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# Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not

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betterscore wrote:
Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.

(A) Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is

(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but is

(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but rather

(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather

(E) Although covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, but

Important: When a sentence begins with a with noun modifier (as it does in the original sentence), stop at the comma and ask the question that the modifier raises

So, once we read, Despite its covering the entire planet, we should stop and ask . . .

"What covers the entire planet?"

If the sentence is properly constructed, the part that immediately follows the comma will answer that question in a logical manner.

Reading on we get...
A) Earth...
Earth covers the entire planet?
Makes no sense. Eliminate A

B) Earth's crust
Earth's crust covers the entire planet.
Makes sense. Keep B

C) Earth's crust
Makes sense. Keep C

D) Earth's crust
Makes sense. Keep D

E) Earth...
Makes no sense. Eliminate E

We're left with B, C and D. So, we'll look for other issues.

(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but is
Here we have the NEITHER/NOR correlative
So, the parts that immediately follow NEITHER and NOR must be parallel
Here we have ... Earth's crust is NEITHER seamless NOR is it stationary
is it stationary = verb-pronoun-adjective
Not parallel.
Eliminate B

(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust is NEITHER seamless NOR is it stationary
This construction suffers from the same issue that we found in answer choice B
Eliminate C

By the process of elimination, D must be the correct answer.

ASIDE: Let's take a look at D for kicks.
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is NEITHER seamless NOR stationary
PERFECT - seamless and stationary are both adjectives.
Parallelism is maintained.

Cheers,
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Hello Everyone!

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

Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.

(A) Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is
(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but is
(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but rather
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather
(E) Although covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, but

After a quick glance over the options, we have 3 main things we can focus on:

1. How they begin (modifier-antecedent agreement)
2. Earth has a crust / Earth's crust (modifier-antecedent agreement)
3. not/neither seamless or/nor stationary (idioms)

Since #1 and #2 deal with the same grammar issue (modifier-antecedent agreement), let's start there. When we deal with modifiers on the GMAT, the first thing we should focus on is if the modifier is directly before/after the word it's modifying.

The modifiers at the beginning of each option are supposed to refer to the Earth's crust - NOT the Earth as a whole!

Here is now our options handle the modifier at the beginning of the sentence:

(A) Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is
(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but is
(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but rather
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather
(E) Although covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, but

We can rule out options A & E because the modifier should refer to the Earth's crust, rather than the Earth as a whole. The Earth cannot cover itself!

Now that we only have a few options left, let's focus on #3 on our list: neither...nor. Since they all include the word "neither," we need to make sure they all follow this format:

Neither X nor Y
(where X and Y are written using parallel wording or structure)

Let's see how each option handles this:

(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but is --> neither X nor is it Y = WRONG/NOT PARALLEL
(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but rather --> neither X nor is it Y = WRONG/NOT PARALLEL
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather --> neither X nor Y = CORRECT!

There you have it - option D is the right option because it uses the correct "neither X nor Y" idiomatic structure, and it uses modifiers correctly!

Don't study for the GMAT. Train for it.
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My Ans - D
Reason -
1) earth's crust should immediately follow the action i.e "covering the entire planet" because it is the one actually covering the planet.
2) Parallelisim - Earth's crust is Neither x, nor y, but rather z. X, Y and Z should be parallel.
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ChrisLele wrote:
First off, we need to figure out what is 'covering the entire planet.' 'Earth' would not make sense as earth does not cover earth. Eliminate (A) and (E). Next, the construction is NEITHER X NOR Y. Eliminate (B) and (C). Both contain 'it.' And just like that the answer is (D) .

Hi, here in the option D, isn't 'but' and 'rather' redundant ?
To me this sentence sounds awkward -> ".... seamless nor stationary, but rather it is fragmented... "
That's the reason I choose B, though the construction NEITHER X NOR Y was not being followed there.

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Hi there,

Let’s examine Choice B:
Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but is:
1. This choice uses neither X nor Y where X and Y should be parallel. However,
X = seamless (adjective)
Y = is it stationary (clause)
These entities are not parallel.

2. Also in a statement, a subject is followed by a verb. Here the verb is followed is by the subject. This structure is used in questions. For example: Where were you all this while? In this choice “is it stationary” follows a structure that is used in question.

Now let’s analyze choice D, the correct answer:
Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather:
In this choice neither is followed by “seamless”, an adjective, and nor is followed by “stationary”, another adjective. This choice is absolutely correct.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not [#permalink]
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Dont you think but and rather redundant ????

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Re: Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not [#permalink]
hi,
i rejected D & E bcoz although(subordinator) and but(coordinating conjunction) can't go together.
pls help in this.

br//
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suryav wrote:
hi,
i rejected D & E bcoz although(subordinator) and but(coordinating conjunction) can't go together.
pls help in this.

Hi Surya and Aristocrat,

This is the sentence with the correct answer choice D.

Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather fragmented into mobile semi-rigid plates.

We need to understand what the contrasting information in this sentence is. The contrasting information is that although the earth’s crust covers the entire planet, it is fragmented and not seamless.

So here “although” is not used against “but” in that the two contrasting words are negated. ”but” has been used to express the contrast that the earth’s crust is not seamless but is fragmented. So there are actually two points of contrast –
A. Earth crust covers whole planet, but it is not seamless.
B. Earth crust is not seamless but is segmented.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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despite +noun
is idiomatic

despite +doing

is not idiomatic

is that correct?
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thangvietnam wrote:
despite +noun
is idiomatic

despite +doing

is not idiomatic

is that correct?

Hi thangvietnam,

1. despite + noun is a the correct idiom. Example: Despite heavy snow, we went to the concert.

