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# Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law

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28 Oct 2006, 19:17
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Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law school and passing bar examinations, the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent.

(A) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent
(B) the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms have not risen comparably
(C) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably
(D) yet the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms has not risen to a comparable extent
(E) yet the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

Official Guide 12 Question

 Question: 43 Page: 42 Difficulty: 600

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25 May 2010, 21:32
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This is from OG12. OE is:

Agreement; Rhetorical construction

When a number of plural nouns appear in phrases between a singular subject and the verb, it can be easy to overlook the true subject of the verb. Here, judges, partners, firms, and women all occur between the singular subject, proportion, and the verb, which should also be singular, has risen. Concise expression is particularly important in a long construction; to a comparable extent may be more concisely expressed as comparably.

A Plural verb, have risen, does not agree with the singular subject, proportion.

B Have risen does not agree with proportion; here, women applies only to judges, not to partners at major law firms.

C Correct. In this sentence, has risen agrees with proportion, and comparably is more
concise than to a comparable extent. The modifying clause who are women follows
(1) judges and (2) partners at major law firms as closely as is possible given the content of the sentence; this positioning has the virtue of being clear in its meaning.

D The contrast has already been introduced by despite, so the addition of yet is illogical and ungrammatical; to a comparable extent is wordy.

E Despite introduces the contrast; adding yet is illogical and results in an ungrammatical construction.

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30 Jan 2011, 08:00
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The issue here is not the right answer but the outlook of GMAC. We thought that the grammar of the relative pronouns’ obedience to the 'noun - touch' rule is an important one, rather even an inexorable one. But in this issue, OG has made it clear that grammar is compromisable to context.

The question is now whether how far can we go by such a blatant flexibility of OG? The irony is that even this may change tomorrow. But that is GMAT for you, the big boss.
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31 Oct 2011, 03:19
In choice C, the relative pronoun who is modifying law firms. How does that make the answer correct?
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16 Apr 2013, 03:32
pqhai wrote:
C is correct.

(C) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably
Correct. "the proportion................has ................."

I would like to reinforce the concept of noun modifiers modifying slightly far away noun. Relative clause " who are women" modifying the noun phrase - "judges and partners at major law firms" correctly.
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01 Aug 2017, 06:03

Isn't "who" modifying "major law firms", in A and C?
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01 Aug 2017, 07:22
nks2611 wrote:
rekhabishop wrote:

Isn't "who" modifying "major law firms", in A and C?

Hey, look if we follow conciseation rule, then c is better over A, [SMILING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]

Sent from my vivo 1601 using GMAT Club Forum mobile app

But that should be the last principle, right? It doesn't take precedence over grammatical rules. I just feel that "who" is not modifying the correct nouns.
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01 Aug 2017, 10:30
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The grammar underlying the using of relative pronouns is that a relative pronoun can modify a slightly distant noun if it is not able to modify the word before it if logic doesn't permit and if the intervening phrase is essentially defining the eligible noun. (called a critical mission modifier by MGMAT)

Now let us look at choice C.

(C) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably ---
1. Logic does not permit the inanimate firms to be related to 'who'
2. 'at major law firms' is defining the noun 'partners' as the practitioners of law at these firms are called technically 'partners'
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01 Aug 2017, 14:39
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rekhabishop wrote:

But that should be the last principle, right? It doesn't take precedence over grammatical rules. I just feel that "who" is not modifying the correct nouns.

Hello rekhabishop,

Although you have already gotten quite few explanations for your doubt, I would just like to add my two cents. It might just help.

It is true that who and other relative pronoun modifiers modify the preceding noun entity. However, it is not necessary that this preceding noun entity will always be a single or double word noun entity. These modifier can also modify the preceding noun phrase.

This is what we see happening in Choice A and C of this official sentence.

In these choices, the noun modifier who modifies not the preceding noun word law firms but the preceding noun phrase judges and partners at major law firms.

There are two reasons for such modification:

Firstly, who cannot be used to refer to inanimate object. So who logically refers to judges and partners.

Secondly, this phrase at major law firms cannot be placed anywhere else in the sentence without violating the intended meaning. Since at major law firms is meant to modify judges and partners, at major law firms has to be written close to this entity. This is the reason why who can jump over at major law firms to refer to judges and partners.

There are many official sentences in which noun modifiers modify a slightly far-away noun.

For more details, explanations, and official examples, please review our very famous article named Noun Modifiers can Modify slightly far away noun in the following link:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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01 Aug 2017, 14:57
Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law school and passing bar examinations, the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent.

Quote:
(D) yet the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms has not risen to a comparable extent
(E) yet the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

'Yet' is redundant. 'Despite' already indicates that a change in direction will follow post the subordinate clause. Both are OUT.

Quote:
(A) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent
(B) the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms have not risen comparably

The Subject is 'The proportion' - Singular
Main verb is 'have not' - Plural
Subject Verb Disagreement. Both are OUT!

Quote:
(C) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

'The proportion' and 'has not' - Subject Verb Agreement
'who' correctly refers to 'the proportion of judges and partners'.

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01 Aug 2017, 18:55
akshayk wrote:
Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law school and passing bar examinations, the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent.

Quote:
(D) yet the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms has not risen to a comparable extent
(E) yet the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

'Yet' is redundant. 'Despite' already indicates that a change in direction will follow post the subordinate clause. Both are OUT.

Quote:
(A) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent
(B) the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms have not risen comparably

The Subject is 'The proportion' - Singular
Main verb is 'have not' - Plural
Subject Verb Disagreement. Both are OUT!

Quote:
(C) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

'The proportion' and 'has not' - Subject Verb Agreement
'who' correctly refers to 'the proportion of judges and partners'.

I could boil it down to C, but then I wasn't very sure if "who" is placed correctly. Shouldn't this follows the touch rule?
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01 Aug 2017, 19:58
rekhabishop wrote:
akshayk wrote:
Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law school and passing bar examinations, the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent.

Quote:
(D) yet the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms has not risen to a comparable extent
(E) yet the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

'Yet' is redundant. 'Despite' already indicates that a change in direction will follow post the subordinate clause. Both are OUT.

Quote:
(A) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women have not risen to a comparable extent
(B) the proportion of women judges and partners at major law firms have not risen comparably

The Subject is 'The proportion' - Singular
Main verb is 'have not' - Plural
Subject Verb Disagreement. Both are OUT!

Quote:
(C) the proportion of judges and partners at major law firms who are women has not risen comparably

'The proportion' and 'has not' - Subject Verb Agreement
'who' correctly refers to 'the proportion of judges and partners'.

I could boil it down to C, but then I wasn't very sure if "who" is placed correctly. Shouldn't this follows the touch rule?

In general, noun modifiers should be placed as close to the noun they modify. But in rare cases, A noun and a noun modifier can be separated by
1) a very short predicate
2) a short non-essential modifier set off by commas
3) the modifier is a set of parallel modifiers in which one of the modifiers is touching the noun

In this case, as pointed out before, 'at major law firms' is an essential noun modifier providing spacial information about the proportion of judges and partners. This prepositional phrase cannot be placed anywhere else in the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence.
Secondly, 'who' can only modify 'people' so there is no ambiguity as it correctly refers back to 'judges and partners'. There are no other nouns referring to people between the relative pronoun 'who' and 'judges and partners'.

If you have the Manhattan SC guide, just refer to chapter 10 and the section on noun modifiers.
https://gmatclub.com/forum/noun-modifie ... 35868.html

Hope this helps!
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Re: Despite the increasing number of women graduating from law   [#permalink] 01 Aug 2017, 19:58
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