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Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written

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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jul 2016, 12:42
1
Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

(A) Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering
The sentence say that the purpose of writing the letters was to outnumber her letters to anyone else.
(B) Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

(C) Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886 and outnumbering

(D) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering

(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber - Correct
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2016, 19:09
As the answer is option E, the correct sentence turns out to be :

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

My question is :

In the phrase 'outnumber her letters to anyone else', what does the pronoun 'her' refer to ?

As per the meaning, 'her' seems to refer to Emily Dickinson. Can it refer to Emily Dickinson even though this name has not been specified as a proper noun ?

I thought every pronoun should have a clear antecedent and can not refer to a possessive form ?

Please help me with the above query.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2016, 00:30
AK700 wrote:
As the answer is option E, the correct sentence turns out to be :

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

My question is :

In the phrase 'outnumber her letters to anyone else', what does the pronoun 'her' refer to ?

As per the meaning, 'her' seems to refer to Emily Dickinson. Can it refer to Emily Dickinson even though this name has not been specified as a proper noun ?

I thought every pronoun should have a clear antecedent and can not refer to a possessive form ?

Hi AK700, while in this case, the possessive pronoun her is very aptly referring to possessive Noun (Emily Dickinson’s), GMAT is actually very flexible with this.

So, an object pronoun can refer to a subject noun, Object pronoun can refer to possessive noun, Subject pronoun can refer to possessive noun, and Possessive Pronoun can refer to non-possessive noun.

Basically, don't fret too much about this aspect of pronouns.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Apr 2017, 20:52
Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

(A) Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering
--> not the intended meaning.

(B) Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

(C) Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886 and outnumbering

(D) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering

(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber
--> correct.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2017, 02:58
Hello
Too many replies. I have just one issue with the question and all the options. Because all the options have a common theme - Emily Dickinson's letters. 's.
Let's study the option E.
E. Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

In E, and so in every sentence, there seems to be a fatal flaw. First, the subject is Emily Dickinson's letters, and not Emily Dickinson. This leaves the her in the final clause outnumber her letters to anyone else with no antecedent. Second, even if you say that Emily Dickinson is the antecedent, it is actually Emily Dickinson's.

Now, to bolster my view, refer Manhattan's SC Guide.

Wrong statement: The board is investigating several executives' compensation packages in order to determine how much may have been improperly awarded to THEM.
Correct statement: The board is investigating the compensation packages of several executives in order to determine how much THEY may have been improperly awarded

Explanation: In this sentence, the pronoun them refers better to packages than to executives'.


So, can anyone explain how is any choice correct?
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2017, 05:25
talismaaniac wrote:
Hello
Too many replies. I have just one issue with the question and all the options. Because all the options have a common theme - Emily Dickinson's letters. 's.
Let's study the option E.
E. Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

In E, and so in every sentence, there seems to be a fatal flaw. First, the subject is Emily Dickinson's letters, and not Emily Dickinson. This leaves the her in the final clause outnumber her letters to anyone else with no antecedent. Second, even if you say that Emily Dickinson is the antecedent, it is actually Emily Dickinson's.

Now, to bolster my view, refer Manhattan's SC Guide.

Wrong statement: The board is investigating several executives' compensation packages in order to determine how much may have been improperly awarded to THEM.
Correct statement: The board is investigating the compensation packages of several executives in order to determine how much THEY may have been improperly awarded

Explanation: In this sentence, the pronoun them refers better to packages than to executives'.


So, can anyone explain how is any choice correct?




Hello talismaaniac,


I will be glad to help you out with this one. :-)


The way we have possessive nouns, similarly we have possessive pronouns too.

Possessive pronouns refer to possessive nouns as well as non-possessive nouns.

For example:

Ria's mother gifted Ria a beautiful dress on her birthday.

In the above-mentioned sentence, the possessive pronoun her refers to the possessive noun Ria's.


Just replace the pronoun her with its antecedent Ria's, and the sentence will continue to convey the same logical meaning.

