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Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated

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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2017, 12:00
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kablayi

According to OG explanation to a similar problem (OG2017, problem 723), comma ing modifier must have distinct object to refer.

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.

I don't understand why in this example "outnumbering" does not have a distinct object to refer to but "..., making the sloth" is considered to have a clear referent, which is "fossils"

The Dickinson letters case has a deep meaning issue. The crux of the matter is that the letters outnumbered the letters she wrote to anyone else. The out number factor has to be expressed in a finite rather than expressed as an additional info. That is the reason A is rejected but E is preferred.
However, the sloth case is very different. Herein 'making' does modify the fossils and their standing testimony to the ancientness (it is better to call it a subject and its action rather than an object)
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 01:02
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souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 146: Sentence Correction


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Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.



Option A :
Verb tense : "made" is incorrect as the fact still stands true.
Construction : "comma + and" requires an Independent clause. However, "dated" has no subject

Doubt: Which of the following construction is correct:
Subject Verb1 ,and Verb2
Subject Verb1 and Verb2


Option B:
Pronoun : "they" has no clear antecedent
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "has been dated" (singular)

Option C:
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "was dated" (singular)
Pronoun : "this" has no clear antecedent

Option D:
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "have been dated" (plu)
Construction : Verb+ing form states the result of the finding and has the same subject as that of modified clause
Pronoun : Replaces "this" with "the sloth"

Option E:
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "was dated" (singular)
Verb tense : "made" is incorrect as the fact still stands true.

Answer : D
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 13:42
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Hello fmik7894

You have presented a good analysis of this rather confusing official sentence. Great job there. :thumbup:

I will be glad to help you out with your query. :-)


Quote:
Doubt: Which of the following construction is correct:
Subject Verb1 ,and Verb2
Subject Verb1 and Verb2



Out of the two structures, the second structure is ideal because the connector is not followed by a comma when it joins only two entities in a parallel list.

Having said that, I would like to add that the first structure is not incorrect. There can be a comma before the connector even if it joins only two elements in the parallel list.

We see such structure when the parallel elements are pretty long. So the comma before the connector presents a necessary pause to help understand the meaning of the sentence better.


Quote:
Option A :
Construction : "comma + and" requires an Independent clause. However, "dated" has no subject



Please note that dated is NOT a verb in this official sentence. It is a verb-ed modifier like found. Since found and dated has been used as noun modifiers in this sentence, they form a parallel list and hence, we see dated preceded by and.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 14:06
aceGMAT21 wrote:
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

Analysing the original sentence,

1. FOUND can be a VERB or a VERB-ED modifier. As sloth is present next to found, it seems "found" is the verb for sloth. But, sloth cannot do this action of finding. Thus, found is not the verb for sloth. Similarly, found is not even the verb for arms as well as fossils.

2. Found as a VERB-ed MODIFIER can modify any of these 3 : fossils; arm; sloth. But the portion after "and", dated clears this confusion. As dated cannot modify sloth or arm.

3. The COMMA before AND is not making sense. Since its only a list of two items. For a list of more than two items, we place a COMMA before AND.

4. The pronoun "it" is ambiguous. As it can refer to the arm as well as the sloth.

A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of
INCORRECT for the reasons mentioned above.

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on
"They" refers to whom?? ALso, Has been dated indicates the PRONOUN NUMBER AGREEMENT ERROR as the SUBJECT fossils is plural. The pronoun "it" can refer to the sloth as well as the arm. Therefore, INCORRECT.

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of
The usage of relative pronoun "that" next to sloth changes the intended meaning. It implies that the sloth was found in Puerto Rico in 1991. "that" cannot refer to the fossils because the verb after "that" is singular (was found AND even was dated) and not plural. "Was Dated" indicates the PRONOUN NUMBER AGREEMENT ERROR as the SUBJECT fossils is plural. Usage of the Demonstrative Pronoun "THIS" is also wrong here.

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on
CORRECT. For the following reasons,
1. PRONOUN NUMBER AGREEMENT ERROR : is resolved as have been dated correctly refers to the fossils.
2. Making (the VERB-ing modifier) refers correctly to the subject ("fossils") of the preceding clause.
3. PRONOUN AMBIGUITY ERROR : Here, the pronoun "it" is correctly replaced by the sloth.


E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of
Here, the relative pronoun "which" refers to sloth, making the sentence sound illogical. As it appears "the sloth was dated at...". Usage of WHICH without a preceding comma or a preposition is also incorrect. The overall structure of this option is awkward and hence, INCORRECT. The VERB-ed modifier ("made") is also dangling as its not clear actually what it is modifying as VERB-ed modifiers can modify the preceding noun only.





Hello aceGMAT21,


Great job in presenting such a detailed analysis of this question. :thumbup:

I would just like to add my two cents on a few points of your analysis.


Quote:
1. FOUND can be a VERB or a VERB-ED modifier. As sloth is present next to found, it seems "found" is the verb for sloth. But, sloth cannot do this action of finding. Thus, found is not the verb for sloth. Similarly, found is not even the verb for arms as well as fossils.



