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Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase

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Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.

Official explanation of answer choice C - "The reference of preposition 'it' is unclear because many nouns have intervened between the appearance of the logical referent(course of action) and 'it' ".

My Doubt3- How "it" can refer to "trouble" because "trouble" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective - so how a Pronoun can refer to an adjective?
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New post 20 Apr 2016, 16:44
DAakash7 wrote:
Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.

Official explanation of answer choice C - "The reference of preposition 'it' is unclear because many nouns have intervened between the appearance of the logical referent(course of action) and 'it' ".

My Doubt3- How "it" can refer to "trouble" because "trouble" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective - so how a Pronoun can refer to an adjective?

Dear DAakash7,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

With all due respect, my friend, you are strictly following a rule that simply does not exist. I don't know whether some faulty source suggested that this should be a rule, but it's not. Grammar is hard enough! Don't complicate it further by introducing rules that don't exist! :-)

Any noun anywhere in the sentence, in any role, can be the antecedent of a pronoun, as long as the noun is not in the possessive form. It doesn't matter whether the noun is the subject, the object of a verb, or the object of a prepositional phrase.

Hadyn's symphonies are ..... and he thought .... = mistake: antecedent in the possessive

The symphonies of Haydn are ... and he thought ... = 100% correct

It doesn't matter that "of Haydn" has more or less the same logical meaning as "Haydn's." The latter is in the possessive form, and cannot be an antecedent, but the former is not in the possessive form, so it can be the antecedent.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2016, 07:23
Dear Sir,
Thanks a lot for clarifying this concept; however, I still have some doubt about the concept.

If I go by the logic that has been mentioned below, then why the choice E of this official question would be correct? - "them" should be ambiguous as in choice C and D of the same question.

Official examples -
1- With the correct choice E -
In late 1997, the chambers inside the pyramid of the Pharaoh Menkaure at Giza were closed to visitors for cleaning and repair because moisture exhaled by tourists had raised the humidity within them to such levels that salt from the stone was crystallizing and fungus was growing on the walls.

My understanding -
"them" can not refer to "tourist" because "tourist" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an adjective. I agree with this.


Sir,
Please let me know where I am wrong in my understanding, while analyzing the official question in this manner?



mikemcgarry wrote:
DAakash7 wrote:
Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.

Official explanation of answer choice C - "The reference of preposition 'it' is unclear because many nouns have intervened between the appearance of the logical referent(course of action) and 'it' ".

My Doubt3- How "it" can refer to "trouble" because "trouble" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective - so how a Pronoun can refer to an adjective?

Dear DAakash7,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

With all due respect, my friend, you are strictly following a rule that simply does not exist. I don't know whether some faulty source suggested that this should be a rule, but it's not. Grammar is hard enough! Don't complicate it further by introducing rules that don't exist! :-)

Any noun anywhere in the sentence, in any role, can be the antecedent of a pronoun, as long as the noun is not in the possessive form. It doesn't matter whether the noun is the subject, the object of a verb, or the object of a prepositional phrase.

Hadyn's symphonies are ..... and he thought .... = mistake: antecedent in the possessive

The symphonies of Haydn are ... and he thought ... = 100% correct

It doesn't matter that "of Haydn" has more or less the same logical meaning as "Haydn's." The latter is in the possessive form, and cannot be an antecedent, but the former is not in the possessive form, so it can be the antecedent.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)

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New post 21 Apr 2016, 11:24
DAakash7 wrote:
Dear Sir,
Thanks a lot for clarifying this concept; however, I still have some doubt about the concept.

If I go by the logic that has been mentioned below, then why the choice E of this official question would be correct? - "them" should be ambiguous as in choice C and D of the same question.

Official examples -
1- With the correct choice E -
In late 1997, the chambers inside the pyramid of the Pharaoh Menkaure at Giza were closed to visitors for cleaning and repair because moisture exhaled by tourists had raised the humidity within them to such levels that salt from the stone was crystallizing and fungus was growing on the walls.

My understanding -
"them" can not refer to "tourist" because "tourist" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an adjective. I agree with this.


