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# By offering lower prices and a menu of personal

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By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 21 Apr 2016, 09:38
11
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5% (low)

Question Stats:

81% (01:10) correct 19% (01:17) wrong based on 2633 sessions

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By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced these companies
(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them

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Originally posted by maybeam on 08 Jul 2012, 03:13.
Last edited by walker on 21 Apr 2016, 09:38, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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10 May 2013, 21:43
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There is no absolute rule for identifying the antecedent. "Them" can refer to any plural noun in the sentence, as long as "they," "them," or "their" hasn't already been used to refer to some other plural noun. However, it's important to use sentence structure and whatever you can gather of the author's intent to determine the correct antecedent. The GMAT doesn't test pronoun ambiguity much, but since we have a choice in this case to replace the unclear "them" with the actual noun, it's wise to do so.

As for the word but, it does not necessarily require a comma. You definitely use a comma if it's joining two independent clauses:

I'm enjoying the party, but I have to leave now.

However, there are many other cases where we don't need one:

The robot has a small but powerful engine.
All but one of the guests arrived late.
I aced the verbal section but timed out on the quant.

Or, as we see here . ..

She has not only written three bestselling novels but also developed fifteen important patents.

Note that the use of "has not only" vs. "not only has" cannot be decided in isolation. Either construction could work. "Not only . . . but also" is a parallelism indicator, so we can use "has" afterward as long as it is parallel. In other words, we can say "She has not only X but also Y" or "She not only HAS X but also HAS Y." We just can't say "She not only HAS X but also Y." Having said that, I prefer the usage in the correct answer. There's not much reason to use "has" twice.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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10 May 2013, 16:47
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kiranck007 wrote:
Hi,

Two questions. Pronoun, them is closer to companies than customers, so I think them properly refers to the companies? If not, could you please correct me.

Hi kiranck007

The syntax is: has not only captured X ....., but also forced Y..............
captured // forced
X should be // Y
Hence, "them" does not modify the nearest noun - "customers"
To solve this problem, you repeat the noun/noun phrase you want to mention.

Quote:
Is there some kind of rule to identify the antecedent of a pronoun other the nearest noun to a pronoun? Please provide a reference link to the explanation.

Also, there is no comma before the conjunction but; Is this fine?

* which (relative clause) ==> always modifies a preceding noun or noun phrase
* that (relative clause) ==> always modifies a preceding noun or noun phrase
* V+ing modifier without a comma ==> always modifies a preceding noun or noun phrase
* V+ed modifier ==> always modifies a preceding noun or noun phrase

Hope it helps.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 10:22
relative noun concept-them refer to customers or other phone companies so

A, B and E- out

out D and C - C look more logical and precise
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 10:53
I agree with jagdeep. C is the correct answer. "Them" provides an ambiguous reference. Adding "These companies" avoid the ambigous reference and thus makes the sentence grammatically correct.

D is incorrect because of the placement of "Has". Has should be before "not only".
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2012, 00:09
1
THEM in this sentence makes ambiguous, it could refer to customers and other phone companies. So, choice A, B, and E are out.

Choice D is wrong because of parallelism error. Therefore, the final choice is C.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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10 May 2013, 10:56
Hi,

Two questions. Pronoun, them is closer to companies than customers, so I think them properly refers to the companies? If not, could you please correct me.

Is there some kind of rule to identify the antecedent of a pronoun other the nearest noun to a pronoun? Please provide a reference link to the explanation.

Also, there is no comma before the conjunction but; Is this fine?
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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07 Aug 2015, 07:09
DmitryFarber wrote:
There is no absolute rule for identifying the antecedent. "Them" can refer to any plural noun in the sentence, as long as "they," "them," or "their" hasn't already been used to refer to some other plural noun. However, it's important to use sentence structure and whatever you can gather of the author's intent to determine the correct antecedent. The GMAT doesn't test pronoun ambiguity much, but since we have a choice in this case to replace the unclear "them" with the actual noun, it's wise to do so.

As for the word but, it does not necessarily require a comma. You definitely use a comma if it's joining two independent clauses:

I'm enjoying the party, but I have to leave now.

