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Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential

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Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2015, 05:42
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A
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C
D
E

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Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating temperature by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide, and giving pure water back to the atmosphere through evaporation

(A) Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating

(B) Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface and playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, the oceans moderate

(C) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and play an essential role in maintaining conditions for human existence on land, and by moderating

(D) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, play an essential role in mandating the conditions for human existence on land, and moderate

(E) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, and they moderate

Oceans on Earth

(A) CORRECT

(B) Parallelism (X and Y)

(C) Sentence Structure / Parallelism (X and Y)

(D) Parallelism (X and Y)

(E) Sentence Structure / Parallelism (X and Y)


First glance

The answers start with either covering, a modifier, or the oceans cover, a subject-verb pairing. Pay attention to Sentence Structure and Meaning.

Issues

(1) Sentence Structure / Parallelism: X and Y

The non-underlined portion of the sentence contains the words and giving. The word and is a parallelism marker (X and Y), so find the X element. In some of the choices, the X and Y elements are part of the core sentence, so examine the core for all five choices.

(A) The oceans play an essential role in maintaining …, moderating …, and giving …

(B) The oceans moderate …, and giving …

(C) The oceans cover … and play …, and by moderating …, and giving …

(D) The oceans cover …, play …, and moderate …, and giving …

(E) The oceans cover …, and they moderate …, and giving …

Answer (A) contains a valid core sentence and a list of three parallel modifying items (in the form X, Y, and Z) .

The first part of answer (B) is a valid core sentence, but the Y portion of the X and Y construction would have to be give in order to be parallel to moderate. Eliminate choice (B) for faulty parallelism.

The first part of answer (C) is again a valid core sentence, but the second half is problematic. The construction and by moderating implies that a second independent clause (complete sentence) is coming. For example:

She enrolled in school, and by studying hard and participating in class, she will earn top honors.

In answer (C), there is no equivalent to she will earn top honors. Answer (C) is the equivalent of she enrolled in school, and by studying hard and participating in class. Eliminate (C) because it is an incomplete sentence.

Answer (D) is especially tricky because just the underlined portion contains a completely valid X, Y, and Z structure. However, the sentence contains no X element to go with the non-underlined and giving at the end of the sentence. Eliminate choice (D) for faulty parallelism.

Likewise, choice (E) does not contain a valid X element to pair with the non-underlined and giving. (Note: the –ing words playing and maintaining earlier in this choice cannot be the X element to pair with giving because they are part of a separate clause. The X element has to appear in the same clause as the Y element, sometime after the words and they moderate.) Eliminate choice (E).

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (A) has a valid core sentence and a properly-constructed list of three parallel items.

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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2015, 07:01
should be A.

Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating temperature by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide, and giving pure water back to the atmosphere through evaporation

A Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating

B. Covering 71 percent of Earth’s Earth’s surface and playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, the oceans moderate---problem with moderate and giving

C. The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and play an essential role in maintaining conditions for human existence on land, and by moderating-- wrong use of and in this choice

D. The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, play an essential role in mandating the conditions for human existence on land, and moderate--Again no parallelism

E. The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, and they moderate
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2015, 16:35
Hi,

Although I agree that A is the correct answer, I wonder about the structure of this sentence.

The "comma +and giving" phrase indicates that this sentence has 3 parallel factors: maintaining the condition, moderating temperature, and giving pure water. All 3 modify the "essential role".

However, from the explanation in OG2016 and the perspective of meaning, "moderating temperature" and "giving pure water" are placed there to modify the "maintaining the conditions for human existence". I just do not understand why there is a comma before "and giving pure water". It is just a clause with 2 simple parallel phrase and without any modifiers between, so I think the structure should be "moderating... and giving pure water ...".
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 23 Nov 2015, 13:25
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Yeah, this is a funny problem. On the one hand, we could disregard the intended meaning and simply look at the three -ing words as parallel items. This would get us to A. If we dig a bit deeper, however, that starts to look strange . . .

For instance, the word "in" appears before the list. I can understand how the oceans play an essential role "in maintaining the conditions" and "in moderating temperature," but "in giving pure water back to the atmosphere" doesn't make sense. It would seem that we are saying oceans are just part of this last process, when in fact they are doing it all by themselves!

