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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 17 Jan 2019, 06:44
aditliverpoolfc wrote:
the pronoun "her" in both the original sentence and the correct answer choice should refer to Emily. Emily Dickinson hasn't been mentioned anywhere, even in the correct answer choice. could you help me understand this?

Hi aditliverpoolfc, her is used as a possessive pronoun here and it correctly refers to the possessive noun Emily Dickinson's.

So, it's a perfect usage here. However, it should be noted that even if that were not the case (had a possessive noun not been present), the sentence would still have been fine. GMAT is quite flexible on this front.
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Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 19 Jan 2019, 03:06
egmat wrote:
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


Hi egmat, and other honorable experts ( RonPurewal, MartyMurray, GMATNinja, DmitryFarber, AjiteshArun )
The highlighted part makes me confused!

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

Q1:
How do someone convinced that 'her' is not the antecedent of 'mother'?
I think, this sentence is pronoun ambiguity!
Here is an example:
Ria's mother went to Ria for her assignment.
We CAN'T say with 100% surety that the assignment is for Ria or Ria's mother . So, the use of her is totally pronoun ambiguity to me! Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.
Quote:
Ria's mother gifted Ria a beautiful dress on Ria's birthday.

Q2:
Is the sentence replica of "Emily Dickinson???s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson" or "Emily Dickinson???s letters to Emily Dickinson"? :roll:

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Originally posted by AsadAbu on 19 Jan 2019, 02:36.
Last edited by AsadAbu on 19 Jan 2019, 03:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jan 2019, 02:47
Hi honorable bb and Bunuel,
The apostrophe (') is replaced with question mark (???) when we make "Request Expert Reply"
Could you see my previous post so that you can fix the problem, please?
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Re: Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jan 2019, 02:49
AsadAbu wrote:
Hi honorable bb and Bunuel,
The apostrophe (') is replaced with question mark (???) when we make "Request Expert Reply"
Could you see my previous post so that you can fix the problem, please?
Thanks__


Please locate “Report this post” button under the post you have an issue with. Thank you.

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

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New post 19 Jan 2019, 13:44
1
AsadAbu wrote:
Quote:
Ria's mother gifted Ria a beautiful dress on her birthday.

Q1:
How do someone convinced that 'her' is not the antecedent of 'mother'?
I think, this sentence is pronoun ambiguity!
Here is an example:
Ria's mother went to Ria for her assignment.
We CAN'T say with 100% surety that the assignment is for Ria or Ria's mother . So, the use of her is totally pronoun ambiguity to me! Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.

Your understanding makes sense. In the above two examples there is no clear indication as to whether "her" refers to "Ria" or "Ria's mother." In the first case, what seems more likely is that "her" refers to "Ria." In the second case, what seems more likely is that "her" refers to "Ria's mother." Still, there is no clear indication one way or the other in either case.

Is the sentence replica of "Emily Dickinson???s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson" or "Emily Dickinson???s letters to Emily Dickinson"? :roll:

Let' consider the version created via the use of (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.

I guess one could make the case that "her" could somehow refer to "Susan Huntington Dickinson." However, the truth is that the sentence is clearly about Emily's letters. The idea that this sentence would start off being about Emily's letters and, somehow, at the end, be about Susan's letters outnumbering Susan's letters to anyone else does not make sense. So, while, in a sense, any female person that appears in the sentence before "her" could be the antecedent of "her," meaning dictates that "Emily Dickinson" is the antecedent of "her."

So, the version created via the use of (E) is different from your two "Ria's mother" examples, in that, in the version created via the use of (E), there are clear signs that "her" refers to one person and not to the other.

The takeaway here is that determining what makes sense in a sentence is not simply a matter of blindly applying basic rules. You have to ask yourself whether the construction of a sentence makes sense in a real world sense, rather than in some picky, non real world sense, and whether the sentence effectively conveys its meaning. If the sentence is not grammatically incorrect and effectively conveys its meaning, then there's no issue really.


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Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written   [#permalink] 19 Jan 2019, 13:44

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