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Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2014, 05:57
I have some thoughts about the correct sentece. If I am wrong, please correct me.

I remember a worng example in the MGMAT GUIDE: I see the man clenning the steps yeasterday. since the "cleaning" and "see" don't happen at the same time, it is wrong.

In the correct sentence: Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-formsemerged much earlier than previously thought.
In my views, "suggesting" and “gathered" also do not happened at the same time, but "suggest" is diffrent from the verb "clean" which happens instantly. "Suggest" is a constant action which happens all the time. Thus, that's why "suggesting" is correct here. Am I right?

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New post 29 Oct 2014, 10:17
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liu1993918 wrote:
I have some thoughts about the correct sentece. If I am wrong, please correct me.

I remember a worng example in the MGMAT GUIDE: I see the man clenning the steps yeasterday. since the "cleaning" and "see" don't happen at the same time, it is wrong.

In the correct sentence: Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-formsemerged much earlier than previously thought.
In my views, "suggesting" and “gathered" also do not happened at the same time, but "suggest" is diffrent from the verb "clean" which happens instantly. "Suggest" is a constant action which happens all the time. Thus, that's why "suggesting" is correct here. Am I right?

Dear liu1993918,
I'm happy to respond. :-) Yes, as you found out from MGMAT, a present participle (verb + "ing") takes on the tense of the main verb. If we need to establish a different time, we need to use a subordinate clause.
I see the man cleaning the steps yesterday. = wrong
I see the man who was cleaning the steps yesterday. = correct

Now, in this sentence, the very tricky thing is --- what is the tense of the main verb? The main verb is NOT "gathered," a past tense verb. The main verb is "have gathered," which is a present perfect verb. For more on the perfect tenses, see:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-verb ... ct-tenses/

The present perfect tense is a notoriously tricky tense, because even though it refers to an action that began in the past, either the action is still continuing, or its effect or relevance is still continuing. In some way, the action or its consequences are still very much present to us, even though the beginning of the action is in the past
"...scientists have gathered evidence ..."
Suppose that is factually true. What does it mean? Either the scientists are still gathering the evidence now, or the evidence-gathering has come to an end but the process of sorting through the evidence, interpreting it, and deciding what it means is still very much present to use In one way or another, the action of evidence-gathering is having a profound impact on our present moment. That is precisely what the present perfect tense implies.

The participle is completely correct --- the "digging" was simultaneous with the "evidence gathering" --- they are both in the present-perfect-tense time frame.

There's absolutely no problem here Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2014, 23:29
betterscore wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had

(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was

(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that


25seconds
Digging in sediments in northern China, - modify "scientists"
A& B -out
C- correct,concise
D- " life-forms than that which was" - wrong constucton
E-"which suggests " - wrong usage
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 16 Feb 2015, 07:15
Hi, is it right to use past perfect in choice A&B?
I think it's better to use past tense since there is "previously" in this sentence, am I right?
If not, please correct me. Thanks!

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New post 17 Feb 2015, 11:08
Ptting wrote:
Hi, is it right to use past perfect in choice A&B?
I think it's better to use past tense since there is "previously" in this sentence, am I right?
If not, please correct me. Thanks!

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

Here's a blog on the perfect tenses:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-verb ... ct-tenses/

In (A) & (B), the sentence would end " . . . much earlier than they had previously thought." Yes, using the past perfect with "previously" is a wee bit redundant, a wee bit awkward. Here's the important thing to understand, though: it's not deal-breaker wrong. In other words, sometimes, the OA on an official SC question is a bit awkward, a bit less than ideal --- it's just better than all the other answers. This kind of small picayune mistake could be part of an OA on the GMAT. It's not trainwreck wrong. It's less than ideal, but in a pinch, could be passable.

