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# Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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26 May 2014, 15:26
Hi Mike,

I have a small here. While discarding option B you used the following reasoning ,

You simplified the question to a parallel structure of the form, indicates that P, modifier of P, and R.

I want to ask, can't we consider the second entity in the parallel structure as a gerund phrase instead of thinking of it as a modifier that modifies the first entity P.

Can we ever have a construction where we have 3 parallel structure X, Y, and Z where

X = participial phrase in a verb-ed form.
Y = participial phrase in a verb-ing form.
Z= participial phrase in a verb-ed form again similar to X.

Will in this case Y be still considered as a modifier of the X instead of as a participial phrase parallel to the other two entities?

I discarded option B based on the subject-verb disagreement problem and not on the modifier problem. I considered the second entity as a gerund phase and since gerund phrases act as nouns , I thought it keeps the parallelism intact by being parallel with the other two entities which are Noun phrases.

Please clarify my reasoning here.

Many Thanks.

I'm happy to respond.

This gets into a very subtle issue: simple gerunds vs. complex gerunds. A simple gerund is simply the -ing form of the verb, used as a noun (e.g. "using"). A complex gerund has an article and perhaps an adjective (e.g. "the using of", or "the advance using of"). A simple gerund can never be in parallel with ordinary nouns, but a complex gerund can be in parallel with ordinary nouns. That's why "using" can't be interpreted as a gerund, and "the using of" would be so incredibly awkward that it wouldn't be right either.

As to your second question, yes, theoretically, one could have three participles in a row modifying a noun, past-present-past, and all three modifying the noun, by that would be a rare literary form, not at all likely to show up on the GMAT.
The soldier, wounded twice, still feeling pain, shattered in his confidence, was not able to return to the front lines.
What you are suggesting, past-present-past, with the middle modifier modifying the first participle ---- well, I guess that would be possible, but I am not going to try a concoct a sentence for that example, and I would bet the Star of India that it would NEVER appear on the GMAT.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2015, 19:14
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2016, 03:38
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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25 May 2017, 11:56
at the first glance, I thought it is gonna be a kind of subjuntive, then "indicate" will be deployed, not "indicates"
it turns out to be a normal subject-verb agreement.
Surely, "their" is incorrect pronoun.
missing "that" is unacceptable in gmat

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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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25 May 2017, 20:02
tcsing wrote:
Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern Pakistan say the discovery of inscribed shards dating to circa 2800 - 2600 B.C. indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of inscribed seals impressed into clay for marking ownership, and the standardization of weights for trade or taxation occurred many decades, if not centuries, earlier than was previously believed.

a) indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of
b) indicate the the development of a Harappan writing system, using
c) indicates that their development of a Harappan writing system, using
d) indicates the development of a Harappan writing system, their use of
e) indicates that the development of a Harappan writing system, the use of

Subject verb error
the discovery is the subject and is singular so we need singular verb so A and B are out
pronoun error
"their" don't have any antecedents because excavators cannot be the antecedent of their
So A, C and D are out
Hence E is possible
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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27 May 2017, 05:50
tcsing wrote:
Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern Pakistan say the discovery of inscribed shards dating to circa 2800 - 2600 B.C. indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of inscribed seals impressed into clay for marking ownership, and the standardization of weights for trade or taxation occurred many decades, if not centuries, earlier than was previously believed.

a) indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of
b) indicate the the development of a Harappan writing system, using
c) indicates that their development of a Harappan writing system, using
d) indicates the development of a Harappan writing system, their use of
e) indicates that the development of a Harappan writing system, the use of

=========
A and B option are incorrect as they uses "indicate" instead of indicates which should be used for discovery.
C and D uses incorrect parallelism "using" and "their use of"
E-) corrects all mistakes and the use of is parallel to the standardization of.

Kudos is it helps anyone.

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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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27 May 2017, 06:02
pavanpaone wrote:
tcsing wrote:
Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern Pakistan say the discovery of inscribed shards dating to circa 2800 - 2600 B.C. indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of inscribed seals impressed into clay for marking ownership, and the standardization of weights for trade or taxation occured many decades, if not centuries, earlier than was previously beliieved.

a) indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of
b) indicate the the development of a Harappan writing system, using
c) indicates that their delevelopment of a Harappan writing system, using
d) indicates the development of a Harappan writing system, their use of
e) indicates that the development of a Harappan writing system, the use of

This question isn't about the answer (which I have shared in the OA) but is about the sentence structure: "excavators... say the discovery"

I thought that a reporting verb (say) must always be followed by "that"? When can that be omitted and when is it mandatory? Thanks!

it's a 2:3 split,"indicate should modify "Indus valley" which is singular, so we should use singular verb "indicates.So, A,B are out and in C and D the development is "Indus valley " development so we should usage of "their" is wrong.Finally answer is E.

=================

Here discovery is the subject buddy.. cheers..

