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# From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a

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Senior Manager
Joined: 28 Aug 2010
Posts: 260

Kudos [?]: 791 [1], given: 11

From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2010, 17:13
1
KUDOS
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Difficulty:

35% (medium)

Question Stats:

63% (00:57) correct 37% (00:36) wrong based on 19 sessions

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. From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a canoe about twenty feet long and two feet wide, with small ribs and rails of cedar, which could carry four persons or eight hundred pounds of baggage so light that a person could easily portage it around impeding rapids.

(A) baggage so light
(B) baggage being so light
(C) baggage, yet being so light
(D) baggage, and so light
(E) baggage yet was so light

I thought "yet" was never a good choice. Please could someone explain the usage of 'yet"[rating1][/rating1]
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Ajit

Kudos [?]: 791 [1], given: 11

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Posts: 253

Kudos [?]: 601 [0], given: 32

Re: NEED Help on this SC question [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2010, 21:02
Hey ajit,

I'd be very, very cautious about advice like "never pick _____" for a particular word. The GMAT doesn't test "words your mother would never let you use" (like curse words or "ain't"), so every word on the GMAT should have at least one proper use. "Being" is one such word that has developed that red-flag stigma, but it has proper uses (as a noun - "human being"; as a present tense verb - "I scolded the class for being too loud"; etc.).

"Yet" is required here for proper sentence structure. We need to include a transition for:

"four persons or eight hundred pounds of baggage so light that..."

That's a run-on description - and logically "eight hundred pounds of baggage" doesn't really make sense with "so light". (Not only is it heavy; we're given an exact weight so you wouldn't then re-describe it as "so light..." - we know exactly how light/heavy it is).

So we need a transition, and because it's somewhat surprising that "800 pounds of baggage" and "so light" are together we can go to the meaning of the sentence:

The canoe was quite sturdy (it could carry...) but it was also light enough that it was easy to transport.

See that "but" transition in there? We do need a "surprising" change of events signifier here, so "yet" is required.

Therefore E is correct - in this case, that other red-flag word "being" is in an improper tense as we're already using the past-tense "crafted" and "could carry / could portage", so we nee the past-tense "was" and not the present-tense "being".

I hope that helps...
_________________

Brian

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Kudos [?]: 601 [0], given: 32

Senior Manager
Status: Can't give up
Joined: 20 Dec 2009
Posts: 305

Kudos [?]: 36 [0], given: 35

Re: NEED Help on this SC question [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2010, 10:00
can we say "was" is the main verb in this sentence or "crafted ?"

and hence need "was" to refer back to baggage in the answer choice "E" (is this correct understanding OR am I totally off )

Kudos [?]: 36 [0], given: 35

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Posts: 253

Kudos [?]: 601 [0], given: 32

Re: NEED Help on this SC question [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2010, 10:09
Hey amma,

Good question - if you really break this one down, the main clause in the sentence is:

The Menomini crafted a canoe (Memomini is the subject, crafted the verb, and canoe the object)

then the canoe, the object of the dominant clause, becomes the subject of the subordinate clause:

the canoe could carry...yet was so light...

So "could carry" and "was so light" are verbs that refer back to the canoe.

The good news, at least to me, is that once we've established that we are in the past tense and that we're talking about permanent qualities of the canoe (it WAS light...it wasn't temporarily BEING light), then we need that past-tense "was". So even if you're not fully diagramming that sentence (with apologies to East Middle School's English teacher Mrs. Bain, who did a great job, I absolutely hated diagramming sentences!) I think you can still determine that you need the word "was" and not "being" just through context.

_________________

Brian

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Kudos [?]: 601 [0], given: 32

Re: NEED Help on this SC question   [#permalink] 01 Dec 2010, 10:09
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# From the bark of the paper birch tree the Menomini crafted a

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