Ria's mother gifted Ria a beautiful dress on Ria's birthday.


The official sentence at hand has the same usage of her in the original sentence as well as all the answer choices.


Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

The possessive pronoun her correctly refers to the possessive noun Emily Dickinson’s in the above-mentioned correct version of this official sentence.

Again, just replace her with Emily Dickinson’s, and the sentence will still stand correct and logical.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2017, 22:12
Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

(A) Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering

(B) Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

(C) Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886 and outnumbering

(D) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering

(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

-----

Core: Letters were written, outnumbering

A: Hold
B: that begins and ended -> not parallel. Eliminate
C: beginning and that ends -> not parallel. Eliminate
D: were written, ending, and outnumbering -> not parallel. Eliminate
E: Hold

A vs E
(A) Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering
- what's the core? Letters were written, outnumbering
- comma ING can't refer to a noun

(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber
- what's the core? Letters outnumber

My selection: Choice E
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2018, 10:23
egmat wrote:
karanthakurani wrote:
Hi Egmat,

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

(A) Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering
(B) Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ended shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber
(C) Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and that ends shortly before Emily’s death in 1886 and outnumbering
(D) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother, ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, and outnumbering
(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

here in choice A 'outnumbering her letters to anyone else' is acting as verbing modifier and modifying the previous clause 'Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written....' still the choice A is wrong.
Also outnumbering makes sense with letters.
OG says it is unclear what outnumbering refers to. Please highlight on this.

Thanks,
Karan


Hi Karan,

Thank you for posting your query here.

Choice A is incorrect because of modifier error. Let us see the reason behind it.

Note that "outnumbering her letters to anyone else" should modify the letters but its placement is such that it appears to modify the preceding clause.

Notice that comma + verb-ing modify the preceding clause. And this modification does not make sense here. This is because it was not because the letters were written in the specified period that these letters outnumbered the other set of letters.

In fact these two actions - were written and outnumber are really two different characteristics of the letters.

Hope this helps :)

Regards,
Krishna


Hi Shraddha
I always see you applying this technique(as highlighted above) to find whether the cause and effect relationship is correctly intended by COMMA+verb-ing phrase.
Is this a valid way to check it ? If yes, I would love to put it in use.

Regards
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 19:40
Outnumbering her letter is wrong because it is modifying "Emily Dickinson's letters".
How can letters fit the pronoun her?

Only viable options are the two with "outnumber".

(B) fails at proper tenses. ex. begins ... ended. Should be began and ended so both indicate past.

(E) is the answer.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2018, 04:33
Could anyone please explain the following sentence taken from GMAT Guide -

In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence has an action performed on it by
someone or something else.

In that case all those options which have "were written" should be wrong because they do not have any performer ?

One more doubt -
"which" modifies a noun/subject just preceding it. In the given problem doesn't "which" modifies "Dickinson" ??

Please help..
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2018, 18:57
somey wrote:
Could anyone please explain the following sentence taken from GMAT Guide -

In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence has an action performed on it by
someone or something else.

In that case all those options which have "were written" should be wrong because they do not have any performer ?

One more doubt -
"which" modifies a noun/subject just preceding it. In the given problem doesn't "which" modifies "Dickinson" ??

Please help..
Thanks :)
1. The passive is not wrong. Some people think that its usage should be minimized, in favor of more "active" sentences.

2. A which may or may not refer to the noun just before it.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2018, 23:41
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(E) Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber

doesn't which refer to Dickinson here?

Is it an absolute rule that X, which : which always refers to the X?
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2018, 23:59
gmatbusters wrote:
Is it an absolute rule that X, which : which always refers to the X?
No. There are many situations in which a which is not (or cannot be) placed right next to the noun that it is supposed to refer to. More generally, don't immediately remove an option if you feel that a that or a which is referring to a noun that is not right next to it. Try to find more reliable approaches into the question before moving on to ambiguity.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written &nbs [#permalink] 01 Jun 2018, 23:59

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