Sir,
Please let me know where I am wrong in my understanding, while analyzing the official question in this manner?

Dear DAakash7,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, my friend, when you are citing official question, it's courtesy to give the exact problem number, so I don't have to go rifling though the OG to find it. In fact, it's a courtesy to other readers of this thread if you copy and paste the entire question, even if your question is only about a single answer choice. Your goal when you post something should not be merely to get your point across but to communicate effectively as part of a larger conversation: many people are unsuccessful in business negotiations because they forget this.

At the moment, you are asking about SC #30 in the OG2016, a question that has survived many iterations of the OG.

Once again, you are quite insistent on this rule, and I have no idea where or how you concocted this rule, because it's not helping you.

In this sentence, the pronoun-antecedent is tricky. You see, the link between a pronoun and its antecedent is both grammatical and logical. It's a grammatical link, because of course it must agree with the antecedent in gender and number. It's also logical, because when we get to the pronoun, we must have a clear logical sense of the noun to which it is referring.

The subject of the sentence as well as the topic of the sentence is "chambers." Rhetorically, the entire sentence is focused on the chambers. Because this is a well-focused sentence, this makes the antecedent of "them" clear: it must refer back to the focus of the entire sentence. Even though at the level of grammar it would match "tourists," if the pronoun were reaching back to that word it would disrupt the organic unity of the sentence as a whole.

You see, many students naively think that GMAT SC is purely a test of grammar. In fact, the GMAT SC are always testing grammar, logic, and rhetoric all at once, and it is a profound mistake to misinterpret rhetorical patterns at the level of grammar. It is impossible to come to master of GMAT SC purely by memorizing some complete set of rules. By contrast, see this blog article:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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mikemcgarry wrote:
DAakash7 wrote:
Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.

Official explanation of answer choice C - "The reference of preposition 'it' is unclear because many nouns have intervened between the appearance of the logical referent(course of action) and 'it' ".

My Doubt3- How "it" can refer to "trouble" because "trouble" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an Adjective - so how a Pronoun can refer to an adjective?

Dear DAakash7,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

With all due respect, my friend, you are strictly following a rule that simply does not exist. I don't know whether some faulty source suggested that this should be a rule, but it's not. Grammar is hard enough! Don't complicate it further by introducing rules that don't exist! :-)

Any noun anywhere in the sentence, in any role, can be the antecedent of a pronoun, as long as the noun is not in the possessive form. It doesn't matter whether the noun is the subject, the object of a verb, or the object of a prepositional phrase.

Hadyn's symphonies are ..... and he thought .... = mistake: antecedent in the possessive

The symphonies of Haydn are ... and he thought ... = 100% correct

It doesn't matter that "of Haydn" has more or less the same logical meaning as "Haydn's." The latter is in the possessive form, and cannot be an antecedent, but the former is not in the possessive form, so it can be the antecedent.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)



Hi Mike,

In my early SC learning, I established the basic concepts about pronoun and its antecedents as mentioned above. However, lately I stumbled in SC138 in the OG16

Although she was considered among her contemporaries to be the better poet than her husband, later Elizabeth Barrett Browning was overshadowed by his success.

A) Although she was considered among her contemporaries to be the better poet than her husband, later Elizabeth Barrett Browning was overshadowed by his success.
B) Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning was considered among her contemporaries as a better poet than her husband, she was later overshadowed by his success.
C) Later overshadowed by the success of her husband, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry had been considered among her contemporaries to be better than that of her husband.
D) Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning's success was later overshadowed by that of her husband, among her contemporaries she was considered the better poet.
E) Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry was considered among her contemporaries as better than her husband, but her success was later overshadowed by his husband.

The OA is choice (D). However, the referent for she (subject pronoun) is Elizabeth Barrett which is in phrase 'Elizabeth Barrett Browning's' (a possessive).

Is it a violation to the rule mentioned above rule that the antecedent mus not be in possessive form? or Do I miss something in the above construction in choice D?