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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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27 May 2017, 19:22
Merged topics. Please, search before posting questions!
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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27 May 2017, 19:22
Merged topics. Please, search before posting questions!
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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28 May 2017, 11:38
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If this were a rapid-fire round, remove choices A, C, and D for using the pronoun 'their' without a logical referent and B for erring on S-V number agreement. E remains.
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2017, 09:10
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Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern Pakistan say the discovery of inscribed shards dating to circa 2800 - 2600 B.C. indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of inscribed seals impressed into clay for marking ownership, and the standardization of weights for trade or taxation occurred many decades, if not centuries, earlier than was previously believed.

a) indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of

- as discovery is singular, it should be "indicates" and not indicate.
- "their" does not have a clear antecedent.

b) indicate the the development of a Harappan writing system, using

- as discovery is singular, it should be "indicates" and not indicate
- "using" is not parallel to "development" and "standardization"

c) indicates that their development of a Harappan writing system, using

- "their" does not have a clear antecedent
- "using" is not parallel to "development" and "standardization"

d) indicates the development of a Harappan writing system, their use of

- "their" does not have a clear antecedent

e) indicates that the development of a Harappan writing system, the use of

- CORRECT - indicates is correctly referring to discovery, the use of is parallel to development and standardization.

Hence, Answer is E

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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2017, 09:23
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very correctly said; you do deserve a kudos
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2017, 12:09
'A' and 'B' were eliminated, as indicate does not agree with the discovery. 'C' and 'D' - eliminated use of 'their' is not correct in the sentence, no reference. Thus, "E" is the correct choice- In the sentence, 'indicates' agrees with 'discovery' and is followed by that to introduce a clause. Also, the three parallel phrases begin with an article (the), a noun, and the preposition of are correctly used.
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2017, 14:50
Hello there,

Just wanted to say that AnubhavK has done a very precise analysis of this official sentence. Great job there. Keep up the good work.

I just want to say something about the parallel entities in the correct answer choice.

Yes, incidentally, all the three parallel elements start with article the followed by noun phrase and preposition phrase.

However, it is not necessary that the parallel elements need to be this identically parallel in structure. As long as the core elements play the same role in the sentence, they make a grammatical parallel list.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2017, 04:57
mikemcgarry wrote:
goodyear2013 wrote:
Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern Pakistan say the discovery of inscribed shards dating to circa 2800 - 2600 B.C. indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of inscribed seals impressed into clay for marking ownership, and the standardization of weights for trade or taxation occurred many decades, if not centuries, earlier than was previously believed.

a) indicate their development of a Harappan writing system, the use of
b) indicate that the development of a Harappan writing system, using
c) indicates that their development of a Harappan writing system, using
d) indicates the development of a Harappan writing system, their use of
e) indicates that the development of a Harappan writing system, the use of

Dear goodyear2013,
I'm happy to help with this.

Split #1: the pronoun problem. What is the antecedent of "their" --- who are "they"??? Certainly not the excavators, the only plural group of people mentioned in the sentence. Presumably, the "they" are the ancient Harappan people, but those folks are not mentioned explicitly. We mention their civilization, but not the people themselves, and on the GMAT, every pronoun must have an antecedent mentioned explicitly in the sentence. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/
Here, the choices with "their", choices (A) & (D), are incorrect.

Split #2: the use of "that". In casual colloquial language, we can drop the word "that" after a cognitive verb such as "indicate" ---- "He indicates he's not going to movies with us." That would be understandable in colloquial language, but it doesn't measure up to the formal standards of the GMAT. We need the word "that" after the word "indicate." Choices (A) & (D) omit the word "that", and are incorrect.

That leaves us with (B) & (E). Both of these are grammatically correct, and the split is entirely predicated on logic. Choice (B) takes the form
... indicates that P, modifier of P, and R occurred many decades ....
Choice (E) takes the form
... indicates that P, Q, and R occurred many decades ....
In both of these,
P = the development of a Harappan writing system
R = the standardization of weights for trade or taxation
So the question is, that middle element, about using "inscribed seals impressed into clay for marking ownership" is a description of or modifier of P, or is it its own separate thing? Well, notice that P, the development of a Harappan writing system, is a cultural intellectual thing --- what alphabet, what grammar & syntax, etc. etc. The middle element is more tangible and more economic. If the middle element were purely writing, about making marks in clay that were clearly a form of writing, then we could imagine that the (B) structure would be correct. But, the middle element is about making impressions to mark ownership. This is not necessarily anything linguistic. These impressions might be analogous to the symbols used, say, in branding cattle. The value of marking ownership is a different kind of value, an economic value, different from the cultural/intellectual value of expressing language through writing. Therefore, we have to consider this a separate, independent element. Thus, the structure in (E) is correct, and the structure in (B) is not correct.

Remember, GMAT SC is not just about grammar. GMAT SC is also about logic, and logic always trumps grammar. For more on logic on the GMAT, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/logical-pr ... orrection/

Does all this make sense?
Mike

I agree with your deduction to B & E . Lets Visit B , if we read this option beyond underline part then complete sentence may have parallelism error. E- seems to be perfectly f9 .

Share your opinion on aforesaid query ?

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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern   [#permalink] 16 Sep 2017, 04:57

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