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Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in

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Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2013, 16:10
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Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in patients undergoing split-brain surgery if the corpus collosum is not severed entirely, but instead is left partially intact.

A. Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible
B. Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be a possibility
C. It may be possible to avoid split-brain syndrome
D. It may be possible that split-brain syndrome is avoided
E. Avoiding split-brain syndrome is possible


[Reveal] Spoiler:
Source: Kaplan
It seems that this question is out of the scope of GMAT problems
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 12:08
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ftwsday wrote:
Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in patients undergoing split-brain surgery if the corpus collosum is not severed entirely, but instead is left partially intact.

A. Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible
B. Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be a possibility
C. It may be possible to avoid split-brain syndrome
D. It may be possible that split-brain syndrome is avoided
E. Avoiding split-brain syndrome is possible


[Reveal] Spoiler:
Source: Kaplan
It seems that this question is out of the scope of GMAT problems

Dear ftwsday,
I'm happy to weigh in with my two cents on this. :-)

I agree: I think something is funky about this question. I don't think it is a very good SC question.

I could see an argument that "may be possible" is redundant ---- the word "possible" already implies something may or may not happen, so there's arguably a bit of redundancy in the phrase "may be possible". If they were testing that, I could see an argument for answer choice (E), the only one that avoids this. Aside from that, I see no problem in answer choice (A), and certainly don't see how (C) is an improvement on (A). Whatever criteria they have in mind for this question is not something the GMAT SC section will test.

Here's a high quality GMAT SC practice question for you:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3563

Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike :-)
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 12:31
Hi Mike.

Thank you for your explanation. It does help. I'm still wondering why the syntax "may be possible" is used quite often even in official writing? According to American English in general and GMAT field in particular, is the syntax considered redundant? I just pay my attention to GMAT/American English.

Please kindly confirm.

Thank you in advance.
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 13:08
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"May be possible" seems like it could be redundant, but it really produces a difference in meaning.

I would use "is possible" in situations where the outcome is somewhat binary: possible vs. not possible.
"It is possible to enter the house when the door is unlocked" (You can open the door and go it)
vs.
"It is not possible to enter the house when the door is locked". (It's locked, you are stuck outside)

Using "may be possible" adds an element of uncertainty to these "possible/not possible" scenarios.
"It may be possible to enter the house when the door is unlocked" (Is it your house? Do you have permission?)
"It may be possible to enter the house through a window when the door is locked." (We don't know if there is an open window, but maybe we can find one to crawl through).

KW
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 13:15
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pqhai wrote:
Hi Mike.

Thank you for your explanation. It does help. I'm still wondering why the syntax "may be possible" is used quite often even in official writing? According to American English in general and GMAT field in particular, is the syntax considered redundant? I just pay my attention to GMAT/American English.

Please kindly confirm.

Thank you in advance.

Dear pqhai,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here, we are getting into a level of logical hair-splitting far beyond anything the GMAT would test.

In some scenarios, we know with certainty that something is a possibility. If I draw 5 cards from a full 52-card deck, it is possible, though unlikely, that I will draw a straight. It may not happen, even on ten tries, but it definitely is always a possibility. BTW, the exact probability is about 0.0039. In this scenario, the phrase "may be possible" would be entirely redundant.

In other scenarios, in which the future is unknown, it even the array of possibilities might be unknown. For example:
When we travel for three hours in the snow and get to the isolated cabin, it may be possible to call the nearest town.
In other words, in that scenario, we don't know whether the land-line phone in the cabin will be operational when we arrive. If the phone is operational, then calling the nearest town will be a possibility, but before we arrive, we don't know the state of the phone. In such scenarios, the phrase "may be possible" would definitely not be redundant --- it would be accurate.

Now, in the SC question above, is the array of possibilities already determined, and we just don't know which result will arise within this fixed array? Or is the array itself in question? That's not clear to me. I just suggested the possibility of redundancy as an attempt to create any meaningful split among the answer choices. I think the question is predicated on splits far less sophisticated than what we are discussing here.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 14:56
Thanks Mike and Kyle.
I saw both of you arrived to the same conclusion - "may be possible" is not totally wrong in English. Frankly, it took me a while to digest your idea that targets at meaning splitting, not only grammars. It's clear now. :)
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 15:22
Glad to help. You do need to be aware of meaning differences from one sentence to another. These meaning "splits" will often come from changes in word choice. Luckily, there is some overlap between meaning and grammar because the GMAT will use a lot of misplaced Modifiers to mess with the meaning.

KW
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2018, 13:01
The reason why I chose C is because IMO "split-brain syndrome in patients" belongs together. There would be some meaning ambiguity if the two parts would be separated.
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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2018, 23:16
ftwsday wrote:
Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in patients undergoing split-brain surgery if the corpus collosum is not severed entirely, but instead is left partially intact.

A. Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible
B. Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be a possibility
C. It may be possible to avoid split-brain syndrome
D. It may be possible that split-brain syndrome is avoided
E. Avoiding split-brain syndrome is possible




I don't see any problem with (E) also. Please clarify the subtle differences in all the answer choices.

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Re: Avoiding split-brain syndrome may be possible in   [#permalink] 12 Apr 2018, 23:16
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