All of mathematics has that very clear right vs. wrong distinction. Grammar has that on a few things, such as SVA, but for the most part, it is a lot of shades of gray. Using "previously" with the past perfect is not pure white, but it's not jet black either: it's light gray.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2015, 21:59
mikemcgarry wrote:
Ptting wrote:
Hi, is it right to use past perfect in choice A&B?
I think it's better to use past tense since there is "previously" in this sentence, am I right?
If not, please correct me. Thanks!

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

Here's a blog on the perfect tenses:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-verb ... ct-tenses/

In (A) & (B), the sentence would end " . . . much earlier than they had previously thought." Yes, using the past perfect with "previously" is a wee bit redundant, a wee bit awkward. Here's the important thing to understand, though: it's not deal-breaker wrong. In other words, sometimes, the OA on an official SC question is a bit awkward, a bit less than ideal --- it's just better than all the other answers. This kind of small picayune mistake could be part of an OA on the GMAT. It's not trainwreck wrong. It's less than ideal, but in a pinch, could be passable.

All of mathematics has that very clear right vs. wrong distinction. Grammar has that on a few things, such as SVA, but for the most part, it is a lot of shades of gray. Using "previously" with the past perfect is not pure white, but it's not jet black either: it's light gray.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)

Thanks a lot, Mike :-D

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2015, 00:48
A and B have dangling modifier issue. The subject must be scientists.
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jan 2016, 15:37
Hi mikemcgarry / daagh / chetan2u,


If we have options like-

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

Is there any difference between two OR both are exactly same..??

Please assist.


Thanks and Regrds
Prakhar
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New post 19 Jan 2016, 17:42
RAHKARP27071989 wrote:
If we have options like-

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

Is there any difference between two OR both are exactly same..??

Please assist.

Thanks and Regrds
Prakhar

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

First of all, I will point out a grammar mistake in your question. It's not
If we have options like-
It should be:
If we have options such as-

The GMAT is usually fussy about having a "that" to begin a "that" clause, such as the one beginning with "complex life-forms . . ." The verb "to suggest" is a verb that takes "that"-clauses, and if this verb is followed by a clause, the GMAT usually wants the word "that" to appear.

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = perfect

(D1) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = missing the "that," probably not acceptable by GMAT standards

(D1) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = technically correct, but awkward and redundant-sounding, so not ideal.

The best of the three is option (C).

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2016, 02:56
mikemcgarry wrote:
RAHKARP27071989 wrote:
If we have options like-

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

Is there any difference between two OR both are exactly same..??

Please assist.

Thanks and Regrds
Prakhar

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

First of all, I will point out a grammar mistake in your question. It's not
If we have options like-
It should be:
If we have options such as-

The GMAT is usually fussy about having a "that" to begin a "that" clause, such as the one beginning with "complex life-forms . . ." The verb "to suggest" is a verb that takes "that"-clauses, and if this verb is followed by a clause, the GMAT usually wants the word "that" to appear.

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = perfect

(D1) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = missing the "that," probably not acceptable by GMAT standards

(D1) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than . . . = technically correct, but awkward and redundant-sounding, so not ideal.

The best of the three is option (C).

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Hi mikemcgarry,

Thanks alot for such a debrief.
I agree that in the above-mentioned examples, C is best.

But what I am more concerned about is that.

Is NOUN + THAT + VERB = NOUN + VERB-ing OR it depends on context..??
If depends on context, then can you please provide few examples so that I can comprehend this concept at my best.

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar
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New post 20 Jan 2016, 06:49
Hi mikemcgarry,

I come across question on same concept:

In 1850 Lucretia Mott published her Discourse on Women, arguing in a treatise for
women to have equal political and legal rights
and for changes in the married women’s
property laws.

A. arguing in a treatise for women to have equal political and legal rights
B. arguing in a treatise for equal political and legal rights for women
C. a treatise that advocates women’s equal political and legal rights
D. a treatise advocating women’s equal political and legal rights
E. a treatise that argued for equal political and legal rights for women

OA- E

I agree that we need parallelism after legal rights ( For women and for changes)
But, if we leave this aside..
Is there any difference between C and D..??