Additionally, we might notice that the first item is very general (maintaining conditions), while the other two items are specific ways in which the conditions (temperature and humidity) are maintained. It seems that they must be modifying the first item!

At this point, we might be tempted to drop A. That would be unfortunate, because then someone who didn't pay attention to all this would get the problem right, while we would miss it! To me, that is not great design on the GMAT's part--we don't see that kind of thing too often. In any case, if we look down the list using this new interpretation, we still won't find a parallel answer choice. Answer A's only offense seems to be a stray comma. Let's keep it.

Now, why is that comma there? Sometimes we add a comma where it might not seem warranted, with the goal of increasing clarity. Since the phrase "moderating temperature" is itself modified, we might think that "giving" is meant to be parallel with "the absorption." That would make "giving" another way that the oceans moderate temperature. The comma makes it clear that "giving" is a new item unto itself.
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Originally posted by DmitryFarber on 30 Oct 2015, 23:54.
Last edited by DmitryFarber on 23 Nov 2015, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2015, 08:20
DmitryFarber wrote:
Now, why is that comma there? Sometimes we add a comma where it might not seem warranted, with the goal of increasing clarity. Since the phrase "moderating temperature" is itself modified, we might think that "giving" is meant to be parallel with "the absorption." That would make "giving" another way that the oceans modify temperature. The comma makes it clear that "giving" is a new item unto itself.

Hello DmitryFarber, thanks for the phenomenal analysis. This portion however, is not clear when you say: the phrase "moderating temperature" is itself modified.

Also, when you mention "another way that the oceans modify temperature", I believe you mean to say "another way that the oceans moderate temperature". Please confirm.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2015, 09:54
Or can we say that GMAT wants to convey is not any more fastidious about list parallelism just as it tolerates equivocation on pronoun reference.
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New post 06 Nov 2015, 19:31
daagh wrote:
Or can we say that GMAT wants to convey is not any more fastidious about list parallelism just as it tolerates equivocation on pronoun reference.

Can you please explain this a bit more. Not very clear.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2015, 19:52
Gmatgrl : I wrote

Quote:
Or can we say that GMAT wants to convey is not any more fastidious about list parallelism just as it tolerates equivocation on pronoun reference
.

Let me clarify.

Yeah! It is not clear since I missed a few words. The edited thing should be “or can we say that GMAT wants to convey that it is not any more fastidious about list parallelism just as it tolerates equivocation on pronoun reference.”

As you know, GMAT allows certain amount flexibility in fixing the referents for pronouns. This we have known by GMAT’s marking as correct choices even those with uncertain referents. In the given case, the logical extension may be that even if there are only two items in a list, it doesn’t mind allowing a serial comma in those lists.

The other doubt is whether this an OG sample at all or whether there is some transcriptional error?

We don’t know at the moment.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2015, 09:59
daagh wrote:
The other doubt is whether this an OG sample at all or whether there is some transcriptional error?

Thanks. I just checked. This is question number 66 in OG16 and the comma is present in the question as well.

Official explanation does not mention any reason for comma.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2015, 13:26
Sorry for the belated clarification:

1) the phrase "moderating temperature" is itself modified

"Moderating temperature" is an adverbial modifier. It modifies the previous clause: "the oceans play an essential role . . . " However, we don't just say "moderating temperature" and move on to something else. The phrase "by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide" modifies the modifier! How do the oceans moderate temperature? By the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide. This additional modifier makes the sentence more complicated, and I think that's why the author added a comma. If the modifying phrase were just "moderating temperature and giving back pure water," there would be absolutely no reason to put a comma between the two modifiers.

2) Also, when you mention "another way that the oceans modify temperature", I believe you mean to say "another way that the oceans moderate temperature".

You're absolutely right. All that moderating and modifying got me a bit mixed up. I've corrected the original post for clarity.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2015, 19:38
Thanks daagh and DmitryFarber for the explanations. It is much clearer now, though overall I found it to be on the slightly difficult side:(.
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2016, 17:15
DmitryFarber and other experts:
Choice A might be an OA but it sounds quite awkward to me. Here is why -

It seems to me that the intent of the author is to say "Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, BY moderating temperature by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide, and BY giving pure water back to the atmosphere through evaporation" i.e. the oceans play an essential role ...BY moderating temperature ....and BY giving pure water.

