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# Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel

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Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 21 Oct 2018, 21:28
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Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain quiescent in the earliest phases of an embryo’s development.

(A) tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain

(B) tell individual genes both at which time they should become active or should remain

(C) tells individual genes both when to become active or remain

(D) tells individual genes both when to become active or when to remain

(E) will tell an individual gene both about when it should become active and remain

OA is "A".

Just a little query. "One of the substances" is singular (I suppose). We selected the verb form "tell". Why?? Is it because the modifier "that" is used immediately after "substances"???

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Originally posted by Hussain15 on 28 Aug 2009, 12:56.
Last edited by Bunuel on 21 Oct 2018, 21:28, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2012, 10:57
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There is a simple clue that will do the trick. The clue is the word ‘both’, which acts as the first part of the correlative conjunction - both…. and, to describe two events, namely, when to become and when to remain. It implies therefore that any choice using the conjunction ‘or’ is out of way; B, C, and D are gone. Between, A and E, it does not take much time to eliminate E, what with E being ridden with so many flaws such as the unidiomatic ‘both about’ and the use of the future tense ‘will’ for an eternal fact.

The other route is to remain committed that the subordinate verb is tell, following a restrictive pronoun ‘that’ and then choose A over B for reasons of concision.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2009, 12:30
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Hussain15 wrote:
OA is "A".

Just a little query. "One of the substances" is singular (I suppose). We selected the verb form "tell". Why?? Is it because the modifier "that" is used immediately after "substances"???

here that modifies the substances because the sentences says that among the substances that tell individual genes ... Biologist believe that they have found one.

the pattern "one of the X that/who " is followed by a plural verb.

Consider this similar example

David is one of my friends who wear a hat.

Here wear is plural because refers to your friends. What I'm saying is that among my friends who wear a hat, David is one of them.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2009, 12:24
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"That" is a relative pronoun , so it can only refer to a single subject not a phrase or a clause
here that is refeering to substances not the phrase "one of the sbstances"
hope this helps
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Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 02 Apr 2019, 00:18
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As per the relative pronoun touch – rule, a relative pronoun such as that, which, and who etc must modify the noun touching it and thus, it assumes the traits of the noun’s number and gender. In this given case, therefore 'that' relates to 'substances' and eventually needs a plural verb tell'.

The intent of the text is that there are several substances that tell this and that but the experts believe they have found just one of them.

That said, the correct idiom is ‘both when to’ rather than ‘both at which time’ or ‘both about when’.

A survives.

P.S. The golden rule about the subject-verb agreement is that the subject always determines the verb and not vice versa. So verbs 'tell' or 'tells' cannot decide if the subject is one or substances.
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Originally posted by daagh on 22 Feb 2011, 07:48.
Last edited by daagh on 02 Apr 2019, 00:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2011, 20:45
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MGMAT says

Quote:
“So if I had this option "That school's students, who have been sick, are feeling better" then I'd prefer to say it that way so I can have students right next to who. But if I didn't have such an option, then it would be okay to say "the students at that school, who have been sick, are feeling better" because I need to specify that I'm not talking about random students in general but specifically "students at that school" - this entire noun phrase describes the specific students I want to discuss.”

The above quote explains that the exception is accepted when the most right theoretical choice is not available, but not when a rock solid copy book case is there in front .

Quote:
Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain quiescent in the earliest phases of an embryo's development.

(A) tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain
(B) tell individual genes both at which time they should become active and should remain
(C) tells individual genes both when to become active and when to remain
(D) tells individual genes both when to activate and when to
(E) tell an individual gene both about when it should become active and when it should remain

I would accept the exception to the touch rule if there existed no choice with the verb 'tell'; There are at least three choices that follow the classic touch rule and therefore it will be prudent to choose among them. Simply a logical case to go after the exception doesn’t exist in the given case IMO

2. @ hellishbrain: Let us compare your example of daagh

daagh is the only one of GMATClubbers who answers the questions. ( your sentence)

daagh is one of GMATClubbers who answers the questions. – ( another sentence) Now which verb is correct?" Answer or answers"? You can’t still stick on to the verb ‘answers” Am I right?

In your sentence the use of the phrase ‘the only one’, that includes a definitive article ‘the’ makes all the difference between the meanings of the two.

Let us not delve into Bob’s versions at the moment, as they relate to a different context.

The issue of the object of the preposition deciding the nature of the verb, mostly arises in the case of the SANAM pronouns( Some, all, none, any, and most) and the pronoun “one´ is not among them. I wonder whether any OG or GPREP question has ever tested the validity of such a ticklish issue given the aversion of GMAT to indulge in controversies.