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar
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RAHKARP27071989 wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry,

Thanks alot for such a debrief.
I agree that in the above-mentioned examples, C is best.

But what I am more concerned about is that.

Is NOUN + THAT + VERB = NOUN + VERB-ing OR it depends on context..??
If depends on context, then can you please provide few examples so that I can comprehend this concept at my best.

I come across question on same concept:

In 1850 Lucretia Mott published her Discourse on Women, arguing in a treatise for
women to have equal political and legal rights
and for changes in the married women’s
property laws.

A. arguing in a treatise for women to have equal political and legal rights
B. arguing in a treatise for equal political and legal rights for women
C. a treatise that advocates women’s equal political and legal rights
D. a treatise advocating women’s equal political and legal rights
E. a treatise that argued for equal political and legal rights for women

OA- E

I agree that we need parallelism after legal rights ( For women and for changes)
But, if we leave this aside..
Is there any difference between C and D..??

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar

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

The short answer is: it depends.

In the structure [noun]"that"[verb], the "that" clause is clearly a noun-modifier modifying the noun it touches. That's the only option.

In the structure [noun][participle], the participle usually would be an noun-modifier modifying the noun, but participles can be either noun-modifiers or verb modifier, and this allows them considerably more flexibility in their use. Example
Yankee Doodle came to town riding on a pony.
In that oft-quoted sentence, the participle "riding" is acting as a verb modifier, modifying the action of the clause. It describes the manner in which Yankee Doodle "came." The participle "riding" is not modifying the noun "town;" thus, the "that" clause substitution would produce a very different, illogical, and incorrect sentence.
Yankee Doodle came to a town that rides on a pony (!)

Often if the participle is a verb or clause modifier, it would be separated from the noun by a comma:
The teacher yelled at the class, scaring the students into obedience.

It all depends on context. In the question about Lucretia Mott (OG13, SC #41; OG2016, SC #60), (C) & (D) have identical meanings, but as you know, both are wrong in the larger context of that sentence.

My friend, it is 100% impossible to arrive at mastery of SC by learning some ideal collection of rules. The problem is that there is always too much that depends on context. To arrive at mastery, it is absolutely indispensable to develop the habit of reading. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/how-to-imp ... bal-score/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2016, 12:20
Hi mikemcgarry,


Thanks alot for detailed explanation. I got your point.


Regards,
Prakhar :)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 11 Feb 2016, 22:34
mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

Please explain.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. :-) You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Hello. Your explanation inspired me to give some thoughts to the four incorrect choices. I tried to complete them for better understanding, althought they now seem really wordy.
Would you please kindly correct me if there is anything wrong (etc., the verb tense or construction)? I know my writing is kind of disgusting and you probably gonna lose patience, but please please help me out~ Thanks in advance.
You have already done this with choice C:
(C) Scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.
Here is what I have completed:
(A) Evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms emerged that they had previously thought.
(A) Evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when they had previously thought that complex life-forms emerged.
QUESTION 1: Two version of completion, which one is correct?
QUESTION2: I think there is something wrong with the past perfect tense "they had previously thought". How could action "scientists had thought" happened even ealier than action "life-forms emerged"? However both OG explanations and yours did not mention this problem. Would you kindly explain it??
(B) Evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than an emergence of complex life-forms that had been previously thought.
QUESTION 3: I think that we should use the pronoun "that", rather than "it", to refer to the antecedent "an emergence of complex life-forms". Because it goes like "a much earlier emergence" rather than "its much earlier emergence", indicating that we are talking about a new copy of action "emergence" instead of the same actual one. Right?
And the choice then goes like: Evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that that had been previously thought. (I know this is clearly ungrammatical, just want to make sure I use the right pronoun and complete it right.)
COMMENT 1: In this version, also there is the problem of verb tense "had been previously thought".
(D) Scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than an emergence of complex life-forms which was previously thought.
(E) Scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than an emergence of complex life-forms that was previously thought.
QUESTION 4: You said that we are allowed to drop everything that is a repeat or obvious from context. It is still confusing to me which words can be omitted. For instance, choice B kept "had been", choice D kept "was" (I think "that which" are not the only two redundant words. The leftover "was" here looks pretty awkward to me.), choice E kept "that", choice A kept "they had" (it seems to me that this is different because this is an active voice here, so I am not sure whether "they had" are redundant).