However, I am not quite sure if I see very often that a participle phrase especially when it occurs at the end of the sentence is used instead of using BY construction. For instance -

Sweeping across the night sky, the bats hunted their prey (sounds quite ok to my ear)
The bats hunted their prey, sweeping across the night sky (sounds awkward)
Second kind of construction is not very common at least for me.

Does it make sense? What Im missing here in terms of GMAT preference?
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2016, 19:10
X of Y's structure is wrong.

Then how come '71 percent of Earth's' is correct in option A.

X = 71 percent
Y = Earth

Can someone explain?
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2017, 20:49
Hi Kartab,

It's not wrong at all. It is perfectly fine to write 71 percent of Earth's water, biggest piece of the pie, etc.

Hope this helps!

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SS18

KARTAB wrote:
X of Y's structure is wrong.

Then how come '71 percent of Earth's' is correct in option A.

X = 71 percent
Y = Earth

Can someone explain?
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Apr 2017, 01:49
Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating temperature by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide, and giving pure water back to the atmosphere through evaporation

A Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating

B. Covering 71 percent of Earth’s Earth’s surface and playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, the oceans moderate

C. The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and play an essential role in maintaining conditions for human existence on land, and by moderating

D. The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, play an essential role in mandating the conditions for human existence on land, and moderate

E. The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, and they moderate

Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, correctly modifies the subject here the oceans
Verb-ing modifier,clause
can modify the subject of the clause and the entire clause itself for ex
Wearing the black shirt,John killed the snake.
Here modifier modifies the John i.e subject

In choice C
cover and play two things happening which is not the intended meaning of the sentence
In D and E and B
and moderate is not correct as we have in non underlined part giving

So A is the best answer
moderating || giving
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2017, 01:07
Hi guys I'm new here, anyway, I was looking for an answer here since I did not find the OA's very clear. I think the point here is that most of the answers are grammatically correct, so we gotta look at the meaning of them. The oceans play an essential role because they moderate etc, so answer A is the only one which gives that meaning. Hope I've been clear
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Re: Covering 71 percent of Earth's surface, the oceans play an essential  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2018, 10:55
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Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a GMAT question that focuses on parallelism! Let's start by looking at the original question, and highlight any major differences between the options in orange:

Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating temperature by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide, and giving pure water back to the atmosphere through evaporation.

(A) Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating
(B) Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface and playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, the oceans moderate
(C) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and play an essential role in maintaining conditions for human existence on land, and by moderating
(D) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, play an essential role in mandating the conditions for human existence on land, and moderate
(E) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, and they moderate

Since we already know this sentence focuses on parallelism, let's stick with that for now. We need to make sure that everything tied to the role of oceans on Earth uses parallel structure or wording.

To help us figure out which method of parallel structure or wording we should go with, we should first check to see if any other part of the list is not underlined. If it's not underlined, it cannot change. That means we MUST make everything else in the sentence match the non-underlined part! Here is the original sentence:

Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating temperature by the absorption of heat and carbon dioxide, and giving pure water back to the atmosphere through evaporation.

The part highlighted in blue is not underlined, so everything else must match up to that phrase using parallel wording or structure! Now let's take a closer look at the options, and see which ones use parallelism correctly:

(A) Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans play an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, moderating -->PARALLEL

(B) Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface and playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, the oceans moderate --> NOT PARALLEL

(C) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and play an essential role in maintaining conditions for human existence on land, and by moderating --> NOT PARALLEL

(D) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, play an essential role in mandating the conditions for human existence on land, and moderate --> NOT PARALLEL
(We understand that everything in this option is parallel, but none of it matches the non-underlined part that starts with "giving.")

(E) The oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, playing an essential role in maintaining the conditions for human existence on land, and they moderate --> NOT PARALLEL

There you go - option A is the ONLY option that uses parallelism correctly! All other options have at least one section that doesn't match the non-underlined portion of the sentence!


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