Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Page 5
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# Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were

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Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2004, 15:54
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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
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2011, 11:00
Thanks daagh.

I agree that Sentence correction is more than the grammar rules.

I totally understand how E is correct.

I am more concerned about why A is incorrect. Can you explain more clearly what is wrong with A's meaning. To me, A's meaning totally makes sense. So why not stick to the meaning in the original sentence? How do you know that the intended focus is the one in E? I had initially eliminated E for the which modifier issue discussed above. Am clear with that but stuck on the meaning part now.

I find nothing wrong with A's meaning. How do we know that the focus is meant to be on the letters and not the period?
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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23 Aug 2011, 04:33
IMO, when you focus on writing the letters or the period during which they were written that is no great matter. That they outnumber others’ letter is something that the passage tries to impress. This is an inference; but this perception may vary from person to person and there is bound to be a difference of opinion
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2011, 03:01
there is also a grammar issue in A. 'outnumbering' acts as a modifier of the clause that precedes it. it implies that the 'outnumbering of letters' is either a direct consuquence of the clause or simultaneously occurs with the clause. Neither makes sense. so the choice is incorrect grammatically.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2011, 10:18
Nice explanations papillon86...

Think kissthegmat way is also a better one, avoids the conflicts...

+1 to both of you...
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2011, 10:52
E.

Letter is the subject here. X outnumber Y.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2012, 17:08
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

Can Someone break down Each Answer Choice.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2012, 20:45
I thought the usage of which is wrong in E...Please clarify?
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2012, 09:49
wsage of which is wrong in E. I will go with A
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2012, 10:22
emily-dickinsons-letters-to-susan-huntington-dickinson-were-53522.html?fl=similar
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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22 Jan 2012, 11:20
I understand what the other posts are saying on the other thread. It can be summarized as follows: As long as the which clearly refers to the subject of the sentence, not the object of the preposition, the use of which is absolutely correct.

Does anyone have anymore questions like this???

What better way to learn then to practice on similar questions.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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25 Jan 2012, 05:15
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. Distorts the 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. This sentence does not has a main Verb. It is a fragment.
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.

What this sentence is saying is, Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington outnumber her letters to anyone else.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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25 Jan 2012, 06:12
A looks fair but i think E would be apt ..

the begginning of sentence would only make sense that way...
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2012, 10:22
This was definitely a tough question.

The answer I picked was E:

A. The verb-ing modifier "outnumbering" was the reason I did not pick this answer. This modifier should be modifying the entire clause. However, it doesn't seem to do that. Rather, outnumbering seems to be like an afterthought of the main clause.

B. The word "begins" is in the wrong tense - it should be "began" which is in the simple past tense. Also, there are parallelism issues here - "that begins" is not parallel to "ended."

C. The modifier starting with "written" modifies the noun phrase "Emily Dickinson's..." but there is no main verb to finish off the sentence. Therefore, this sentence is fragment and cannot be the correct answer. Also, there is a parallelism issue here with "beginning" and "that ends."

D. This sentence seems to put equal emphasis on beginning, ending and outnumbering. Although it appears to be parallel, this is superficial parallelism. We are talking about when the letters were written - beginning before the marriage and ending shortly before Emily's death. So, outnumbering should not be part of the parallel elements because it doesn't logically make sense. Also, the main clause does not have main verb, so this is a sentence fragment.

E. This sentence maintains parallelism and there is good SV agreement. At first I thought "which" modifies Susan Huntington Dickinson, but upon careful analysis, I know that it doesn't make sense. My reason was because the "to Susan..." phrase can't be clearly placed anywhere else without causing confusion. For example, if we put that phrase after the giant modifier, the sentence becomes confusing.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2012, 15:57
There is nothing wrong with A .

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson : subject 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.

outnumbering verb applies to the subject of the main clause it precedes .
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2012, 01:01
dwivedys wrote:
gluon wrote:
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. Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan HuntingtonDickinson 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

E. Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan HuntingtonDickinson, 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

Quote:
BTW what is exactly wrong with A anyways? A and E are in the same voice whether it is passive or active the difference being A eliminates the erroneous placement of which.

Very interesting discussion going on here and that too on a topic that I confess is very dear to me!

Let's deal with this beast in two parts -

The problem with A is the participle OUTNUMBERING. As written in A, it clearly modifies period which is definitely not right. It must refer to letters.

In E on the other hand, it's quite clear what outnumber is referring to - letters.

However, of course, E seems to have a problem with the placement of which. We all know this fact cold that GMAT doesn't like the placement of which to be fiddled with in any way - and it must without fail appear immediately after the noun it's supposed to displace.

Thus - The Community hall in the townsquare which we all like is already booked for another marriage.

We know that which must refer to the community hall - but here it's appearing immediately after townsquare causing a GENUINE confusion in the reader's mind as to which of the two do WE ALL LIKE? Community Hall or Townsquare?

Compare this with another scenario -

All my requests to George which were to make him aware of his mistakes went unheeded by him.

Here IMO - the object of the preposition TO, George can't be modified by which; hence by logical extension, which modifies requests.

I don't want to contradict what we have all learnt about the usage of which and the restriction that it should be as close as possible to the noun it's intended to modify; all I am saying is, if a prepositional phrase intervenes between the which and the proable subject - so long as which can unambigously refer to the earlier subject and NOT the object of the preposition (as in the case of George above and UNLIKE the case of the townsquare earlier) we are OK.

In our example in this question - the scenario is simlar - it talks about Letters to Dickinson which --- again, the prepositional TO DICKINSON does not affect the relationship between which and Letters. Also, Dickinson can't be qualified by which anyway. You need WHO in the relative clause for an animate object like dickinson.

NO, I probably, beg to differ here, or seek to infer better ............................

WHICH in the above examples are just fine... absolutely, but ",WHICH" as appearing in choice E is not a GMAT answer.....??

Regards
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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23 Mar 2012, 13:29
Should be E, all other options seem to have tense errors
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2012, 16:40
Let's break the sentence into several parts

Emily Dickinson’s letters were written [over a period beginning <…> and ending <…>], outnumber .

Thus we can eliminate A,C,D because the phrase "letters were outnumbering" implies a continuing process.

B: a period that begins … and ended - an error

This leaves us with E with the "which" issue but posters above justified its use.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2012, 20:02
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May I butt in once again on this vexed question of the touch rule of the relative pronoun ‘which?’

First thing is that the intent of this text is to highlight primarily Dickinson’s letters to Susan outnumber her letters to anyone else. That they were written during a certain period is just a modifier, not very essential to the core. That is the reason that, writing and ending, which are addendums, need not parallel the primary action outnumber. In the context of understanding this subtlety of meaning, this passage is even more relevant to current thinking of GMAT.

Now to the relative pronoun ‘which”. What can ‘which’ refer to in choices D and E.? As per bare theory, it should refer to Dickinson who is a human and hence the use of ‘which’ is outrightly wrong. Secondly, the plural verb points out to some plural subject, and letters is the only plural that can antecede ‘which’. The prepositional phrase namely to Susan Huntington Dickinson is an essential modifier of the letters and therefore we are required to carry it along with the subject.
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2012, 22:24
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
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Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2012, 22:44
"which" in this case cannot modify the noun since the noun is a person. Instead, only "who" can properly modify the noun/person.
Re: Emily Dickinsons letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were   [#permalink] 14 Nov 2012, 22:44

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