Sharing your thoughts will be appreciated :-D

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Mo2men wrote:
Hi Mike,

In my early SC learning, I established the basic concepts about pronoun and its antecedents as mentioned above. However, lately I stumbled in SC138 in the OG16

Although she was considered among her contemporaries to be the better poet than her husband, later Elizabeth Barrett Browning was overshadowed by his success.

A) Although she was considered among her contemporaries to be the better poet than her husband, later Elizabeth Barrett Browning was overshadowed by his success.
B) Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning was considered among her contemporaries as a better poet than her husband, she was later overshadowed by his success.
C) Later overshadowed by the success of her husband, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry had been considered among her contemporaries to be better than that of her husband.
D) Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning's success was later overshadowed by that of her husband, among her contemporaries she was considered the better poet.
E) Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry was considered among her contemporaries as better than her husband, but her success was later overshadowed by his husband.

The OA is choice (D). However, the referent for she (subject pronoun) is Elizabeth Barrett which is in phrase 'Elizabeth Barrett Browning's' (a possessive).

Is it a violation to the rule mentioned above rule that the antecedent mus not be in possessive form? or Do I miss something in the above construction in choice D?

Sharing your thoughts will be appreciated :-D

Dear Mo2men,

I'm happy to respond. :-) Here's what I will say. In striving for GMAT mastery, you should never settle for the "what." You should always strive for the "why" behind the "what."

Think of math for a moment. We know that the rule (a^m)(a^n) = a^(m+n) is true. Folks who just memorize that mathematical factoid as a piece of dogma don't really understand it. The people who really understand it are the folks who think about the underlying mathematical logic: if we start with m factors of a, and multiply this collection by n factors of a, then of course, we will have total set of (m+n) factors of a. The rule itself is the "what" and the mathematical reasoning that supports it is the "why." The GMAT has a way of crafting questions that punish the folks clinging to the "what" who are oblivious to the "why."

The relationship between "what" and "why" is very clear in mathematics, and it's not always as readily explainable in cases of grammar, but in this case, we can explore this line of thought. Here's the "what," the rule that you dutifully learned: "The antecedent of a pronoun cannot be in the possessive, unless the pronoun is also a possessive pronoun." That's a reliable trustworthy pattern to know, and knowing that factoid on the surface will lead to moderate success on the GMAT.

We can develop a much deeper understanding if we delve into the "why" beneath the "what." Why is this rule true? What is logically or rhetorically problematic about having the antecedent of a pronoun in the possessive. Think of it this way. When a noun is in the possessive, it is taking a role akin to a noun modifier, and the noun it modifies is the one that is taking center stage and holding more rhetorical significance. For example, if we talk about "Beethoven's symphonies," then that structure is one that de-emphasizes the importance of the man and highlights the importance of the symphonies themselves. The symphonies are the rhetorical focus of those words, not the man who composed them. Now, think about if we had a sentence
"Beethoven's symphonies are XXX, but he compose them when XXX."
A personal pronoun is a word seeking an antecedent, a referent. We naturally look for whatever has the greatest rhetorical focus: the pronoun is, as it were, gravitationally drawn to the referent with the greatest rhetorical weight. Obviously, in this faulty sentence, we were trying to get the "he" to refer to Mr. Beethoven. The problem is that we de-emphasize the person in the structure in the first half, and then we get to the second half and start with a preposition and want him to be emphasized. It's as if we were saying "Beethoven the man is not our focus, oh wait, just kidding, he is our focus!" It's a sloppy rhetorical mismatch. Over the course of a single sentence, we are not able to make up our mind about what the rhetorical focus of the sentence should be. Presenting such a sentence would constitute an implicit statement that we were indecisive and unreliable. These are words without focus. If what you says lacks a clear focus, no one is going to give much credence to what you say. All of this is "why" this grammar rule is in place. The important thing, of course, is not the grammar rule itself, but "why" it is true.

