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Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it tre

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Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it tre  [#permalink]

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Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.


(A) Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.

(B) Even though it seems correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, when they are really quite possible.

(C) Though possibly correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are possible.

(D) Though the theory seems correct, its problem is that it treats as unreasonable several other explanations that are actually quite possible.

(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.


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Originally posted by souvik101990 on 27 Sep 2014, 10:50.
Last edited by Bunuel on 06 Mar 2019, 00:18, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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New post 27 Sep 2014, 12:11
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I read the question several times before to come to wich is the real gist of the problem :-D : is the problem itself.

The problem with the theory is really really bad to say. Moreover, in A B and C the modifiers modify the problem but indeed they should the theory. The theory itself has a probem. It is a mess.....

D is the only phrase of our ball park that conveys the meaning in the right manner

D it is
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Re: Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it tre  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2014, 02:32
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IMO D, please find the explanation below:

Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.

(A) Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible......This option seems to convey that "The Problem with the theory" may be correct not the theory itself, this is not the intended meaning. Also "which" should touch the noun it modifies.

(B) Even though it seems correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, when they are really quite possible.......Same problem as Option A.This option seems to convey that "The Problem with the theory" may be correct not the theory itself, this is not the intended meaning. Also "When" is used to modify time.

(C) Though possibly correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are possible.......This option has same problems as Option B.

(D) Though the theory seems correct, its problem is that it treats as unreasonable several other explanations that are actually quite possible....... Correct Option. This option conveys rightly that theory may be is correct.

(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible......."When" is used to modify time.
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Re: Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it tre  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 29 Sep 2014, 04:21
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souvik101990 wrote:
Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.

(A) Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.

(B) Even though it seems correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, when they are really quite possible.

(C) Though possibly correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are possible.

(D) Though the theory seems correct, its problem is that it treats as unreasonable several other explanations that are actually quite possible.

(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.

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could eliminate right from the start the options which had "the problem seems correct". After that...the above mentioned in bold made me decide which one to choose.



Hope I am correct :)

Originally posted by mvictor on 28 Sep 2014, 08:59.
Last edited by mvictor on 29 Sep 2014, 04:21, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 29 Sep 2014, 21:04
I will vote for D.

Choice A, B, and C are modifying the problem instead of the theory. In answer choice E, the modifier is modifying the theory but the construction of the sentence is awkward.

souvik101990 wrote:
Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.

(A) Correct though it may seem, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, which are all in fact quite possible.

(B) Even though it seems correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable, when they are really quite possible.

(C) Though possibly correct, the problem with the theory is that it treats several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are possible.

(D) Though the theory seems correct, its problem is that it treats as unreasonable several other explanations that are actually quite possible.

(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.

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New post 16 Feb 2020, 00:57
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Dear AnthonyRitz IanStewart AjiteshArun VeritasPrepBrian,

What's wrong with choice E.?
(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.

I think possessive + gerund is correct on the official GMAT question shown below:
The World Wild life Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon that most scientists agree is caused by human beings' burning of fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds by altering the environment in ways harmful to their habitats.
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New post 16 Feb 2020, 06:43
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varotkorn wrote:
What's wrong with choice E.?
(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.


One immediate problem with E is that it's just horrible writing. "The problem with the theory is that it treats some explanations..." is almost infinitely preferable to "The problem with the theory is its treating some explanations..." The first is active and clear, while the second is passive and awkward. There's no reason to consider E here unless there are no other good options. There are other problems with E, but you can rule it out on that basis alone, since a better option exists.

In general, the right answer to GMAT SC questions will express the sentence's meaning in the clearest possible way. If you read an answer choice, and can imagine a clearer way to express the idea of the sentence, that answer choice is almost never going to be right. This is one of the issues with studying prep company questions -- even the right answer to prep company questions can often be improved upon. I find that to be the case in this question, though D is much better than every other choice.
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New post 16 Feb 2020, 06:50
IanStewart wrote:
There are other problems with E


Dear IanStewart,

The other problem you mentioned is the use of "when" right?

(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.


"when" should be a time indicator, which is incorrectly used here, right?

(Please pardon me for asking so many questions :-D )
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New post 16 Feb 2020, 07:31
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varotkorn wrote:
The other problem you mentioned is the use of "when" right?

(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.


"when" should be a time indicator, which is incorrectly used here, right?


No, definitely not -- "when" can be used in a lot of different ways in English, and not only as a time indicator. You can look the word up in any decent dictionary to see examples of that.

There is a subtle meaning problem with the use of "seems". That word can be used in two ways. It can mean "appears to be". If I say "that seems right", I'm saying "that appears to me to be right". But it can also mean "superficially appears to be, but actually is not". If I say

"Though the solution seems right, it contains several disastrous mathematical errors"

I'm saying "on the surface, the solution looks good, but in reality it's not -- there are serious problems with it".