However, there are many other cases where we don't need one:

The robot has a small but powerful engine.
All but one of the guests arrived late.
I aced the verbal section but timed out on the quant.

Or, as we see here . ..

She has not only written three bestselling novels but also developed fifteen important patents.

Note that the use of "has not only" vs. "not only has" cannot be decided in isolation. Either construction could work. "Not only . . . but also" is a parallelism indicator, so we can use "has" afterward as long as it is parallel. In other words, we can say "She has not only X but also Y" or "She not only HAS X but also HAS Y." We just can't say "She not only HAS X but also Y." Having said that, I prefer the usage in the correct answer. There's not much reason to use "has" twice.

Hello Dmitry,
Thank you for your nice explanation, but I still have a question. I think that "them" logically refers to companies rather than customers, since customers cannot offer competetive prices. I've learned that pronouns must have only one logical antecedent and I think "them" has only one logical antecedent in the above sentence. Can you please give your comments on this point? Thank you, Shohrat.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2015, 01:24
shohrat6383 wrote:
DmitryFarber wrote:
There is no absolute rule for identifying the antecedent. "Them" can refer to any plural noun in the sentence, as long as "they," "them," or "their" hasn't already been used to refer to some other plural noun. However, it's important to use sentence structure and whatever you can gather of the author's intent to determine the correct antecedent. The GMAT doesn't test pronoun ambiguity much, but since we have a choice in this case to replace the unclear "them" with the actual noun, it's wise to do so.

As for the word but, it does not necessarily require a comma. You definitely use a comma if it's joining two independent clauses:

I'm enjoying the party, but I have to leave now.

However, there are many other cases where we don't need one:

The robot has a small but powerful engine.
All but one of the guests arrived late.
I aced the verbal section but timed out on the quant.

Or, as we see here . ..

She has not only written three bestselling novels but also developed fifteen important patents.

Note that the use of "has not only" vs. "not only has" cannot be decided in isolation. Either construction could work. "Not only . . . but also" is a parallelism indicator, so we can use "has" afterward as long as it is parallel. In other words, we can say "She has not only X but also Y" or "She not only HAS X but also HAS Y." We just can't say "She not only HAS X but also Y." Having said that, I prefer the usage in the correct answer. There's not much reason to use "has" twice.

Hello Dmitry,
Thank you for your nice explanation, but I still have a question. I think that "them" logically refers to companies rather than customers, since customers cannot offer competetive prices. I've learned that pronouns must have only one logical antecedent and I think "them" has only one logical antecedent in the above sentence. Can you please give your comments on this point? Thank you, Shohrat.

agree with Shohrat,them can logically refer to Companies hence A is right according to me.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2015, 01:48
6
2
Sorry I missed the earlier post.

Yes, "them" logically refers to "companies." We know that's the intended meaning, in part because it's stated clearly in the correct answer and in part because it's the only interpretation that makes sense. (How would we force customers to offer competitive prices?) However, if you get in the habit of working with the sentence to make the meaning clear, you will find yourself approving of many answers that turn out to be wrong. It's important to look at what the author is doing structurally.

Here we have the structure "not only captured customers . . . but also forced them." Companies are only mentioned in a modifier. This structure naturally pushes us toward seeing "them" as customers, even though that interpretation makes no sense. C fixes the problem, so why not take the fix? Note that there is no other difference between A and C.

goforgmat, I would encourage you to "buy in" to the GMAT's reasoning. Instead of saying "A is right," say "I don't see what is wrong with A." You are learning to play their game, and accepting the right answers is an important part of that. One thing that this problem teaches us is that in GMAT SC, clarity is favored over brevity. That's important to know!
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2016, 12:00
hi Expert,

it seems that THEM is indicating CUSTOMERS; but THEM should be used instead of COMPANIES to make the meaning legitimate...but my question is WHY ONE COMPANY (FIRST COMPANY) FORCED OTHER COMPANIES (SECOND COMPANY) TO OFFER COMPETITIVE PRICE?? IS THE FIRST COMPANY USED HERE as a customer? is the duty of first company to force the other COMPANY to offer a competitive price?? basically, when '''someone''' force somebody, it means that ''someone'' want to have some benefits from somebody. so my question is: is the first company waiting to have benefit or offer from other company?? if a company is waiting here to get some benefit or offer from other company, WHY THE WORD ''CUSTOMERS'' IS USED HERE?? I think CUSTOMER (NOT the COMPANY) should force the other COMPANY to have the offer.Thanks to read my message...
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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16 Feb 2016, 14:01
1
iMyself,