2. depite + verb-ing (doing) is also a correct idiom where verb-ing is a noun. Example: Despite finishing all her work on time, Mary could not go to meet her friend.

Both these usages of "despite" is correct.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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In SC question, there are always more than one errors. This question is an oddies but goodies example of the use idiom "neither x nor y" and the use of "although" and "despite"".

Despite its covering the entire planet. Earth has a
crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is
fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.

(A) Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has
a crust that is not seamless or stationary,
rather it is
>>> WRONG. right structure should be "not x or y, rather z"

(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet,
Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it
stationary, but is >>>> WRONG. Right idiom should be "neither x nor y", not "neither x nor is y"

(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust
is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but
rather >>> WRONG. Same reason as B

(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's
crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but
rather >>> CORRECT. Right idiom "neither x nor y". The use of "although" is correct. After "although" always is a clause.

(E) Although covering the entire planet, Earth has a
crust that is not seamless or stationary, but >>>> WRONG. Because "covering" does not modify Earth, it modifies "Earth's crust"

Hope it helps.
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Re: Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not [#permalink]
Despite its covering the entire planet. Earth has a
crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is
fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.
(A) Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has
a crust that is not seamless or stationary,
rather it is
(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet,
Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it
stationary, but is
(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust
is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but
rather
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's
crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but
rather
(E) Although covering the entire planet, Earth has a
crust that is not seamless or stationary, but

I understand that there is a dangling modifier in this sentence and hence D would be the most appropriate option. However, isn't "but rather" redundant?
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gmacmustbecrazy wrote:
I understand that there is a dangling modifier in this sentence and hence D would be the most appropriate option. However, isn't "but rather" redundant?

Dear gmacmustbecrazy,
That's an excellent question, and I'm happy to respond.

Using "but" and "rather" together does sound very deliberate, as if the writer wants to make absolutely sure that we get the contrast in the sentence, but it's not actually redundant. This is a very subtle point. I don't know how much outside reading you do, but in sophisticated reading (the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist magazine, ...) you will find the "but rather" construction occasionally. Doing this kind of sophisticated reading, over and above your GMAT preparation, would probably be the best way to develop an ear for these very subtle boundaries --- here, for example, we have the mild inflection between appropriately emphatic vs. redundant.

Here's a blog about reading for the GMAT:

Here's a free lesson video on redundancy:
https://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/920-avoid-redundancy

Does all this make sense?
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Re: Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not [#permalink]
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gmacmustbecrazy wrote:
Despite its covering the entire planet. Earth has a
crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is
fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.
(A) Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has
a crust that is not seamless or stationary,
rather it is
(B) Despite the fact that it covers the entire planet,
Earth's crust is neither seamless nor is it
stationary, but is
(C) Despite covering the entire planet, Earth's crust
is neither seamless nor is it stationary, but
rather
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's
crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but
rather
(E) Although covering the entire planet, Earth has a
crust that is not seamless or stationary, but

I understand that there is a dangling modifier in this sentence and hence D would be the most appropriate option. However, isn't "but rather" redundant?

It made me spend some time with the question and spend some time with the definition of the word "rather". https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rather

When the word "rather" is used to mean "INSTEAD", "but rather" brings out the intended contrast and emphasis both together.

I'd rather (=sorry ) be suspicious about the words "although" and "but" in the same sentence as redendant. But , not in this sentence.

I think the usage here very similar to NOT X BUT RATHER Y (more emphatic on the importance of Y) -- vs -- NOT X BUT Y (a mere expectation reset in favour of Y)
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Hi TGC,

Let me try to answer your questions.

(1) “Despite” can be followed by a noun or verb-ing modifier. Take the following examples:
a. Despite bad weather. Jane came over for dinner.
b. Despite being the youngest in the group, Bob gave the best answers.

(2) It is NOT ALWAYS necessary for “Although” to be preceded by a clause in order to denote a contrast. For example:

a. Although simple, the outfit stands out in the crowd.

As we can see, “although” here is not followed by a clause. It is just followed by a word – small (an adjective = noun modifier). Now this noun modifier correctly modifies the Subject of the following main clause and hence, presents logical and unambiguous comparison.

So it is not necessary for “Although” to be always followed by a clause.

Now let’s come back to the official sentence and study the correct answer Choice D:

Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.

When it comes to parallelism, we must be very careful in identifying the correct parallel list. We first need to identify the correct entities here.

This sentence is presenting a few characteristics of Earth’s crust. It:
a. is neither seamless nor stationary
b. but rather (is) fragmented into mobile semigrid plates.

In this answer choice all these entities are grammatically as well as logically parallel. The choice employs appropriate idioms to use these adjectives correctly to denote the correct comparison.

Note that “is” is not only applicable to “neither seamless not stationary” but also to “rather fragmented”. Here two verb phrases are parallel to each other.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not [#permalink]
Hi e-gmat,

Hi understood your examples and logically they are correct. However, I have read many explanations of OG12/13 and it seems that GMAC is a strong advocate of the idea of a CLAUSE, not any modifier, following conjunction "Although" . And many times this is the sole ground on which GMAC rejects an option as INCORRECT.
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Re: Despite its covering the entire planet, Earth has a crust that is not [#permalink]

Hi TGC,

Well, yes. In most of the official sentences, we see "although" followed by a clause. But I do not quite agree that even if "although" is followed by correct phrase that clearly shows the contrast, GMAC will eliminate it as INCORRECT. There has to be usage error in order to reject it as incorrect.

We can analyze a sentence if you have any to instantiate your claim.

Thanks.