But the take away according to me should be ” Do not rush to use an exception without a need for it” ; The risk in overusing an exception is that one day the exception will become the rule and the rule an exception.

PS:Will my readers pardon me for such a lengthy essay?
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 13 Jul 2012, 22:40
Guys,

I would suggest all of you to refer to the MGMAT forum to clear this doubt.

http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/sin ... t1400.html

"One of the" construct is NOT always considered singular. Many of the answers in the 1000 SC collections are not correct.

Correcting my statement (Adding a NOT which i missed earlier and changed the whole meaning. ... sorry for the confusion.

Thanks!!

Originally posted by jainvik7 on 13 Jul 2012, 08:10.
Last edited by jainvik7 on 13 Jul 2012, 22:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2012, 09:42
@jainvik7

Quote:
"One of the" construct is always considered singular.

I am afraid one cannot justify such a wide remark. You may refer to Stacey’s observation in the link you have cited.

Quote:
Your middle sentence has a different structure. Here's the core of each:

1) One of the ethnic groups was (main subj=one, main verb=was)

2) A higher interest rate is only one of the factors that keep (main subj=rate, main verb=was. THEN "one of the factors that keep" is a subordinate clause - the "that" indicates a noun modifier, so it refers to the noun right before it - "factors")

3) One of the students was (main subj = one, main verb = was)

So the question is what noun to match with what verb. In a sentence in which you have a straight "one of the noun verb," one is going to match with that verb. In a sentence in which you have "noun verb one of the noun THAT verb" the verb is going to go with the noun immediately preceding the word "that."

You may thus see it is not always that 'one of the construct' is singular, as you have mentioned. Secondly, in this present example, you see the prevalence of the subordinate clause introduced by the noun modifier ‘that’ . So the verb is going to be plural in this case, namely ‘tell’ rather than the singular ‘tells’.

Am I right?
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2012, 11:17
hey i studied Stacey's explanation on the forum. But still not very clear as to when consider one of the as singular and when to consider it plural.

@daagh: can you please give a detail explanation?
It would be really very helpful
Thanx
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2012, 13:20
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Consider these examples.

One of the books in the rack has been written by Irving Wallace

This is a simple sentence with ‘one ‘as the subject, of the books as the prepositional intermediary and ‘is ‘as the verb. In this case, the subject and the verb are singular.

Look at the next case. One of the books that have been written by Irving Wallace is in the rack. --- here the main clause is ‘one of the books is in the rack’ and the subordinate clause introduced by the relative pronoun and the conjunction is ‘that have been written by Irving Wallace’. The verb of this subordinate cluse will be plural, since the relative pronoun refers to the noun before and takes on its characteristics such as number and gender. Hence, the subject of the subordinate clause is plural in nature and the verb is plural.

This is what Stacey says according to me. In other words, whenever you see a relative pronoun such as that or who etc, in a complex sentence that contains ‘ one of the construct’ , be guided by the number of the noun it touches for determining the number of the verb.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2012, 18:38
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For this sentence, 'one of the substances' is not singular. If we take a closer look we are describing substances. Which substances? The ones that 'tell individual...' Therefore, we can eliminate (C), (D). (We can get rid of (E) because the future tense is not required; the 'it' is wordy).

The idiom is BOTH X and Y. (B) has BOTH X or Y. Thus the answer is (A).

Hope that helps .
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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18 Apr 2016, 04:58
Quote:
+1 for A.
the relative pronoun that refers to substances and thus the verb must be plural. thus C & D are eliminated.
the correct idiom is both X and Y. In B, this idiom is not used correctly. hence this answer choice is eliminated.
in E - the entities from the structure both X and Y are not parallel.
tell an individual gene - changes meaning.

I guess D is correct as it uses 'tells' according to the rule, ' One of the' + noun (plural) + singular verb. Please correct me if I am wrong.[/quote]

you are partly wrong, "that" is the demonstrative pronoun, its antecedent is substances

biologists found one of the substances

these substances tell smth

since that refers to substances, the plural verb tell is needed.

it would be correct if "that" was not present here.

one of the substances tells - ok
but this is not the case[/quote]

This question is troubling and if someone can explain to me clearer, I will much appreciate it.

The idea of "that" baffles me because
1) I understand that GMAT uses "that" to modify the preceding noun "substances". However, the meaning does not make sense to me because it is not all the substances that "tell(s)" the gene when to become active or not, but that "one" substance. That is the meaning of the sentence to me. If we are applying GMAT's rule strictly though, I guess we have no problems.
2) But, as in this link http://gmatclub.com/forum/horses-have-a-unique-system-of-interlocking-ligaments-and-bones-192969.html, i can say sufficiently that the "that" can modify the "XX of YY and ZZ" if it sufficiently makes sense for the meaning of the statement.
3) This means that there should not be any hard rule or there are exceptions to this rule, especially if it makes sense. So if, say the exceptions, liken that of "XX of YY, which" when "which" modifies XX, doesn't it also mean that our question here, with "that", should modify "one" and give our answer "tells"?