Now, with all this mind, consider the OA, (D) of this question:
Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning's success was later overshadowed by that of her husband, among her contemporaries she was considered the better poet.
What is the rhetorical focus of this sentence? Clearly, it is the person, "[urlhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Barrett_Browning]Elizabeth Barrett Browning[/url]." It's undeniable that she herself is the focus of this sentence. The repetition of the possessive pronouns referring back to her enhances her rhetorical weight as the focus of the sentence. In a way, putting her name in the possessive here, rather than de-emphasizing her with respect to her "success," has the effect of creating parallelism with all the other possessive pronouns. By the time we get to the pronoun "she," it's absolutely unambiguous who the rhetorical focus of the sentence is. We could have re-arranged in the following way:

(D1) Although her success was later overshadowed by that of her husband, among her contemporaries Elizabeth Barrett Browning was considered the better poet.

Now, this version strictly obeys the grammar rule, and it's not bad. This could be an OA on the GMAT SC. Putting the subject's name at the very end creates a little tension, a little bit of expectation. That is a more successful effect if we wanted to surprise the reader----if the fact stated in the sentence were one that were contradicting most readers' expectations. That's not the case in this sentence. This sentence is purely trying to focus on this one person and give her the earnest attention that she deserves. For this reason, the question's OA is more successful than (D1), more deeply in line with the underlying intent behind the meaning.

It's this paradoxical think about sophisticated writing: when one really understands the rules, one understands when one can break the rules. The rhetorical focus and deep meaning of the sentence is far far more important than the surface grammar rule, so the author wisely chose to sacrifice rigid adherence to the grammar rule and be faithful to the deeper rhetorical current.

You will notice this is toward the end of the SC section: it is one of the hardest questions, precisely because it will snag all the people who are fundamentalist about applying the grammar rules. All the folks who cling to the "what" with white knuckles and ignore the "why" will reject the OA of this question and choose something wrong. Only the people very comfortable with the "why" will be comfortable picking (D). This makes this question a powerful discriminating element, precisely like the harder SC questions on the real test.

What I have discussed here is very subtle. Does all this make sense? Please let me know if you have more questions.

Mike :-)
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Dear Mike,

Thanks for you enlighten explanation. However, under the test pressure, I would not go that further analysis like this. I would check the parallelism and idiom in this sentence to try make clear split. But, I concluded from the discussion above (from the the beginning of the post) not to be overwhelmed by pronoun antecedent and focus on it as first split in the sentence.

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Thanks for the reply Mike. :) Quoting source of questions correctly, makes sense - I will keep this in mind from my next query onward. Thanks for your valuable suggestions. I need, however, some more guidance - How can I learn "rhetorical" elements that are relevant to the exam. Could you please cite any source.
Thanks again.

mikemcgarry wrote:
DAakash7 wrote:
Dear Sir,
Thanks a lot for clarifying this concept; however, I still have some doubt about the concept.

If I go by the logic that has been mentioned below, then why the choice E of this official question would be correct? - "them" should be ambiguous as in choice C and D of the same question.

Official examples -
1- With the correct choice E -
In late 1997, the chambers inside the pyramid of the Pharaoh Menkaure at Giza were closed to visitors for cleaning and repair because moisture exhaled by tourists had raised the humidity within them to such levels that salt from the stone was crystallizing and fungus was growing on the walls.

My understanding -
"them" can not refer to "tourist" because "tourist" is a part of a prepositional phrase that acts as an adjective. I agree with this.


Sir,
Please let me know where I am wrong in my understanding, while analyzing the official question in this manner?

Dear DAakash7,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, my friend, when you are citing official question, it's courtesy to give the exact problem number, so I don't have to go rifling though the OG to find it. In fact, it's a courtesy to other readers of this thread if you copy and paste the entire question, even if your question is only about a single answer choice. Your goal when you post something should not be merely to get your point across but to communicate effectively as part of a larger conversation: many people are unsuccessful in business negotiations because they forget this.

At the moment, you are asking about SC #30 in the OG2016, a question that has survived many iterations of the OG.

Once again, you are quite insistent on this rule, and I have no idea where or how you concocted this rule, because it's not helping you.

In this sentence, the pronoun-antecedent is tricky. You see, the link between a pronoun and its antecedent is both grammatical and logical. It's a grammatical link, because of course it must agree with the antecedent in gender and number. It's also logical, because when we get to the pronoun, we must have a clear logical sense of the noun to which it is referring.