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2016, 01:07
mikemcgarry wrote:
RAHKARP27071989 wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry,

Thanks alot for such a debrief.
I agree that in the above-mentioned examples, C is best.

But what I am more concerned about is that.

Is NOUN + THAT + VERB = NOUN + VERB-ing OR it depends on context..??
If depends on context, then can you please provide few examples so that I can comprehend this concept at my best.

I come across question on same concept:

In 1850 Lucretia Mott published her Discourse on Women, arguing in a treatise for
women to have equal political and legal rights
and for changes in the married women’s
property laws.

A. arguing in a treatise for women to have equal political and legal rights
B. arguing in a treatise for equal political and legal rights for women
C. a treatise that advocates women’s equal political and legal rights
D. a treatise advocating women’s equal political and legal rights
E. a treatise that argued for equal political and legal rights for women

OA- E

I agree that we need parallelism after legal rights ( For women and for changes)
But, if we leave this aside..
Is there any difference between C and D..??

Thanks and Regards,
Prakhar

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

The short answer is: it depends.

In the structure [noun]"that"[verb], the "that" clause is clearly a noun-modifier modifying the noun it touches. That's the only option.

In the structure [noun][participle], the participle usually would be an noun-modifier modifying the noun, but participles can be either noun-modifiers or verb modifier, and this allows them considerably more flexibility in their use. Example
Yankee Doodle came to town riding on a pony.
In that oft-quoted sentence, the participle "riding" is acting as a verb modifier, modifying the action of the clause. It describes the manner in which Yankee Doodle "came." The participle "riding" is not modifying the noun "town;" thus, the "that" clause substitution would produce a very different, illogical, and incorrect sentence.
Yankee Doodle came to a town that rides on a pony (!)

Often if the participle is a verb or clause modifier, it would be separated from the noun by a comma:
The teacher yelled at the class, scaring the students into obedience.

It all depends on context. In the question about Lucretia Mott (OG13, SC #41; OG2016, SC #60), (C) & (D) have identical meanings, but as you know, both are wrong in the larger context of that sentence.

My friend, it is 100% impossible to arrive at mastery of SC by learning some ideal collection of rules. The problem is that there is always too much that depends on context. To arrive at mastery, it is absolutely indispensable to develop the habit of reading. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/how-to-imp ... bal-score/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Hi mikemcgarry,
A bit confused.

In 1850 Lucretia Mott published her Discourse on Women, a treatise advocating for
women's equal political and legal rights
and for changes in the married women’s
property laws.

Here since the Particle (a treatise advocating for) is supposed to take its tense from the main verb, isn't the sentence wrong?
It would mean "a treatise that advocated for" as the main verb is "published" (simple past tense).

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2016, 04:19
hi experts,
I genuinely want your help to distinct A and C, although I totally got that evidence as the subject of sentence is incorrect,
I am confused for the OE for A and C, because I want to make it clear why "suggesting" in A is ambiguous.
OE for A wrote:
Furthermore, the dependent clause starting with suggesting may be construed with either the evidence or the scientists,


C, which is correct, use "suggesting" as well,
why suggesting in C is correct , while suggesting in A is ambiguous.

one more question,
OE for D wrote:
D In this context it would be preferable to use a verb (emerged),

my understand is that suggest introduce a THAT clause include action and doer, or introduce a noun/noun phrase that won't include both doer and action,
am I right?


waiting for your reply
have a nice day
>_~

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2016, 11:11
zoezhuyan wrote:
hi experts,
I genuinely want your help to distinct A and C, although I totally got that evidence as the subject of sentence is incorrect,
I am confused for the OE for A and C, because I want to make it clear why "suggesting" in A is ambiguous.