It helps to include the modifier in this analysis: "By offering lower prices . . . the new telecommunications company . . . forced these companies to offer lower prices."

So the new company came in with lower prices. By doing this, they forced the other companies to offer lower prices in order to compete. Of course, they didn't do this directly. No one showed up at the old companies' doors saying "Lower your prices!" Rather, this happened by market pressure. If the companies didn't lower their prices, they would probably lose a lot of customers!

The point, then, is not so much that the new company wanted the benefit of the lower prices. It's that their action (offering lower prices) forced this change on the other companies. It's certainly beyond the scope of SC, but we could also say that this benefited the first company. If these lower prices slashed the competition's profit margins, that may well prove beneficial for the new company.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2017, 02:12
1
By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced these companies
(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them

@egmat

I have gone through concept files of pronoun. The process is helping me, but it is causing problems in the above kind of questions. Now that I know that a pronoun should have only one antecedent, which should match in number, refer proper meaning, and make sense, I think in Option A Them refers to Companies. Because customers cannot Offer Prices, only sellers can offer. And here the sellers are Companies.
So in that sense, won't Option C become Wordy?
And how to come solve my ambiguity issue? I see that Them can refer to both Customers and Companies, but per the context of logic and sentence, only Companies can offer prices and therefore Them should go with Companies, thereby eliminating any ambiguity.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2017, 05:33
1
ravi19012015 wrote:
By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced these companies
(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them

egmat

I have gone through concept files of pronoun. The process is helping me, but it is causing problems in the above kind of questions. Now that I know that a pronoun should have only one antecedent, which should match in number, refer proper meaning, and make sense, I think in Option A Them refers to Companies. Because customers cannot Offer Prices, only sellers can offer. And here the sellers are Companies.
So in that sense, won't Option C become Wordy?
And how to come solve my ambiguity issue? I see that Them can refer to both Customers and Companies, but per the context of logic and sentence, only Companies can offer prices and therefore Them should go with Companies, thereby eliminating any ambiguity.

Your post itself answers the question you posed. Since option A may as well imply that customers are forced to offer prices (not the correct meaning),the pronoun "they" is ambiguous. This is a solid reason for eliminating A.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2017, 05:49
1
sayantanc2k wrote:
ravi19012015 wrote:
By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced these companies
(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them

egmat

I have gone through concept files of pronoun. The process is helping me, but it is causing problems in the above kind of questions. Now that I know that a pronoun should have only one antecedent, which should match in number, refer proper meaning, and make sense, I think in Option A Them refers to Companies. Because customers cannot Offer Prices, only sellers can offer. And here the sellers are Companies.
So in that sense, won't Option C become Wordy?
And how to come solve my ambiguity issue? I see that Them can refer to both Customers and Companies, but per the context of logic and sentence, only Companies can offer prices and therefore Them should go with Companies, thereby eliminating any ambiguity.

Your post itself answers the question you posed. Since option A may as well imply that customers are forced to offer prices (not the correct meaning),the pronoun "they" is ambiguous. This is a solid reason for eliminating A.

Thank you for replying.

I agree with you that there is ambiguity. But then, that ambiguity is kind of meaningless. The Q implies that Companies offer price. Consumers cannot offer price to themselves.
OG explanations focus on meaning, so the meaning will be very inappropriate if we modify consumers by Them. Sentence meaning will be accurate if we modify Them with Companies. So here should we not put consumers aside and modify Companies, because that meaning is meaningful.

In many questions OGE tells that an ambiguous meaning that is meaningless, can be ignored, and therefore actual modification can be applied to true meaning.