The subject of the sentence as well as the topic of the sentence is "chambers." Rhetorically, the entire sentence is focused on the chambers. Because this is a well-focused sentence, this makes the antecedent of "them" clear: it must refer back to the focus of the entire sentence. Even though at the level of grammar it would match "tourists," if the pronoun were reaching back to that word it would disrupt the organic unity of the sentence as a whole.

You see, many students naively think that GMAT SC is purely a test of grammar. In fact, the GMAT SC are always testing grammar, logic, and rhetoric all at once, and it is a profound mistake to misinterpret rhetorical patterns at the level of grammar. It is impossible to come to master of GMAT SC purely by memorizing some complete set of rules. By contrast, see this blog article:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)

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New post 25 Apr 2016, 15:53
DAakash7 wrote:
Thanks for the reply Mike. :) Quoting source of questions correctly, makes sense - I will keep this in mind from my next query onward. Thanks for your valuable suggestions. I need, however, some more guidance - How can I learn "rhetorical" elements that are relevant to the exam. Could you please cite any source.
Thanks again.

Dear DAakash7,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

What you are asking is a very hard question. You see, there are some good sources in English, but they are not specific to the GMAT. I will recommend one:
Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
Those writers didn't know anything about the GMAT, but most of what they say about style and rhetoric is universal, so it would be applicable.

I would say that that, whereas grammar is very left-brain and rule-based, rhetoric is much more about patterns, and understanding it involves developing the pattern-matching skills of the right-brain. One way to gain the experience to see these patterns is to read. See this blog article:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score
If you can develop a daily habit of reading, your verbal understand will improve by leaps and bounds.

Another good source are the OE to very difficult GMAT SC questions. The official questions in the OG or GMATPrep are the very best, and the MGMAT questions and Magoosh questions are very good. For MGMAT or Magoosh SC questions, read the explanations that come with the question. The official questions from GMAC are excellent, but the explanations often leave something to be desired. For those questions, come here to GMAT Club and get experts here to explain the official questions. Feel free to solicit my help. It's hard to describe rhetorical patterns in the abstract, but sometime with an individual SC problem, we can explain why one choice is not acceptable even though it's grammatically correct.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2017, 23:56
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear Mo2men,

I'm happy to respond. :-) Here's what I will say. In striving for GMAT mastery, you should never settle for the "what." You should always strive for the "why" behind the "what."

Think of math for a moment. We know that the rule (a^m)(a^n) = a^(m+n) is true. Folks who just memorize that mathematical factoid as a piece of dogma don't really understand it. The people who really understand it are the folks who think about the underlying mathematical logic: if we start with m factors of a, and multiply this collection by n factors of a, then of course, we will have total set of (m+n) factors of a. The rule itself is the "what" and the mathematical reasoning that supports it is the "why." The GMAT has a way of crafting questions that punish the folks clinging to the "what" who are oblivious to the "why."

The relationship between "what" and "why" is very clear in mathematics, and it's not always as readily explainable in cases of grammar, but in this case, we can explore this line of thought. Here's the "what," the rule that you dutifully learned: "The antecedent of a pronoun cannot be in the possessive, unless the pronoun is also a possessive pronoun." That's a reliable trustworthy pattern to know, and knowing that factoid on the surface will lead to moderate success on the GMAT.

