sell data.." does not have a subject.

How is this construction OK?

Snigdha

Quote:
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.

I think some of the confusion here stems from the fact that there's one parallel list nested within another parallel list.

parallel list #1: "...they can also pilfer valuable information... and sell the data..."
parallel list #2 (nested inside list #1): "... valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans..."

The comma between "plans" and the "and" (highlighted above) is NOT there to connect two independent clauses. Instead, it just helps separate list #2 ("such as... strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans") from list #1 ("pilfer... and sell"). This comma is simply used for clarity, and the GMAT is pretty flexible with that sort of comma usage. So there's no problem there at all.

prakhar992 wrote:
NOT ONLY..... BUT ALSO IS USED FOR ONLY TWO THINGS. FOR MORE THAN TWO ELEMENTS WE HAVE TO USE A PARALLEL LIST, RIGHT? CAN

Yes! The construction is, "... not only X but also Y," so it is generally used for two "things".

However, those "things" could certainly be comprised of multiple items, i.e.:

"Coconut oil is great not only 1) for culinary uses such as frying, sautéing, and baking but also 2) for health and beauty applications such as relieving skin irritation and protecting hair from UV damage."

I hope that helps!
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Re: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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22 Dec 2019, 15:20
GMATNinja wrote:
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.

Great post, as always.
I have a question though. You mentioned that in (D), 'to sell' seems to modify only 'contract bidding plans'. But I understood 'to sell' to modify 'pilfer valuable information' hence written correctly here. Could you shed more light on why you think 'to sell' modifies only 'contract bidding plans'.
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As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticat  [#permalink]

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29 Dec 2019, 07:40
GMATNinja wrote:
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 GMATNinja,

First of all, wishing you a very happy Christmas and a very happy upcoming new year!

While parallelism is undoubtedly faulty in all of the incorrect answer choices, there is the below split which I used to eliminate options B and C straightaway. It would be great if you can through some light on the split and review my approach.

My understanding of the correct version:
Correct version - valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans
Out of all the varieties of valuable information available these thieves pilfered 3 pieces i.e. business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans

My understanding of the versions in B and C:
Usage in B - valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans
Usage in C - valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans

What I understand is that the thieves pilfered all the available varieties of valuable information (against only the 3 specified in the correct version) and part of what they pilfered included business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans

Warm Regards,
Pritishd
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