Can't we apply that above rule in this question?
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2017, 13:19
ravi19012015 wrote:
sayantanc2k wrote:
ravi19012015 wrote:
By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced these companies
(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them

egmat

I have gone through concept files of pronoun. The process is helping me, but it is causing problems in the above kind of questions. Now that I know that a pronoun should have only one antecedent, which should match in number, refer proper meaning, and make sense, I think in Option A Them refers to Companies. Because customers cannot Offer Prices, only sellers can offer. And here the sellers are Companies.
So in that sense, won't Option C become Wordy?
And how to come solve my ambiguity issue? I see that Them can refer to both Customers and Companies, but per the context of logic and sentence, only Companies can offer prices and therefore Them should go with Companies, thereby eliminating any ambiguity.

Your post itself answers the question you posed. Since option A may as well imply that customers are forced to offer prices (not the correct meaning),the pronoun "they" is ambiguous. This is a solid reason for eliminating A.

Thank you for replying.

I agree with you that there is ambiguity. But then, that ambiguity is kind of meaningless. The Q implies that Companies offer price. Consumers cannot offer price to themselves.
OG explanations focus on meaning, so the meaning will be very inappropriate if we modify consumers by Them. Sentence meaning will be accurate if we modify Them with Companies. So here should we not put consumers aside and modify Companies, because that meaning is meaningful.

In many questions OGE tells that an ambiguous meaning that is meaningless, can be ignored, and therefore actual modification can be applied to true meaning.

Can't we apply that above rule in this question?

I can understand the reason for your confusion. But as this one is an official question, we may conclude that GMAT considers such usage ambiguous. If we have to use our practical knowledge to understand the meaning of a sentence, then that sentence would be considered less preferable than one which is self explanatory.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2017, 02:06
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ravi19012015, here's a good rule of thumb for pronouns:

If you have a choice between a pronoun and the noun that correctly replaces that pronoun, then when in doubt, choose the noun. It's absolutely never wrong to refer to a noun by its name, while it is often wrong or confusing to use a pronoun. In real-life writing, we often substitute pronouns for the sake of concision or style, but these are secondary considerations on the GMAT. Correct grammar and clear meaning come first, and if the GMAT gives us the option to select the noun instead of the pronoun, that's usually a sign that the use of the pronoun is problematic or unclear.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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02 Mar 2017, 09:44
2
By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

Issues: Idiom | Pronoun reference

Analysis:
1. Looking at the sentence and options, you will spot use of idiom "not only X but also Y". In such cases, we need to make sure that "X" and "Y" are comparable.
2. Another thing to notice is the use of pronouns "these.." (companies) vs "them". Based on the structure of the sentence, "them" is ambiguous as it can refer to either "customers" or "other phone companies". "these companies" is a clearer reference to the companies in preceding clause.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
- Pronoun reference error (See 2 above)

(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
- Pronoun reference error (See 2 above)
- Use of "it" is unnecessary

(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced
these companies

(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
- The clauses are not parallel
- Passive voice in "these companies..."

(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them
- "captured" and "has forced" are not parallel
- Redundant "it"
- Pronoun reference error (See 2 above)

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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2017, 23:52
maybeam wrote:
By offering lower prices and a menu of personal communications options, such as caller identification and voice mail, the new telecommunications company has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them to offer competitive prices.

(A) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced them
(B) has not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also forced them
(C) has not only captured customers from other phone companies but also forced these companies
(D) not only has captured customers from other phone companies but also these companies have been forced
(E) not only captured customers from other phone companies, but it also has forced them

The use of them is ambiguous- the way this sentence is written it could literally imply customers have been forced to offer competitive prices or other phone companies. C successfully eliminates the ambiguity.
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Re: By offering lower prices and a menu of personal  [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2017, 00:49
'C' is correct - The sentence intends to show the effect of the new telecommunications company on the other phone companies. In the original sentence, however, the antecedent of the pronoun them is unclear; it may refer to companies or to customers. If it refers to customers, the sentence structure illogically has the new company forcing customers to offer competitive prices.
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