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# At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling

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Manager
Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 137
WE 1: 4 years in IT
At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2010, 10:41
1
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Difficulty:

5% (low)

Question Stats:

83% (00:17) correct 17% (00:33) wrong based on 176 sessions

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At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about such major figures of
Black history as Harriet Tubman and W.E.B. Du Bois.
(A) it was unusual to do it
(B) it was unusual to do so
(C) doing that was unusual
(D) that was an unusual thing to be doing
(E) it was not usual to do

OA--B
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Joined: 28 Aug 2009
Posts: 153
Location: St. Louis, MO
Schools: Cornell (Bach. of Sci.), UCLA Anderson (MBA)
Re: At a time when it was.... [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2010, 14:17
2
Interesting question that tests a couple facts about "it."

(1) "It" doesn't always require an antecedent. For example, "it rained all day and night" or "it seemed like an eternity since we last saw her."

(2) Don't say "do it" if the "it" you have in mind is an action. Just say "do so."
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At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2010, 11:29
1
1
At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about such major figures of Black history as Harriet Tubman and W. E. B. Du Bois.

A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

C. doing that was unusual

D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

E. it was not usual to do

Senior Manager
Joined: 06 Jun 2009
Posts: 317
Location: USA
WE 1: Engineering

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04 Oct 2010, 12:42
1
goalsnr wrote:
At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about such major figures of Black history as Harriet Tubman and W. E. B. Du Bois.

A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

C. doing that was unusual

D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

E. it was not usual to do

Pronoun "it" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

Pronoun "that" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned C. doing that was unusual

Pronoun "that" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned. Plus awkward. D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

Unusual would be better than not usual. Plus, awkward construction E. it was not usual to do
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05 Oct 2010, 00:37
+1 for B , sentence with when must not be a fragmented sentencce with ambiguity
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05 Oct 2010, 07:06
goalsnr wrote:
At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about such major figures of Black history as Harriet Tubman and W. E. B. Du Bois.

A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

C. doing that was unusual

D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

E. it was not usual to do

Pronoun "it" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

Pronoun "that" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned C. doing that was unusual

Pronoun "that" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned. Plus awkward. D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

Unusual would be better than not usual. Plus, awkward construction E. it was not usual to do

Thanks.
The SC is basically testing for pronouns in a situation where the noun is absent. Kudos!
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Joined: 06 Jun 2009
Posts: 317
Location: USA
WE 1: Engineering

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05 Oct 2010, 07:29
goalsnr wrote:
goalsnr wrote:
At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about such major figures of Black history as Harriet Tubman and W. E. B. Du Bois.

A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

C. doing that was unusual

D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

E. it was not usual to do

Pronoun "it" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned A. it was unusual to do it

B. it was unusual to do so

Pronoun "that" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned C. doing that was unusual

Pronoun "that" refers to the noun that has not yet been mentioned. Plus awkward. D. that was an unusual thing to be doing

Unusual would be better than not usual. Plus, awkward construction E. it was not usual to do

Thanks.
The SC is basically testing for pronouns in a situation where the noun is absent. Kudos!

Thanks.

Plus, as far as GMAT is considered, "it" and "that" are ambiguous. "do so" is always (always) preferred over "do it".
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Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling [#permalink]

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03 May 2012, 08:03
To do so is preferable, but is there any reason why C is wrong? Thanks.
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Posts: 2525
Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling [#permalink]

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03 May 2012, 09:25
4
gmatfighter12 wrote:
To do so is preferable, but is there any reason why C is wrong? Thanks.

Hi,

At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about such major figures of Black history as Harriet Tubman and W. E. B. Du Bois.

I would first like to explain why “doing so” is preferable to “doing it”. Once you know the difference, you will have no problem in using pronouns correctly in such sentences.
Pronouns can only and only refer to “nouns” and “other pronouns”. It can refer to no other entity in the sentence. However, in the original sentence here, pronoun “it” has been used to refer the verb “wrote”. What was unusual at that time? To write about major figures of Black history was unusual. Therefore, here “it” is incorrectly referring to the “verb”. This makes the usage of “it” incorrect in this sentence. When we replace “it” with “so”, the entire phrase becomes “doing so” or “to do so”, a verb phrase that can easily refer to a verb, in this case “wrote”. This is reason why, “doing so” is not only preferred but is grammatically correct when it comes to refer to an action in the sentence.

Now let’s discuss choice C: doing that was unusual: This choice is incorrect because again relative pronoun “that” is referring to verb “wrote”. This is incorrect because this pronoun also can only refer to a noun.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2017, 00:26
Merged topics. Please, search before posting questions!
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At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling   [#permalink] 25 Aug 2017, 00:26
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