Instead if I say

"The solution seems right, though it contains several disastrous mathematical errors"

the meaning is changed. I'm now saying that the solution does appear correct to me despite the disastrous errors it contains. That meaning doesn't seem logical to me in this sentence, and the same happens in answer E. Answer E is saying the theory seems to be correct, even though it has serious problems. The right answer, D, uses "seem" in the other sense, to mean "appears to be but isn't", because it uses the construction "Though the theory seems correct". That meaning makes more sense if the sentence is pointing out serious problems with the theory.

All that said, that's not the main reason to choose D over E. The writing in E is so bad you should never consider it as an answer choice.
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New post 16 Feb 2020, 18:06
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varotkorn wrote:
Dear AnthonyRitz IanStewart AjiteshArun VeritasPrepBrian,

What's wrong with choice E.?
(E) The problem with the theory, which seems correct, is its treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible.

I think possessive + gerund is correct on the official GMAT question shown below:
The World Wild life Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon that most scientists agree is caused by human beings' burning of fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds by altering the environment in ways harmful to their habitats.


There are several problems with E.

First of all, the beginning of the sentence, "The problem with the theory, which seems correct," lacks any clear indicator of the contrast that logically exists between the idea that the theory "seems correct" and the idea that there is actually a "problem with the theory." This is a bit illogical. (The correct answer sets up the contrast by using "though.")

Second of all, certain words in English tend to be used in their gerund form, whereas others tend to be used in their noun form (and some words do both, and many do one form to mean one thing but the other form to mean something slightly different). "treating" is not the form we generally use when we wish to present "to treat" as a noun-like substance. Instead, we want "treatment" in most cases. Note that I don't suggest memorizing lists of which words do what, but it is an error here, so I wanted to mention it. Don't worry; there's still even another error to rely on instead of this one.

Oh, and to take your official GMAT example, we usually use the gerund "burning" rather than the noun "burn" for most senses in which we might wish to cast "to burn" as a noun-like substance. So that case was correct, but our case is not.

Finally, back to logic, now at the end of the sentence: "treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible." Why is this a "problem with the theory"? It is quite believable that an explanation might be "possible" but still "unreasonable." Contrast this with the correct answer, which uses the stronger "quite possible" to more convincingly explain why it's a "problem" to deem these other theories "unreasonable." So E is less logical in this way as well.

P.s. Are "in fact" and "actually" slightly redundant? I would never lean on it as a primary reason for killing an answer choice, but they may be. At least they're not ideal.

P.p.s. Several earlier commenters claimed that the use of "when" in this answer is a problem because it's not describing a time. This is actually not a problem. The word "when" can also act as a synonym for "although" or "whereas" or "considering that."
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New post 16 Feb 2020, 18:23
AnthonyRitz wrote:
Finally, back to logic, now at the end of the sentence: "treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible." Why is this a "problem with the theory"? It is quite believable that an explanation might be "possible" but still "unreasonable." Contrast this with the correct answer, which uses the stronger "quite possible" to more convincingly explain why it's a "problem" to deem these other theories "unreasonable." So E is less logical in this way as well.


Dear AnthonyRitz,

Admittedly, at first I thought "quite possible" is softer than "possible"

However, after going through possible meanings of "quite" (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dic ... tish/quite), I've just known that there are 2 meanings:
1. very -> the sense brought up by you
2. fairly but not very -> the only sense I knew

Those 2 meanings seem contradictory to me. One is "VERY", the other is "fairly but NOT VERY"?
Do you have any ideas how to interpret which is the proper meaning from the two?
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New post 16 Feb 2020, 18:50
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varotkorn wrote:
AnthonyRitz wrote:
Finally, back to logic, now at the end of the sentence: "treating several other explanations as unreasonable when in fact they are actually possible." Why is this a "problem with the theory"? It is quite believable that an explanation might be "possible" but still "unreasonable." Contrast this with the correct answer, which uses the stronger "quite possible" to more convincingly explain why it's a "problem" to deem these other theories "unreasonable." So E is less logical in this way as well.


Dear AnthonyRitz,

Admittedly, at first I thought "quite possible" is softer than "possible"

However, after going through possible meanings of "quite" (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dic ... tish/quite), I've just known that there are 2 meanings:
1. very -> the sense brought up by you
2. fairly but not very -> the only sense I knew

Those 2 meanings seem contradictory to me. One is "VERY", the other is "fairly but NOT VERY"?
Do you have any ideas how to interpret which is the proper meaning from the two?


I'm sorry but I have never heard of and don't agree with -- would never use and would understand a usage as being -- that second definition of "quite." I think your dictionary is just flat wrong at least as far as American English is concerned. Even in its example sentences, "quite" means "very" to me -- if you told me you were "quite tired" I'd gather you were "very tired"; if you told me "the dog was quite badly injured" I would worry for the "very badly injured" dog's well-being. (How could it even be "a little badly injured"? Isn't "a little badly" kind of a contradiction in terms?) I do think there's a sense in which "quite" is less than "totally" or "completely," but that's still nothing like saying that it means "not very."