We can develop a much deeper understanding if we delve into the "why" beneath the "what." Why is this rule true? What is logically or rhetorically problematic about having the antecedent of a pronoun in the possessive. Think of it this way. When a noun is in the possessive, it is taking a role akin to a noun modifier, and the noun it modifies is the one that is taking center stage and holding more rhetorical significance. For example, if we talk about "Beethoven's symphonies," then that structure is one that de-emphasizes the importance of the man and highlights the importance of the symphonies themselves. The symphonies are the rhetorical focus of those words, not the man who composed them. Now, think about if we had a sentence
"Beethoven's symphonies are XXX, but he compose them when XXX."
A personal pronoun is a word seeking an antecedent, a referent. We naturally look for whatever has the greatest rhetorical focus: the pronoun is, as it were, gravitationally drawn to the referent with the greatest rhetorical weight. Obviously, in this faulty sentence, we were trying to get the "he" to refer to Mr. Beethoven. The problem is that we de-emphasize the person in the structure in the first half, and then we get to the second half and start with a preposition and want him to be emphasized. It's as if we were saying "Beethoven the man is not our focus, oh wait, just kidding, he is our focus!" It's a sloppy rhetorical mismatch. Over the course of a single sentence, we are not able to make up our mind about what the rhetorical focus of the sentence should be. Presenting such a sentence would constitute an implicit statement that we were indecisive and unreliable. These are words without focus. If what you says lacks a clear focus, no one is going to give much credence to what you say. All of this is "why" this grammar rule is in place. The important thing, of course, is not the grammar rule itself, but "why" it is true.

Now, with all this mind, consider the OA, (D) of this question:
Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning's success was later overshadowed by that of her husband, among her contemporaries she was considered the better poet.
What is the rhetorical focus of this sentence? Clearly, it is the person. It's undeniable that she herself is the focus of this sentence. The repetition of the possessive pronouns referring back to her enhances her rhetorical weight as the focus of the sentence. In a way, putting her name in the possessive here, rather than de-emphasizing her with respect to her "success," has the effect of creating parallelism with all the other possessive pronouns. By the time we get to the pronoun "she," it's absolutely unambiguous who the rhetorical focus of the sentence is. We could have re-arranged in the following way:

(D1) Although her success was later overshadowed by that of her husband, among her contemporaries Elizabeth Barrett Browning was considered the better poet.

Now, this version strictly obeys the grammar rule, and it's not bad. This could be an OA on the GMAT SC. Putting the subject's name at the very end creates a little tension, a little bit of expectation. That is a more successful effect if we wanted to surprise the reader----if the fact stated in the sentence were one that were contradicting most readers' expectations. That's not the case in this sentence. This sentence is purely trying to focus on this one person and give her the earnest attention that she deserves. For this reason, the question's OA is more successful than (D1), more deeply in line with the underlying intent behind the meaning.

It's this paradoxical think about sophisticated writing: when one really understands the rules, one understands when one can break the rules. The rhetorical focus and deep meaning of the sentence is far far more important than the surface grammar rule, so the author wisely chose to sacrifice rigid adherence to the grammar rule and be faithful to the deeper rhetorical current.

You will notice this is toward the end of the SC section: it is one of the hardest questions, precisely because it will snag all the people who are fundamentalist about applying the grammar rules. All the folks who cling to the "what" with white knuckles and ignore the "why" will reject the OA of this question and choose something wrong. Only the people very comfortable with the "why" will be comfortable picking (D). This makes this question a powerful discriminating element, precisely like the harder SC questions on the real test.

What I have discussed here is very subtle. Does all this make sense? Please let me know if you have more questions.

Mike :-)


Dear Mike,

When reading through this thread, I stumble upon a question, which I can't solve. I hope you could shed some light upon this question for me, and I will be very grateful.

What I don't understand is that, while the rhetorical weight or focus in the phase "Beethoven's symphonies" is on symphonies, then why the rhetorical weight in the phase "Elizabeth Barrett Browning's success" is on Elizabeth Barrett Browning?

I assume that the rhetorical weight in the phase "Elizabeth Barrett Browning's success" is on Elizabeth Barrett Browning, because you said, "this sentence(D) is purely trying to focus on this one person and give her the earnest attention that she deserves. For this reason, the question's OA is more successful than (D1), more deeply in line with the underlying intent behind the meaning." Am I correct in that assumption? or do I misunderstand what you said?

Another question I am not very sure is: what is the rhetorical weight in the phase "X of Y"? Is the focus on Y? If so, then am I correct in assuming that there is no sloppy rhetorical mismatch in the following sentence, "Symphonies of Beethoven are XXX, but he compose them when XXX"?

Looking forward to seeing your reply. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Sean

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Re: Can a Pronoun refer to a Noun that is a part of a prepositional phrase   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2017, 23:56
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