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By 1999, astronomers had discovered

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By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016

Practice Question
Question No.: 137
Page: 699


By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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We do require the past perfect here to denote a past event; By 1999 'have discovered' does not make sense. Drop D and E. Among A, B, C:

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets --- correct choice ----- the 17 starts are the object of the verb discovered.

B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were ---‘them’ refers to stars logically, ‘ that were’ renders a wrong meaning that the stars were about the size of Jupiter

C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets --- This choice alters the meaning that the planets are not any more orbiting the stars
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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JarvisR wrote:
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planet
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets


Can you please explain how it can be A? had discovered means the discovery happened before the first action? Are you sure this is from OG?

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

OG Answer:
Opening with a past date (1999) describing the end point of a period of discovery, this sentence calls for a past perfect main verb to follow the subject astronomers. In order to economize on words and maximize clarity, the object of the main clause, stars, is modified by a passive relative clause that are orbited by planets followed by the adjective phrase about the size of Jupiter. This structure avoids an awkward and confusing clauses and prepositional phrases.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2015, 16:15
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

Meaning is quite important here. "By 1999" implies that astronomers are continuously discovering these type of stars and that the number of the discovered stars by that year should be emphasized, not the discovery itself. C and E are ruled out.

The structure in C and E could be used if the sentence started with "In 1999". The way they are used now is awkward.

B and D are unnecessarily wordy.

A is sound and logical.

IMHO, when the given sentence only uses one tense, making decisions based on tenses is not the best idea. You cannot make comparisons to other events and are prone to errors.

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2015, 17:00
Hi,
I wonder whether there is a problem in "were about the size ..." in choice B? Does it indicate that the fact that those planets are about the size of Jupiter is no longer true, and that is the reason why this choice is incorrect.

In choice A, I did not choose it because of the word "are orbited". I though the sentence is about past event, then all verb should be in past tense.

Please help me with this problem. Thanks!

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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tronghieu1987 wrote:
Hi,
I wonder whether there is a problem in "were about the size ..." in choice B? Does it indicate that the fact that those planets are about the size of Jupiter is no longer true, and that is the reason why this choice is incorrect.

In choice A, I did not choose it because of the word "are orbited". I though the sentence is about past event, then all verb should be in past tense.

Please help me with this problem. Thanks!


In B, there is an ambiguity. "that" could be referring to the stars or the planets. It's not a solid sentence.
Again, I would say answering based on tenses could be misleading here. There are safer clues you can use. But I think using simple present tense is okay since these planets probably have been orbiting these stars for billions of years and are going to do so for another billions of years.

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2015, 18:56
SevkoGs wrote:
tronghieu1987 wrote:
Hi,
I wonder whether there is a problem in "were about the size ..." in choice B? Does it indicate that the fact that those planets are about the size of Jupiter is no longer true, and that is the reason why this choice is incorrect.

In choice A, I did not choose it because of the word "are orbited". I though the sentence is about past event, then all verb should be in past tense.

Please help me with this problem. Thanks!


In B, there is an ambiguity. "that" could be referring to the stars or the planets. It's not a solid sentence.
Again, I would say answering based on tenses could be misleading here. There are safer clues you can use. But I think using simple present tense is okay since these planets probably have been orbiting these stars for billions of years and are going to do so for another billions of years.


Thanks for your explanation. I was concentrating too much on the different tenses in this questions.

As you said, there is not a 100% correct tense in this sentence. But according to the OG explanation for choice B, "the past tense verb "were" suggests, improbably, that the size of the planets may have changed significantly since 1999". So I don't know if I could use this kind of verb tense error in another questions.

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2016, 11:20
JarvisR wrote:
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planet
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets


The typo of "planet" in a screwed me over, how silly that I didn't verify it by the question stem where it clearly says "planets" -_x

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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JarvisR wrote:
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planet
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets


Here, 1999 is implied past tense, so the discovery had taken place before 1999 so it takes Had#
eliminate D and E
B what does them refer to is it scientists or stars, this is reference error, so eliminate B
C were is wrong here because it is natural phenomena which is occurring even now so, we can eliminate C
Therefore answer is A

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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This is an excellent question that checks the usage of "That"!

I found this game on "That" - Check it out. It's awesome - made the concept very clear.
http://web.ku.edu/~edit/that.html

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

Error Type(s):
Verb Tense (Past Perfect; Tense)

A quick scan of the options makes quick work of this one before we read the sentence carefully---Verb Tense is in play. Specifically, because of the word “had” we know to investigate whether there were two events that concluded in the past. If there were, then we got to get rid of options D and E since "have" would be incorrect. If there were not two events in the past, then we get to chuck options A, B and C since "had" would be incorrect. Either way, there’s a big victory to be had right at the start.

Since 1999 is being reference in terms of the discoveries that had taken place at that point, this sentence reverts us back to 1999, and then discusses the discoveries that had already occurred by that point. Past perfect? Yep. The chronology looks like this:

Chronology of Events
Event 1: Discovery of 17 stars with planetary systems
Event 2: 1999
Now (the time the sentence was written)

Chuck D and E. Specifically, these options are out because if we’re referring back to 1999, a point in the past, we wouldn’t use simple present ongoing tense (have).

So now, between options A, B, and C: when is this orbiting happening? The whole way through this discussion: before discovery, after, and ongoing from now. These stars ARE orbited by planets---the orbits didn’t suddenly stop after discovery. That means C is definitely out since it puts the orbit in the past.

With B, “were about the size of Jupiter” suggests that the size of these planets has changed since discovery. Gone.