OE for A: Furthermore, the dependent clause starting with suggesting may be construed with either the evidence or the scientists,

C, which is correct, use "suggesting" as well,
why suggesting in C is correct , while suggesting in A is ambiguous.

one more question,
OE for D: D In this context it would be preferable to use a verb (emerged),
my understand is that suggest introduce a THAT clause include action and doer, or introduce a noun/noun phrase that won't include both doer and action,
am I right?

waiting for your reply
have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,
I'm happy to respond, my friend. :-)

If I may make a suggestion: please don't use the quote function for ordinary quotes from books or from the problem. The quote function is typically used, as above, to indicate the quote of another speaker on GMAT Club. Using it for each quote from a book makes your post chunkier and harder to follow. See how I used colors and quote marks in what I quoted above.

The problem with (A) is NOT the word "suggesting." The problem is the misplaced modifier. Consider (A) in the context of the whole underlined sentence:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists . . .
Who was "digging in sediments in northern China"? That's a noun-modifier, and according to the Modifier Touch Rule, it should be touching the noun that it modifies. Well, we know that "evidence" was NOT doing the "digging." This is a classic misplaced modifier mistake. It's tricky because we can't look at the underlined part alone and figure this out: we have to look at how the choice "plugs in" to the sentence around it. Choice (A) is a train wreck when read with the non-underlined part that precedes it.

That's the problem with (A). Also, (A) has a weird passive construction that comes across as lily-livered. It has multiple problems. Nevertheless, the word "suggesting" in (A) is 100% perfectly fine, as it is in (C).

Now, let's talk about (D). (D) is 100% grammatically correct. In terms of grammar, it is completely flawless. Despite this, it is an abysmally wrong answer choice. It passes in terms of grammar but it spectacularly fails in terms of rhetoric. You are 100% right: grammatically, the word "suggest" can be followed by a "that" clause or by a noun. That's correct but besides the point.

Consider (C) & (D) side by side:
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
These two have the same meaning, and both are 100% grammatically correct. Version (C) is like a lean Olympic athletic, sleek, efficient, direct, powerful. By contrast, (D) is the longest answer--rarely is the longest answer the correct one! Here, (D) is bloated, weak, indirect, flabby---it seems to be trying to win a contest for saying what it has to say in the most words possible. Any answer choice trying to win that contest is automatically wrong on the GMAT.

I realize it can be hard for a non-native speaker to sense the rhetorical construction. One important clue is when a single word switches between noun vs. verb among the answer choices. As a very general guideline, we usually get a more powerful and more direct sentence when use the verb form, the action form, rather than a noun.
"...suggesting that complex life-forms emerged..." = That's an action! That's direct & powerful!
"...that suggests a much earlier emergence of ..." = Yawn! Boring!

My friend, here's what I'll say. Look at advertising slogans. The grammar is often atrocious, but ads are packed with direct and powerful language, including lots of commands. Play a game with these: try restating the slogans using nouns rather than verbs and using more indirect language.
Original: Our product changes people's lives!
Changed: A change in peoples lives takes place because of our product.
The business that had the second version as its advertising slogan would go out of business very quickly! Have fun changing advertising slogans, making them as indirect and weak as possible. Once you appreciate the pattern of changing direct language to indirect language, it will give you more appreciate for how the test writer changes the direct language of an OA, such as (C), and creates an obviously wrong answer, such as (D).

Does all this make sense?

Have a good day, my friend! :-)
Mike :-)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2016, 00:37
mikemcgarry wrote:
If I may make a suggestion: please don't use the quote function for ordinary quotes from books or from the problem. The quote function is typically used, as above, to indicate the quote of another speaker on GMAT Club. Using it for each quote from a book makes your post chunkier and harder to follow. See how I used colors and quote marks in what I quoted above.

thanks Mike,
I will pay attention

mikemcgarry wrote:
Nevertheless, the word "suggesting" in (A) is 100% perfectly fine, as it is in (C).
Now, let's talk about (D). (D) is 100% grammatically correct.


glad to get your explanation.

