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

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At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 22 Jan 2019, 21:36
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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

Originally posted by raghavs on 22 Feb 2010, 10:41.
Last edited by Bunuel on 22 Jan 2019, 21:36, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about  [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2012, 09:25
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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.

Image

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.
Shraddha
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Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2010, 14:17
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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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Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2010, 12:42
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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

Pls explain your answers.


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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Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about  [#permalink]

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

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 12:25
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: At a time when it was unusual to do it, Dorothy Sterling wrote about   [#permalink] 22 Jan 2019, 12:25
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