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# Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern

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

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26 Feb 2014, 13:51
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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
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
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
If you have any questions
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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 Feb 2014, 14:26
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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
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2014, 19:39
Mike - Thanks for your detailed response. I believe, with choice B, we also have Subject Verb agreement issue as compared to choice E. Right ?
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Best Regards,
RS

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

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27 Feb 2014, 12:34
rahulsehgal wrote:
Mike - Thanks for your detailed response. I believe, with choice B, we also have Subject Verb agreement issue as compared to choice E. Right ?

Dear rahulsehgal
Actually, my friend, that's not correct. Both (B) & (E) are 100% grammatically correct. The only thing that distinguishes them is logic and meaning. Choice (B) has a plural subject, P and R, which is in full agreement with the verb "occurred" --- past tense verbs don't change for singular & plural anyway.
Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Excavators at the Indus Valley site of Harappa in eastern [#permalink]

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24 May 2014, 12:37
mikemcgarry wrote:
rahulsehgal wrote:
Mike - Thanks for your detailed response. I believe, with choice B, we also have Subject Verb agreement issue as compared to choice E. Right ?

Dear rahulsehgal
Actually, my friend, that's not correct. Both (B) & (E) are 100% grammatically correct. The only thing that distinguishes them is logic and meaning. Choice (B) has a plural subject, P and R, which is in full agreement with the verb "occurred" --- past tense verbs don't change for singular & plural anyway.
Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hello Mike,

Thanks a lot for the explanation. I was just wondering what is the subject of Choice B? I was wondering if "discovery" is the subject (which is Singular) and hence if it needs to have a plural verb. I was under the impression that for Simple Present sentences like this one the rule is that a Singular subject should be followed by a plural verb. Also for the following:

Sandy plays with her friends

is it correct here that Sandy is the (singular) subject and plays is the (plural) verb? I was kind of using this sentence as an example while solving the above.

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

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24 May 2014, 17:20
1
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Expert's post
gmattesttaker2 wrote:
mikemcgarry wrote:
rahulsehgal wrote:
Mike - Thanks for your detailed response. I believe, with choice B, we also have Subject Verb agreement issue as compared to choice E. Right ?

Dear rahulsehgal
Actually, my friend, that's not correct. Both (B) & (E) are 100% grammatically correct. The only thing that distinguishes them is logic and meaning. Choice (B) has a plural subject, P and R, which is in full agreement with the verb "occurred" --- past tense verbs don't change for singular & plural anyway.
Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hello Mike,

Thanks a lot for the explanation. I was just wondering what is the subject of Choice B? I was wondering if "discovery" is the subject (which is Singular) and hence if it needs to have a plural verb. I was under the impression that for Simple Present sentences like this one the rule is that a Singular subject should be followed by a plural verb. Also for the following:

Best Regards,
Sri

Dear Sri,
You know, in my above analyses, and even in my response to rahulsehgal, I totally overlooked the split at the very beginning of the underlined section. I was so focused on the SVA within the "that" clause that I missed the most obvious thing at the beginning! Yes, yes, yes, singular subject "discovery" absolutely must take the singular verb "indicates." That is clearly a BIG problem with (B), which is wrong for both grammatical and logical reasons.

Thank you very much for pointing this out, and many apologies to rahulsehgal.

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

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24 May 2014, 19:09
mikemcgarry wrote:
rahulsehgal wrote:
Mike - Thanks for your detailed response. I believe, with choice B, we also have Subject Verb agreement issue as compared to choice E. Right ?

Dear rahulsehgal
Actually, my friend, that's not correct. Both (B) & (E) are 100% grammatically correct. The only thing that distinguishes them is logic and meaning. Choice (B) has a plural subject, P and R, which is in full agreement with the verb "occurred" --- past tense verbs don't change for singular & plural anyway.
Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hello Mike,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply to my earlier post. I wanted to know if there is any rule that a Singular subject should always take a Singular Verb or if a Plural Subject should always take a Plural verb. This is something that confuses me. I was under the impression that when Simple Present tense is used, a Singular Subject will take a Plural Verb and vice-versa. Is this correct? Thanks a lot for your valuable time and help.

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

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25 May 2014, 15:31
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Expert's post
gmattesttaker2 wrote:
Hello Mike,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply to my earlier post. I wanted to know if there is any rule that a Singular subject should always take a Singular Verb or if a Plural Subject should always take a Plural verb. This is something that confuses me. I was under the impression that when Simple Present tense is used, a Singular Subject will take a Plural Verb and vice-versa. Is this correct? Thanks a lot for your valuable time and help.

Best Regards,
Sri

Dear Sri,
I'm happy to respond. What you are asking concerns the topic of Subject-Verb Agreement, one of the major areas on the GMAT SC. In the Simple Present, a singular subject (the box) always takes a singular verb (is/ weighs), and a plural subject (the boxes) always takes a plural verb (are/ weigh). Again, this is a crucially important rule on the GMAT SC. Here's an article:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/subject-ve ... orrection/

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

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26 May 2014, 01:58
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.

Many Thanks.
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, 16:26
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.

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 2016, 04:38
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