I am reviewing the OG16SC again,

I figured out that it will save time if I can break the effective approach or catch the test points
different approach costs different time.

I focus more on OE this time, because OE mentions the test points of each SC,
unfortunately, I realized that OE confused me, and I would suspect whether I missed something or misunderstand something.
such as "suggesting" in this case, I review it correct while OE says it is ambiguous.

I feel better after getting your explanation
thanks again Mike.

I genuinely want your suggestion of my focus on OE

mikemcgarry wrote:

I realize it can be hard for a non-native speaker to sense the rhetorical construction.
Mike :-)


Yes, not easy for me
what I get now is if no ambiguous, more concise , more better.
sometimes, ambiguous is not easy either.
I always fail the ambiguity such as
plants are efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi. (incorrect SC of OG16, #41)

it is common, but.. I always realize afterwards. I hope I could catch the ambiguity at first glance. :war :war

have a nice day
>_~

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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2016, 16:17
zoezhuyan wrote:
glad to get your explanation.

I am reviewing the OG16SC again,

I figured out that it will save time if I can break the effective approach or catch the test points
different approach costs different time.

I focus more on OE this time, because OE mentions the test points of each SC,
unfortunately, I realized that OE confused me, and I would suspect whether I missed something or misunderstand something.
such as "suggesting" in this case, I review it correct while OE says it is ambiguous.

I feel better after getting your explanation
thanks again Mike.

I genuinely want your suggestion of my focus on OE

mikemcgarry wrote:

I realize it can be hard for a non-native speaker to sense the rhetorical construction.
Mike :-)


Yes, not easy for me
what I get now is if no ambiguous, more concise , more better.
sometimes, ambiguous is not easy either.
I always fail the ambiguity such as
plants are efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi. (incorrect SC of OG16, #41)

it is common, but.. I always realize afterwards. I hope I could catch the ambiguity at first glance. :war :war

have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,
I'm happy to respond, my friend. :-)

Keep in mind that, in the GMAT, there's a BIG difference between the quality of the questions and the quality of the explanations. The questions are among the finest standardized test questions on the planet. These questions are released questions from the real GMAT: each one had to have a mountain of data behind it to get onto the test, and then it acquired another mountain of data while it was on the GMAT. These are some of the best measured, best documented questions ever created. By contrast, the explanations were written only when the OG was prepared, probably by some starving grad student. Maybe it was proofread once or twice, but essentially no statistical quality-control procedure was implemented on the explanations. Some are excellent, some are OK, and some are lacking. They are not consistent at all. I write questions & explanations for a living: some of my very best questions, < 1%, possibly may approach the level of the questions in the OG, but almost every explanation I write is better than the one given in the OG. You see, it's tricky, because it's all in the same book, in the same font: it makes a naive student believe that it's all of the same quality, but it's not.

The moral is: spend time studying the OG questions, but don't expect the OE in the book to be very illuminating. Sometimes it will help, but not always. Instead, come here to GMAT Club. The GC experts such as souvik101990 or sayantanc2k or I can give much better explanations than you find in the OG. Always search for an official question before posting it again, but you definitely will find much better explanations here than you will find in the OG. Later this year, Magoosh will be issuing a "companion to the OG" app that will have solutions to all the OG SC questions.

As for spotting ambiguity, one trick is to recognize the typical patterns. The one you cite (OG16, SC #41) has a very typical pattern, one a call a "subjective comparison" vs. an "objective comparison." Consider the ambiguous sentence:
Mike likes opera more than Chris.
That's ambiguous, because it could be either a "subjective comparison" (i.e. a comparison to the subject of the sentence) or an "objective comparison" (a comparison to the direct object of the sentence).
unambiguous subjective comparison: Mike likes opera more than Chris does.
unambiguous objective comparison: Mike likes opera more than he likes Chris.
In real life, I am quite fond of my friend Chris despite the fact that he doesn't like opera and I do, so the subjective comparison is the true statement.