A, correct as written: past perfect is correctly applied, and the Verb Tense is successfully structured to imply that the rotation and size are ongoing.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2016, 13:16
JarvisR wrote:
OG16 SC137
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter


A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
stars are still orbited by planets. hence present tense is correct. we use present tense for universal truths.

B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
"stars with planets" is wrong.

C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
there were stars that were orbited. -- looks like stars do not exist any more and planets are not there to orbit them.

D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
by 1999 shows past. hence HAVE is wrong.

E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets
same as D.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2016, 02:01
JarvisR wrote:
OG16 SC137
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets


By Year -> always requiers past perfect. ->E/D out.

C. is very wordy compared to A and B ( 3 noun modifiers in a row is not a good style - that.. that...about..).

B has a modifier ambiguity:
Stars with planets... that were the size of jupiter. - here the "that" modifier can modify both "stars" and "planets".
b is out.

A is the correct answer.

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

Event 1: 'had discovered something'
Event 2: By 1999
Time phrases such as 'by 1999' can act as an event. By 1999 something happened and this means that the thing that happened is over. Therefore we use past perfect for the earlier event.

had discovered..............................By 1999

Use of present tense ' are orbited' is correct as this is a fact which is still true.

The sentence is correct as it is.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2017, 07:43
JarvisR wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016

Practice Question
Question No.: 137
Page: 699


By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter.

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets


First glance

Three answers begin with had discovered; the other two begin with have discovered. Which one is the correct verb tense for this sentence?

Issues

(1) Verb: have discovered

Had discovered is the past perfect tense, used to signal that something took place before something else in the past. Have discovered is the present perfect tense, used to denote something that started in the past but is still true or still ongoing in the present.

The time marker by 1999 indicates that the action took place prior to 1999. As such, the past perfect tense had discovered is correct: prior to 1999, the astronomers had discovered these stars. Eliminate answers (D) and (E).

(2) Modifier: that

Meaning

It is difficult to choose from among the remaining three choices; this is one of the hardest problems in the Official Guide. Compare the three choices to find the differences:

(A) …17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets…
(B) …17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
(C) …there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets…

Each of these choices presents a reason not to like it…yet one must be the correct answer! Examine each choice in turn.

The opening part of the sentence uses past perfect, so is it okay to switch to present tense, as choice (A) does?

Past perfect does require either a past time marker or a simple past verb—but the sentence does correctly provide the time marker by 1999. The are verb, then, is not required to be in the past tense. Does it make sense to have a present tense verb at this point in the sentence? What if it said were?

Astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets…
Astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets…

In the first sentence, the stars were orbited by the planets at the time of discovery and they still are today. That meaning is acceptable.

In the second sentence, the stars were orbited by the planets at some point in the past. Was this still happening at the time of the discovery? Or maybe the astronomers discovered something that was true only prior to the discovery? Or perhaps the action was still occurring at the time of discovery but is no longer going on today? The choice of were makes the meaning ambiguous; it’s actually better to use are. Leave choice (A) in.

Choice (B) contains the noun modifier that were about the size of Jupiter. What were about the size of Jupiter: the stars or the planets? And when were they the size of Jupiter?

Noun modifier rules dictate that the modifier be placed as close as possible to the noun that it modifies. In this case, the pronoun them (referring to stars) is closest to the word that. The rules allow, however, for an exception: if another noun modifier also modifies the same noun (for instance, the box of nails, which is on the table…), then you can have two modifiers in a row, each of which refers back to the original noun. So the that modifier could also refer to the planets. It’s impossible to tell whether the stars or the planets are about the size of Jupiter. Answer (B) also introduces ambiguity: when were the stars or planets the size of Jupiter? At the time of discovery? Before? Did they change size later on? Eliminate choice (B) for modifier and meaning issues.

Examine choice (C): The astronomers had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars. When were those stars present? Prior to the discovery? At the time of discovery? What happened later in time—did they disappear? Further, that were orbited creates the same ambiguity: was this true prior to the discovery only, or at the time of the discovery, or at some point after? Did the planets implode? Get pulverized by a meteor? Or maybe the stars were the ones to disappear? Or possibly they are all still there today. Eliminate choice (C) for ambiguity.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (A) employs the past perfect had discovered to indicate something that took place by 1999. Further, the modifier and verb choices indicate clearly that the 17 stars continue to be orbited by Jupiter-sized planets today.
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 25 May 2017, 11:48
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016

Practice Question
Question No.: 137
Page: 699


By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets about the size of Jupiter

(A) had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets correct
(B) had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
(C) had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
(D) have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
(E) have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

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By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2017, 09:40
Hello GMATNinja,

Can you help to review whether below analysis is correct?

In option B, we have a subtle meaning shift. By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets. Can we say that astronomers discovered stars with planets is different from the original meaning that astronomers discovered stars?. Also, antecedent of them in choice B is ambiguous.

Similarly, C has a meaning shift - “By 1999, astronomers had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars”.

Since we have unambiguous meaning conveyed in A, we should retain the same.

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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2017, 11:28
IMO A
Had has to come so D and E are out
B compares stars to Jupiter
C alters the intended meaning as the panels will continue to orbit stars so are will come
Am I correct with regard to option C?



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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2017, 09:02
arvind910619 wrote:
IMO A
Had has to come so D and E are out
B compares stars to Jupiter
C alters the intended meaning as the panels will continue to orbit stars so are will come
Am I correct with regard to option C?



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Hi,
Yes , present tense is always used to denote facts ( planets still orbit the stars).
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Re: By 1999, astronomers had discovered   [#permalink] 07 Jun 2017, 09:02

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