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# Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic

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Senior SC Moderator
Joined: 22 May 2016
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Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic  [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2019, 13:28
3
1
9
00:00

Difficulty:

35% (medium)

Question Stats:

59% (01:05) correct 41% (01:08) wrong based on 377 sessions

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Project SC Butler: Day 66 Sentence Correction (SC2)

Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic stories, which were brazen for the 1930's, a time period in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions.

A) in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions

B) where women were more cautious about voicing their opinions

C) in which women had been more cautious about voicing their opinions

D) when women would have been more cautious about voicing their opinions

The best or excellent answers get kudos, which will be awarded after the answer is revealed.

_________________
SC Butler has resumed! Get two SC questions to practice, whose links you can find by date, here.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has -- Margaret Mead
Senior SC Moderator
Joined: 22 May 2016
Posts: 3723
Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic  [#permalink]

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12 Jan 2019, 21:30
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Project SC Butler: Day 66 Sentence Correction (SC2)

Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic stories, which were brazen for the 1930's, a time period in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions.

A) in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions
B) where women were more cautious about voicing their opinions
C) in which women had been more cautious about voicing their opinions
D) when women would have been more cautious about voicing their opinions

OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

•The sentence is correct as written because the simple past form of the verb (were) is accurate.

• Choice B also uses the simple past tense (were) but incorrectly uses where to refer to a time period

• Choices C and E use the past perfect had been, but the correct tense is the simple past tense (were)

• Choice D also uses the incorrect verb tense (would have been).

• In this sentence, when and in which are interchangeable.

• Past perfect or Simple Past?

Sometimes ideas take hold. A snowball turns into an avalanche.
Such is the case with past perfect when simple past will do.

If a sentence has a sequence word such as before or after;
OR if a sentence has a date that establishes sequence (or dates that establish sequence),
then simple past is preferred.

This subject is so controversial that I am going to quote Mike McGarry
and should you disagree, take your argument there —good luck! :

The GMAT will often consider use of the past perfect tense incorrect if there are other clear indicators of time sequence in the sentence.

You can find that remark in this post.

Good writers know that "had" should be used sparingly.
The past perfect tense can create depth, but unnecessary use of past perfect reminds the reader
repeatedly that s/he is in the past of the past — that reminder created by past perfect
inserts another layer of time between the reader and the material.
Generally we want as few layers as possible between the reader and the material.

Another good piece of advice that does not apply in this instance is:
if you run into a situation in which past perfect is pitted against simple past, look for a different decision point.
We don't have one in this case.

Analyzing the sentence

Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic stories, which were brazen for the 1930's, a time period in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions.

Let's break this sentence down.
1) past time marker: Dorothy Parker's stories . . . WERE brazen for the 1930s
2) [something about the 1930s and women were cautious about voicing opinions]

-- Eliminate B. "Where" is used for actual places only.

-- Eliminate D. Use "would have been" for Type 3 conditionals
A quick overview of Type 3 conditionals is here.
Think "would/coulda/shoulda" for this tense. Lost opportunity.
could have, would have, and should have can be called modals of lost opportunity.
There is no lost opportunity in this question.

-- Type 3 conditionals - Would have been is used for an impossible condition in the past and its probable result in the past.
The verb phrase is used in a case that did not happen in the past.
-- Alternatively, we can think of Type 3 conditionals as an explanation that
present circumstances would be different if something different had happened in the past.
The structure is "IF past perfect, THEN conditional perfect."
IF I had watered the flowers last week, then they would have bloomed.

-- Now compare options C and E.

C) in which women had been more cautious about voicing their opinions

If two options have identical constructions except for words that are interchangeable,
then neither option is the answer.

Think strategically. We are talking about a time period, the 1930's; in that case both when and in which are fine.

Eliminate C and E.
Generally, there is no reason to use past perfect unless it is necessary.

GKomoku , you are correct; "when" is not the issue in this case.
Some prep companies have gone a bit overboard in warning against the use of "when."
When can be used for time periods; for zero conditionals; and in subordinate clauses (When she turned and smiled at him, his cheeks flushed.)

Shrinidhi gets the honorable mention and a smiley face.

@GKomoku gets kudos for best answer. Nice work!
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##### General Discussion
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Re: Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic  [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2019, 22:48
1
Sentence Is talking about A time period not about specific year so usage of in which is correct.
This eliminates options B,D,E and also the verb would have been or Had been is incorrect as it would be more suitable for if clause not describing the womens in that specific time period.
This eliminates option C too.

Correct option is Option A.

I hope my answer is correct .

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Re: Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic  [#permalink]

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12 Jan 2019, 01:38
1
1
Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic stories, which were brazen for the 1930's, a time period in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions.

Meaning is clear, let's see sentence structure for more deteils and error analysis:

Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic stories,
.......................which were brazen for the 1930's, (,+which = correctly modifies "stories, gives more information)
.....................................a time period in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions. ("a time period" - noun, "in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions" - noun modifier, hece we have n+nm = clearly modifies 1930"s - giving more information about this time period and women conditions, pronoun "thier" - unambiguously modifies "women")

POE

A) in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions
("in which" - unambiguously modifies "a time period", we fine with this option, so let's keep it)

B) where women were more cautious about voicing their opinions
("where" - cannot modify time period, it can modify only place)

C) in which women had been more cautious about voicing their opinions
(author states facts in the past, past simple should be used, moreover present perfect requires some time point in the past to refer to - hence is incorrect)

D) when women would have been more cautious about voicing their opinions
("when" is perfect to modify "a time period", but "have been" - incorrect, action was in the past, not in the present)

("when" is perfect to modify "a time period", but "had been" - as explained in (C))

At the first glance to the sentence and don't catch the structure, we can easily eliminate (A), (B) and (C), considering only "when" can modify a time period. But we have to be very careful and, eliminate four answer choices on solid grounds

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My SC approach flowchart

(no one is ideal, please correct if you see any mistakes or gaps in my explanation, it will be helpful for both of us, thank you)

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Re: Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic  [#permalink]

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26 Jan 2019, 12:13
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 66 Sentence Correction (SC2)

Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic stories, which were brazen for the 1930's, a time period in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions.

A) in which women were more cautious about voicing their opinions

B) where women were more cautious about voicing their opinions

C) in which women had been more cautious about voicing their opinions

D) when women would have been more cautious about voicing their opinions

The best or excellent answers get kudos, which will be awarded after the answer is revealed.

In which is used when one is refereeing to a situation

Where is used to refer back to a place

When is used to refer back to a year

Since we are talking about a situation which happened in the past, we will use " in which "

Automatically you can eliminate B, D and E

Out of the remaining A and C(Why are we using a past perfect tense here, this is not required)

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Quote which i can relate to.
Many of life's failures happen with people who do not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Re: Dorothy Parker's fiery personality was often mirrored in her caustic   [#permalink] 26 Jan 2019, 12:13
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