That's an example of a formulaic ambiguity. Not all ambiguities on the GMAT follow a pattern like this, but some do, and the more patterns you can spot, the quicker you will be.

Does all this make sense?

Have a wonderful day, my friend. :-)
Mike :-)
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Re: Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2017, 08:45
mikemcgarry wrote:
bagdbmba wrote:
Digging in sediments in northern China, evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had previously thought.

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had
(B) evidence gathered by scientists suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than had been
(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than
(D) scientists have gathered evidence that suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that which was
(E) scientists have gathered evidence which suggests a much earlier emergence of complex life-forms than that

I'm not able to understand why C is preferred over E?
IMO, in option E -emergence of complex life-forms actually (per the evidence) is compared to that previously thought. It seems more clear to me where as option C sounds better but misses 'that' I guess.

Please explain.

krakgmat wrote:
Mike, Can you please clarify the question below. Especially, why choice D is not correct? Thank you for your help. Thanks

Dear bagdbmba & krakgmat,
I'm happy to respond. :-) You are asking about (E) & (D) respectively, so I will ignore (A) & (B), which are clearly wrong.

First of all, look at the split "evidence that" vs. "evidence which" ---- which of these two is correct? See these two posts:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/that-vs-which-on-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... modifiers/
The fact that there is no comma following the word "evidence" means that the modifier following it is a vital noun modifier, a.k.a. a restrictive modifier. The GMAT always uses "that" for restrictive/vital modifiers, and always uses "which" for non-restrictive/non-vital modifiers. Thus, the "which" is wrong here: that's one problem with (E).

Here's the larger issue. Think about it this way. Let's state the sentence without dropping any of the repeated words in parallel. Let's pretend we can't omit anything and have to state everything explicitly. Then, we would have:

Digging in sediments in northern China, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than when complex life-forms were previously thought to emerge.

Clearly, that's very awkward and much too long. We are allowed to drop everything among those orange words that are a repeat or are obvious form context. The only piece that is truly different from the part before the word "than" is "previously thought", so that's all we need.

(C) ..... than previously thought. Clear, concise, unambiguous, and grammatically correct.
(D) ..... than that which was previously thought --- very wordy, and it's unclear to what the word "that" refers
(E) ..... than that previously thought -- it's unclear to what the word "that" refers.
Think about "that previously thought" --- to what does the "that" refer? What exactly is "previously thought"? What did the scientist think at an earlier time? This really refers to the verb, to the action of the verb "emerged" --- previously, scientists thought that these critters emerged later, and now the evidence suggest that they emerged earlier. The entire comparison revolves around the verb --- when did they emerge. We cannot use the pronoun "that" to refer to the action of a verb. If we want to use "that" correctly, we would have to change around the whole sentence -----

..... gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms had an emergence that was much earlier than that previously thought.

Now, that version is an abominable trainwreck. Even in this version, that word "that" is entirely optional --- the phrase "than previously thought" is still 100% correct by itself, but at least in this sentence, the "that" isn't absolutely wrong when it's included, because there's a clear noun antecedent. In choices (D) & (E), the word "that" is 100% wrong, because it is trying to refer to the action of a verb, which is not allowed.

This is why (C) is not only the best answer but the only possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)



Hi Mike,

(C) scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than

In this option than previously thought needs a subject...who previously thought ?
like in A) atleast this part is covered and it says that the scientists had previously thought

(A) evidence has been gathered by scientists suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had

I understand A) is wrong due to other reasons,but I feel C) is correct if it was
scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that complex life-forms emerged much earlier than they had

Please correct me me if I am wrong .

Saksham.

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