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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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18 Apr 2016, 05:53
scottleey wrote:

This question is troubling and if someone can explain to me clearer, I will much appreciate it.

The idea of "that" baffles me because
1) I understand that GMAT uses "that" to modify the preceding noun "substances". However, the meaning does not make sense to me because it is not all the substances that "tell(s)" the gene when to become active or not, but that "one" substance. That is the meaning of the sentence to me. If we are applying GMAT's rule strictly though, I guess we have no problems.
2) But, as in this link http://gmatclub.com/forum/horses-have-a-unique-system-of-interlocking-ligaments-and-bones-192969.html, i can say sufficiently that the "that" can modify the "XX of YY and ZZ" if it sufficiently makes sense for the meaning of the statement.
3) This means that there should not be any hard rule or there are exceptions to this rule, especially if it makes sense. So if, say the exceptions, liken that of "XX of YY, which" when "which" modifies XX, doesn't it also mean that our question here, with "that", should modify "one" and give our answer "tells"?

Hi,
1) "that" in "One of the substances that" correctly refers back to substances..
The meaning is also correct..
It does not mean that all substances tell the gene..., It is rather putting retriction on the substances..
We are now talking of ONLY those substances that tell the gene..... AND scientists have found ONE of them...
2) Yes which and that can refer to some slightly faraway noun at times. In these conditions generally there is no verb in between and there is no ambiguity.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances  [#permalink]

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18 Apr 2016, 06:21
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scottleey wrote:
The idea of "that" baffles me because
1) I understand that GMAT uses "that" to modify the preceding noun "substances". However, the meaning does not make sense to me because it is not all the substances that "tell(s)" the gene when to become active or not, but that "one" substance. That is the meaning of the sentence to me. If we are applying GMAT's rule strictly though, I guess we have no problems.

Basically the sentence is trying to say:

- There are many substances that tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain quiescent.
- Biologists have found one of them.

Quote:
2) But, as in this link http://gmatclub.com/forum/horses-have-a-unique-system-of-interlocking-ligaments-and-bones-192969.html, i can say sufficiently that the "that" can modify the "XX of YY and ZZ" if it sufficiently makes sense for the meaning of the statement.

This horses example is one of the numerous examples in OG that illustrate that that can modify a faraway word; but it all depends on the logic. For example in the horses example, clearly the unique system serves as a kind of sling.

Quote:
3) This means that there should not be any hard rule or there are exceptions to this rule, especially if it makes sense. So if, say the exceptions, liken that of "XX of YY, which" when "which" modifies XX, doesn't it also mean that our question here, with "that", should modify "one" and give our answer "tells"?

The only exception to this one of pattern is when the word only appears as part of this structure. For example:

Mercedes is the only one among the luxury cars that has a global fan following.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses that, its application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id, I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2018, 10:19
egmat: Could you please explain the correct use verb in such scenarios?
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Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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09 Mar 2019, 15:05
Hussain15 wrote:
Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain quiescent in the earliest phases of an embryo’s development.

(A) tell individual genes both when to become active and when to remain

(B) tell individual genes both at which time they should become active or should remain

(C) tells individual genes both when to become active or remain

(D) tells individual genes both when to become active or when to remain

(E) will tell an individual gene both about when it should become active and remain

If you remember the idiom "Both X and Y" you can eliminate all answers expect A
If you didn't, you can eliminate C and D because "substances...tells" have an SV agreement error.
E: "will tell... should" doesn't make sense
B: They could refer to "individual genes" or "substances" (pronoun ambiguity isn't always wrong). Plus A is more concise
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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20 Mar 2019, 20:44
when to become is a phrase in which when works as a noun.
similar phrase is
the time to go is not defined
when clause can work as a noun (1st sentence) or adverb (2nd sentence)
i do not know when you come
i will meet you when you come here.
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Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel  [#permalink]

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31 May 2019, 02:39
I see that there are lot of examples given by experts of the forum to explain the use of One of the...construction.
However, I would like to quote Aristotle's SC Grail here for the sake of easy comprehension for everyone:
1. One of the ‘Noun’ (will always be plural) + that/who + will go with Plural Verb.
2. One of the ‘Noun’ (will always be plural)+ will go with Singular Verb (usually ‘is’)
Re: Biologists believe that they have found one of the substances that tel   [#permalink] 31 May 2019, 02:39
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