I am afraid your analysis is not correct here. The word found cannot be and is not a verb in this official sentence because the context of the sentence makes it absolutely clear.

If we pay attention to structure and the context of the sentence, we will know instantly that found has been used a verb-ed modifier because there is no object for this verb in the entire sentence.


Quote:
2. Found as a VERB-ed MODIFIER can modify any of these 3 : fossils; arm; sloth. But the portion after "and", dated clears this confusion. As dated cannot modify sloth or arm.



A modifier must logically modify an entity. Now the modifiers found and dated form a parallel list in the sentence, indicating that they have been used to modify the same entity. So from the context of the sentence, we understand that whatever has been found has been dated at 34 million years old.

On the basis of this analysis, neither sloth nor arm can be the entity the modifier found is meant to modify because neither a sloth not its arm would exist for that long. It is only the fossils that can exist that long (or even longer).

So logically, found and dated modify fossils only.



Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2018, 05:23
GMATNinja egmat VeritasPrepKarishma

Quote:

(A) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

(D)sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on



Is this one of few rare occasions in which coma+verb-ing modifier (coma + making) makes
more sense with subject of the earlier clause - a sloth - than the verb - made in (A)

In (D), the coma+making modifies complete earlier clause and the subject of earlier clause is: Fossils of the arm of a sloth

Can you elaborate why is there a pronoun ambiguity in :
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old,made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

Is there any significant distinction between usage of pronoun on / of after mammal?
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2018, 05:48
Hey,

I've a question regarding the last part of answer D:

"D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on"

So, "making" modifies "Fossils of the arm of a sloth". Isn't the placement a bit far away? I thought the modifier should be placed as close as possibile.

Cheers :)
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2018, 23:17
adkikani wrote:
GMATNinja egmat VeritasPrepKarishma

Quote:

(A) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

(D)sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on



Is this one of few rare occasions in which coma+verb-ing modifier (coma + making) makes
more sense with subject of the earlier clause - a sloth - than the verb - made in (A)

In (D), the coma+making modifies complete earlier clause and the subject of earlier clause is: Fossils of the arm of a sloth

Can you elaborate why is there a pronoun ambiguity in :
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old,made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

Is there any significant distinction between usage of pronoun on / of after mammal?


In option (A), "found in .." and "dated at ..." are two parallel modifiers.
The main clause is "Fossils of the arm of a sloth ... made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands"
This makes no sense.

What made it the earliest known mammal? Dating the fossil at 34 million years. This is clarified in (D)
Fossils of the arm of a sloth ... have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal ...
The participle "making the sloth ..." modifies the entire preceding clause.

"mammal of the islands" seems to imply that the mammal belongs to the islands, perhaps exclusively. I would much rather prefer the use of "on" which implies that we are talking about the mammals found on the islands.
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Apr 2018, 05:56
Hi experts

Quote:
A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of
E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of


I did not pick them up because i think it is illogical to say fossils can make some opinions, while the found of fossils can make some opinions

mikemcgarry, GMATNinjaTwo, GMATNinja, MagooshExpert Carolyn,
sayantanc2
VeritasPrepKarishma
Would you please confirm ?

Thanks in advance

Have a nice day
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2018, 10:49
zoezhuyan wrote:
Hi experts

Quote:
A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of
E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of


I did not pick them up because i think it is illogical to say fossils can make some opinions, while the found of fossils can make some opinions

Would you please confirm ?

Thanks in advance

Have a nice day
>_~

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "opinions" in this question. I assume you're referring to the idea that the discovery of the fossils "made the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands"...? That's not an opinion, exactly, but I agree that it's illogical to say that "fossils... made the sloth the earliest known mammal..."

Here's (D) again:

    "Fossils of the arm of a sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on the Greater Antilles Islands."

Notice that the phrase "making the sloth the earliest known mammal..." is now a modifier, not a verb phrase. That phrase is just modifying the previous clause: "Fossils of the arm of a sloth... have been dated at 34 million years old..." And that actually makes a lot of sense: the fossils are really freaking old, and that fact makes the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles. Because that last "-ing" phrase modifies the entire previous clause, the sentence isn't saying that the fossils themselves "made" the sloth the earliest known mammal -- it's saying that the act of dating the fossils made it the earliest known mammal.

I hope this helps!
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2018, 14:47
fallenx wrote:
Hey,

I've a question regarding the last part of answer D:

"D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on"

So, "making" modifies "Fossils of the arm of a sloth". Isn't the placement a bit far away? I thought the modifier should be placed as close as possibile.

Cheers :)



Hello fallenx,

I am not sure if you still have this doubt. Here is the answer nonetheless. :-)


In Choice D, comma + making... is an action modifier, and hence, it modifies the action - have been dated at - in the preceding clause.

Please note that comma + making... is not a noun modifier that needs to be placed closer to Fossils of the arm of the sloth.

As an action modifier, comma + making... suggests that because these fossils are so very old, this information makes the sloth the earliest known mammal in the said region.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm &nbs [#permalink] 31 May 2018, 14:47

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