Here are two dictionaries I absolutely do trust, on the subject:
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quite
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quite

If indeed this is a word that means something wildly different in the English spoken elsewhere in the world, the official GMAT would avoid it so as not to cause confusion. GMAC itself runs a number of checks against international English-language idiom to make sure that there is no cultural bias in the test.

But to my mind, "quite" = "very," and it's probably best to assume that, like me, many or most of the companies that author Sentence Correction questions that end up in these forums are doing so with American English in mind.
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New post 17 Feb 2020, 04:56
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AnthonyRitz wrote:
I'm sorry but I have never heard of and don't agree with -- would never use and would understand a usage as being -- that second definition of "quite."


That usage is extremely common in British English, and I believe in Canadian English too (since I lived in the UK for a long time, I can't always be sure). It's the more familiar usage to me. But I'm not American, and the GMAT is, so if "quite" means "very" to US speakers, that's what it means on the test. Still, I'd be surprised if the GMAT ever used the word just because it means different things to people from different places.

That said, I don't think the phrase "quite possible" in answer D improves the logic of the sentence. Possibility, like uniqueness, is a binary condition; things are either possible or they're not, just as they're either unique or they're not. Things can't be "quite possible" or "very possible" or "quite unique" or "very unique". The word "possible" already encompasses the idea that something might be likely, and if a sentence is trying to convey the idea that something is probable, and not merely possible, there are words in English that can precisely convey that meaning. The usage note at the bottom of this page elaborates on this: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/possible

So on the real GMAT, I'd be confident I could rule out any SC answer chance that used the phrase "quite possible" or "very possible". I wouldn't feel confident doing that on a prep company question, since prep companies generally (without exception, as best I can tell) don't match the standard of writing of the real GMAT.
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New post 17 Feb 2020, 12:13
IanStewart wrote:
AnthonyRitz wrote:
I'm sorry but I have never heard of and don't agree with -- would never use and would understand a usage as being -- that second definition of "quite."


That usage is extremely common in British English, and I believe in Canadian English too (since I lived in the UK for a long time, I can't always be sure). It's the more familiar usage to me. But I'm not American, and the GMAT is, so if "quite" means "very" to US speakers, that's what it means on the test. Still, I'd be surprised if the GMAT ever used the word just because it means different things to people from different places.

That said, I don't think the phrase "quite possible" in answer D improves the logic of the sentence. Possibility, like uniqueness, is a binary condition; things are either possible or they're not, just as they're either unique or they're not. Things can't be "quite possible" or "very possible" or "quite unique" or "very unique". The word "possible" already encompasses the idea that something might be likely, and if a sentence is trying to convey the idea that something is probable, and not merely possible, there are words in English that can precisely convey that meaning. The usage note at the bottom of this page elaborates on this: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/possible

So on the real GMAT, I'd be confident I could rule out any SC answer chance that used the phrase "quite possible" or "very possible". I wouldn't feel confident doing that on a prep company question, since prep companies generally (without exception, as best I can tell) don't match the standard of writing of the real GMAT.


The dictionary says this sense of "quite" is a British thing and not common in North America, so perhaps it's not big in Canada. I don't know. Either way, I agree that if this question was really so ambiguous in British English then the real GMAT would avoid it.

I disagree, though, about whether things can logically be "quite possible," or whether "quite possible" improves the sentence in American English.

No less an authority of American English grammar than the New York Times included the adjectival version "quite possibly" in an article title as recently as 2018 --and in article bodies many more times. There are 28,000,000 Google results for either "quite possible" or "quite possibly" (and 4.5 million more for "very possible"), and, even though I cannot find a single grammar resource other than the one you cited that directly discusses the phrase (I'd speculate that this is because the phrase is simply uncontroversially correct in the eyes of many), I did find the phrase used by some of these same grammarians, without further comment. I recognize that Collins English Dictionary disagrees (the note at the bottom of the link you sent). I don't think all of the authorities do. The only grammar-forum comment thread I could find on "very possible," by the way, deemed it correct.

Perhaps it's idiomatic, but I'd say that "quite possible" indicates a subset of what merely "possible" does -- the latter suggests anything above 0%, but "quite possible" would look askance at the bare minimum -- it suggests, to me, something that is significantly above 0% and in fact "plausible" (and yes, old-school grammar sticklers may insist that "plausible" only applies to things that are not actually true, but I'm not on that train either). This is not the same as "probable" or "likely," both of which indicate "over 50%"; I think that "quite possible" is weaker and suggests perhaps still below 50%.

Probably the real GMAT won't use any of these phrases, as the test abhors ambiguity and lack of consensus, but, if they somehow did show up, I think ruling out an SC answer choice that used the phrase "quite possible" or "very possible" -- even on the real GMAT -- would be a terrible idea. I would hope that we could agree that this sort of navel-gazing falls squarely under the heading of "bigger fish to fry."
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